Late February in the high desert of Oregon can be very snowy and frigid, and that’s when/where the buckaroo and I met. Actually we met on line first. Yes we met on a dating site on the internet. After months of emailing and phone calls we decided to meet in person, so I packed a bag and drove 10 hours to the ranch. (Juntura, Oregon to be specific)
Turns out the buckaroo had night calving duties, so every two hours he was heading out check for new babies or a heifer that needed help. Around 2 am he heads out, but fifteen minutes later he’s struggling through the back door with a nearly frozen calf. He dumps it on the bath room floor and tells me to do what I can to warm the little bugger up, and goes back out to finish his rounds.
SO there I am standing in the bathroom doorway, staring down at a nearly frozen calf, it took my sleep fogged brain about a minute to process that I needed to do something. I grabbed a couple rag towels off the dryer and knelt down to start rubbing the little guy down. I moved him over near the heater on an old blanket and kept rubbing on him, he was struggling so hard to breathe. As I watched him gasping for air, my brain suddenly thought, his lungs are partially frozen! do mouth to mouth! Warm up his air way!
I sat on the floor with his head in my lap and covered his nose with my hands and gave him mouth to nose resuscitation, followed by three good thumps on his rib cage. I repeated the process three or four times, it was working! As i thumped him on the ribs I told that little calf, ” you’re NOT going to die on me you little sucker, BREATHE!” ( I was frustrated to the point of tears at this point, so I had tears streaming down my cheeks) I was so desperate to save that little calves life that I failed to notice when the buckaroo had returned, he had been standing in the doorway watching me. When I looked up and say him there all he said with a laugh was, ” what are you doing?” I explained my thinking, and pointed out quite indignantly, ” WELL it’s WORKING!” The buckaroo just shook his head at me and finished rubbing the calf dry. ” Go change you jammies and let’s go back to sleep,” was all he said to me!
As I snuggled back down under the covers in the guest room I was pretty grumpy, I thought I’d done pretty darn good with that calf, but the buckaroo didn’t seem to care. The next morning when we headed out to the barn to tag calves the buckaroo told his boss Joe all about how crazy I was giving a calf mouth to nose resuscitation. Joe laughed and shook his head but told me I had done a good job, because the calf had lived and was back with his momma. Eventually when we weaned those calves in the fall that calf was the biggest of the bunch! Joe and the buckaroo still tell the story of mouth to nose resuscitation to this day, when people ask what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done for a critter….