I was running away as fast as I could when the big white bull's head made contact with my right bun. I remember being surprised
by its softness as it moved up the back of my thigh. The softness didn't last long, though, quickly replaced with incredible
force — the kind that makes you suddenly feel small, like a little kid playing with Dad or a skier being pulled out of the
water by a motorboat.
A false sense of security had lured me into the predicament at hand. Most bulls will either run you out of the pen to begin
with or put up with you through the end. Not this one! He started off just fine and then turned into the devil. He had decided
it was time to rid the pen of the scoundrel veterinarian who kept touching his recently acquired "boo-boo." He had put up
with it for three or four minutes, but now the vet had to go.
His left horn hooked my overstuffed wallet. The connection must have caused his adrenal gland to contract, fueling him with
a burst of energy. The weight ratio of bull to man was 10 to one — his 2,000 pounds to my 200 — and was readily apparent as
I came flying up off the ground.
My next sensation was almost pleasant. Weightlessness is most surely more enjoyable when not interrupted by thoughts of "How
high am I going to go?" and "Where am I going to land?" My legs and arms flailed, fruitlessly grabbing at air as I tried to
position myself to absorb the landing in the least painful manor. Mid-air calculations told me that if the fence was five-feet
tall, I must have been 10 or 12 feet in the air flying over it. I was much higher than the cab of my pickup. In fact, I was
going over the cab of my pickup. Let's see, what was in the back of my pickup? I was trying to remember because my calculations
had me traveling right over the cab and landing in the bed.
Then I remembered — pig feed! I had just loaded eight 50-pound bags of pig feed into the bed of the truck and they were, for
once, actually lying perfectly flat. I was thanking myself for taking a little extra time to put them in the truck in an organized
manner as the bed of the truck came into view.
Oh, my! I had forgotten about the shovel! There it was, sharp side up and poised to strike like a hissing snake. It was the
last thing I had put in and was, of course, on top of the soft sacks of pig feed. My hands and head were coming in first.
All I would have to do was give the shovel a quick shove and then roll over on my shoulder and all would be well. I could
hear the spectators making those sounds that people make when something awful is about to happen — a gasp coupled with a sudden
Thank goodness the shovel had slid forward a bit when I had stopped the truck. This left me about two feet of space to reach
my hands out and push the shovel toward the cab. Of course, I missed. However, the motion to push the shovel caused me to
roll up into a neat ball, which was the form I took as I wedged between the tailgate and the last feed sack.
The crowd moved in to see if I was alive. I let out a few moans as I began to uncoil, assessing my body for damage. The shovel
had narrowly missed my head, and, as far as I could tell, everything still moved and was still attached. I lay there for a
minute, listening as the group re-enacted the event and gabbed about the luck of landing on that pig feed. I pondered why
anyone would go to school for eight years to get to do something like this.
We wound up taking the bull to the clinic, because I assured them that my time in the pen was over. It was just another day
in the life of a small-town veterinarian.
Dr. Brock owns the Brock Veterinary Clinic in Lamesa, Texas.
For a complete list of articles by Dr. Brock, visit