Joyce Whitis

When we came to Erath County the population was probably a third of what it is today and likewise the animal population. There were a couple of veterinarians that I remember and one was old Dr. Scott. Old Dr. Scott taught several courses at John Tarleton Junior College and lived close to the school. I remember driving to his house when Tom sent me looking for the vet but the house and the good man who lived there are both long since gone. Still we remember things he did, like shopping for groceries in the A&P grocery store and the jokes he liked to tell. One time he arrived at our place looking like he’d had a bad morning. He jumped out of his pickup and told Tom, “I’ve just come from the Jones place. They live so far back in the woods that they have to keep their own tom cat!” Tom told that story a dozen times.

After awhile when old Dr. Scott came on a call, he had a sandy headed little boy in tow. Everybody called him “Scotty.” His name was Verne but friends dubbed him Scotty and after graduation from Texas A&M, he became young Dr. Scott. During the next 30 years or so my family saw a lot of Scotty. As our milking herd grew, so did our need for a vet who made house calls. For reasons known only to expectant mothers, babies usually arrive at inopportune times. Dairymen know for a fact that as soon as they sit down to watch the Super Bowl, cows go into labor and all of them are complicated deliveries. That is when you know that you have a dedicated veterinarian on call. If he is willing to lay down the remote, pull on rubber boots and come on out to the muddy pasture you’ve found your man.

Dr. Verne Scott was such a man.

During those visits cattle owner and vet often get up close and personal like the time Scotty pulled off his shirt and tossed it on the ground as he delivered a calf that came into the world butt first. When both mother and baby were doing well, he looked for his shirt which had disappeared. We couldn’t find it so finally he had to go home without it. Several weeks later, I found his shirt where one of the dogs had carried it off and hid it between in the hay bales.

During the Carter and Nixon administrations there was a lot of attention brought to bear on saving energy, buying energy efficient cars and saving on fuel costs. Dr. Scott came out one day in his new hatch-back mini car and he proudly showed us how he could get all his boxes and packages of medicine and equipment very conveniently located and how much he was saving on energy and expense by ditching his big pickup. Then we went in the calf barn where we had several sick calves in their pens. When we came out half an hour later, Scotty’s car was gone! We spotted it parked down the hill beside several pieces of farm equipment including a tractor and a hay baler. The driver’s door was swinging open and as we watched, my Great Dane Attila jumped out of the driver’s seat, shook himself and walked back up the hill.

As the owner of countless head of cattle, horses, dogs, cats and a monkey, life without the help of dedicated, caring, capable vets would be much harder. Thank the Lord for all those men and women who care for our animals regardless of the conditions. They make house calls when necessary and walk through freezing rain, blistering sun and crawl through fences to care for our animals.

We are thankful for Scotty and old Dr. Scott and all the other dedicated veterinarians who have helped us during the years we dairied and have had pets.

This past year, the Scotty that we knew just slowly faded away but today he lives on when we remember sitting by a sick calf and hearing the crunch of gravel in the driveway, then jumping up and shouting the happy words, “Scotty is here! Everything will be alright now.”