A few years ago I had a particular cow about to calve at any time.
She was on one of my leased places and liked to hide deep in the brush, which always made it a challenge just to check on her. This particular lease property had no catch pen, it was just acres of brush and tall grass.
I had checked on her a couple of times that day. Evening came and I sat down to supper, while watching a documentary on Big Foot. I should have changed the channel.
As I ate my beans, I thought how ridiculous the show seemed. I remember thinking, these people really think Big Foot is out there.
I recalled with a chuckle the time when, as an 18-year-old hospital ward clerk, I read a Big Foot magazine article to the nurses working the night shift. After reading the story, none of the nurses would go outside to get their lunches from their vehicles.
As darkness was falling, I checked on my horses as they munched on hay in their stalls. They always seemed to enjoy listening to me talk to them, and rub their noses. I’m sure I always got more out of this evening ritual than they did. They were more than just horses to me.
I set my alarm for midnight to go check on my heavy cow. After what seemed like about 10 minutes of sleep, my alarm sounded.
Stepping out on the porch in the cool night air, I told my hound dog Blue to stay. After a couple pats on the head, I told him once again to stay. He immediately sat down and watched me climb into my feed truck and leave the yard.
It was pitch black that night. I drove over the cattle guard and down a dirt road to a wire gate, which I opened and drove through. Another quarter mile and another wire gate later, I came to the end of the road. I grabbed my flashlight and headed out, weaving my way through the brush. All I could hear was the sound of the brush against my coveralls as I worked my way toward where I thought my cow would be. It must have been about 20 degrees. I could see my breath in the flashlight beam.
There she was, chewing her cud and still had not delivered her calf. I stood there looking at her and asking her when she was going to drop her calf. Like she was going to answer.
Feeling satisfied that nothing was going to happen that night, I turned back toward my feed truck. After a few steps my flashlight suddenly began to dim. Oh no, I thought. Another few steps and I was in total darkness, feeling my way through the brush, hoping to not walk into a barbed wire fence.
As I walked slowly through the total darkness, I heard a deep grunting sound in the distance. It seemed to be getting louder, and I suddenly realized it was coming toward me. My heart was pounding as I tried the flashlight one more time. It was dead.
The grunting sound got louder and louder, my mind was racing. It could be a bear? Maybe a wild hog? The thought crossed my mind because of the documentary I watched earlier that evening, Big Foot? Surely not, I thought.
Suddenly the grunting beast was closing in on me and I began to move backward, away from the oncoming sound. My heart was in my throat as the beast hit me in the chest and knocked me down. In total terror, I kicked and punched at my attacker.
The beast licked me in the face. It was my dog Blue. He must have tired of waiting on the porch.