The Cowboy Way continued . . . or Why I No Longer Raise Beef

Dogs don’t generalize which is why it is necessary to train in a myriad of places if one expects the dog to be reliable in a new environment. I don’t know why I didn’t consider that with the calves, but I didn’t. Being led around the pen with a halter and rope was vastly different from being willing to be led out of that pen and through the trees to the pasture. We finally had to tie one calf to a tree and the two of us finally managed to get the first calf to pasture and went back for the second. A task I anticipated taking less than ten minutes took closer to an hour and in the ensuing commotion I totally forgot about vaccinating the calves.

So the next day back to the pasture with the halters I went, this time carrying syringes with the vaccines I needed to give. It goes without saying that these needed to be given sub-q instead of IM so rather than being able to simply jab the calves with the needle, I had to hold the calves with one hand and then administer a sub-q injection, through very thick skin with a very small needle, one handed. I’ve given a lot of shots but never under those circumstances and with luck will never need to do so again. Thankfully no one was around to see it as it wasn’t pretty. (I was thinking fondly of those huge spurs more than once.) I did finally get the job done and without damage to myself or the calves. Chalk one up for fools doing stunts, without being maimed or killed, that anyone with sense would know better than to attempt.

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