So imagine my surprise when I received a card from a woman veterinarian who had married a rancher.

It was in response to my column about lady vets marrying cowboys. A perfect match I had pointed out – while she’s out earning their bread, he feeds her horses, cleans the stalls, drinks beer and team ropes every afternoon with his buddies.

Brenda explained her case. Her rancher/husband/cowboy’s expectations were dashed … “the cobbler’s children have no shoe polish,” she malaproped.

She has a busy practice (aka: a job-in-town) which is a prerequisite to a successful cowboy marriage. She gets home after a day’s work and he’s been plotting all the veterinary services needed on his own stock.

“Honey,” he says, “One of our cows doesn’t seem right. She’s honkin’ like a goose, her eyes are buggin’ out and she just stands around the water trough.”


“She’ll be fine,” she says, “probably just an allergy. I’ve got another call in Belen in 30 minutes! I haven’t got time now.” “Sweetie, my good ropin’ horse is off his feed and he’s favoring his left leg when I take my dallies, could you … ”

“George, I have to take little George to the dentist and then to soccer – maybe tomorrow or the next … ”

Brenda says his stuff always comes last. Plus, his help is regularly enlisted on house calls where hubby winds up having to restrain, rope, capture, hold up, hold down, wrestle, twitch and/or ear down all manner of uncooperative beasts, from little girls’ obstinate backyard horses to llama wrangling.

Ah, the life of a veterinarian’s husband isn’t all just peaches and cream. He often has to fix his own dinner, which he really doesn’t mind. But he approaches the refrigerator with trepidation since that evening when he thawed out a piece of steak and fried it for himself.

She had told him not to wait for her because she’d be late. Next morning she was hunting through the freezer for a sample she had labeled, “possible tissue damage from Hypoderma lineatum, send to lab.”

“Honey,” she said, “did you see a …” then glimpsed in the trash can and saw her writing on a big baggie.

“What?” he asked.

“Oh, nothing,” she said, “I’m pretty sure it was a necrotizing cattle grub anyway.” end_mark