Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

Baxter Black

Baxter Black tackles ag issues with a strong funny bone. Black is an American cowboy, poet, philosopher and former veterinarian.


Sammi is one of those children for which parents have great expectations but a healthy dose of apprehension. In other words, her self-confidence was bound to get her into trouble now and then.

As a 13-year-old ranch kid, she could rope and ride, do the chores, cook, read, shoot and take care of herself like most kids reared up in a country raisin’.

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As a Phoenix who rises from the ashes to rebirth, so Jack, the bull terrier, was the symbol of hope that rose from the cook shack conflagration.

Jack was past his prime; though hard of hearing and losing his sight, he still continued to make the winter trip to Walker’s camp in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. In spite of the cold, he slept outside near the cooking fire in his own dog bed.

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I wrote a book titled Blazin’ Bloats and Cows on Fire! It referred to the flammability of rumen gasses and the spectacular, but rarely harmful, occasions when they are ignited.

I assumed that the predilection for ignition was confined to ruminants but, as is often the case, I was thinking too small. Dr. Charlie broadened my horizons.

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My friend Steve is in the avocado business, which I think makes him an avocadonist or an avocodinarian. He has many distributors (avocodlers) who count on him to keep them supplied. The freeze that hit southern California this winter wiped out the crop.

I called him after I heard him being interviewed on national radio. When he answered, he was in Chile! Turns out he was down there, and in Mexico (home of the guacamole), arranging to import Spanish-speaking avocados to fill the gap for the avocadophiles in the United States of Avocado.

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As Phoenix rose from the ashes, so Jack, the bull terrier, was the symbol of hope that rose from the cook shack conflagration.

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How does a good cowman make the decision when to call the veterinarian?

Most certainly do not call for professional help at the first sign of trouble. In their defense, I have observed that new, inexperienced DVMs in a dog and cat practice usually know more about the patient on the exam table than the owner. And the owner acknowledges it.

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