Last night at half past eleven, just after we had fallen into a deep, lovely, drooling sleep, we were abruptly awoken by the ring of the telephone. Still groggy, Doug listened as the RCMP Constable introduced himself and started to explain the situation.
The constable said there was a “cow with a SH brand on her side’ on the highway. The SH brand is not our brand, but a brand that is on some of our cattle that we purchased from ranchers in Lumby. The police had been given our name as a contact person. Doug’s mind did a quick inventory of where all our 320 cows were at the time and was perplexed as to how one of these cows could be by Bridesville! But then, just as fast, he concluded it could be our bull that he had rented out to one of our neighbours, so he quickly asked, “Is this animal a red white faced bull?” After a pause the constable questioned what red white face meant, and said, “Ill check to see if it is a bull……..and then laughed and said, “Yes, he’s a bull alright!” Now Doug was able to affirm in his head where this animal was from and why he had gotten out! There were many enticing heifers across the highway and up a couple kilometres, calling him over!
This story reminded us of a time when our neighbour was driving with our daughter, who was four years old at the time. The neighbour came around a corner and saw cattle on the hill and to make small talk asked our daughter, “Oh look, are those your cows?” Our daughter firmly said, “No…..” So our neighbour thought, “oh well, maybe she doesn’t know that those are their animals…..” Then our daughter promptly piped up, “Thems my heifers!!” If you still haven’t gotten the humour, let me explain, not all cattle are cows! There are bulls, which are the intact males, heifers are females that have not yet calved, cows are females who have had a calf and a steer is a casterated male. Same as this, when the constable said ‘cow’, Doug’s mind immediately went to ‘cows’ as in females with calf at side.
So we raced outside, hooked up our trailer and tore 12 kilometres up the highway. We came upon the bull, walking in the ditch with his police escort. It was quite funny because when he heard the squeaking of our trailer, he stopped, looked over and it was as if he said, “Oh good, I was hoping you’d come!” With the help of a flashlight, I guided the truck and trailer back into an approach, we flung the door open, sweet talked our 2200 pound bull and thankfully he jumped into the trailer. The RCMP constables seemed relieved to be finished babysitting the bull and have him loaded safely where they were no longer responsible!
A favourite quote of ours from Baxter Black is:
One of the greatest feelings in the world is to see a cow loose on the road and realize it’s not yours.…