File this one under lesson learned from an exceptional person. In this case, a lesson in integrity and being a good neighbor. You could probably toss mentoring in there because I learned to care for animals, and ultimately people, because of him.

As a cowboy, we had a lot of sick cows and horses. A lot of it, I learned to treat myself courtesy of our family veterinarian, Ben Kenoshi. I almost pursued a career in Veterinary Science because of that man.

As vets go, he was the best. We had a local vet, but one of the things that happens often (OK, maybe not that often, but it happens), is that a cow will get in trouble during labor. We called our local vet, but very few calves were delivered alive.

When we moved over to Ben, the reverse was true. We lost very few.

I remember Ben mentioning that he’d been drafted during the Vietnam War. Since he had a degree he was sent to OCS and became an officer. His job was to inspect food stuffs for the troops. He mentioned he was inspecting oysters once, and despite having some ancestors who had fished for them, he didn’t know beans about them. He thought that was the funniest thing about his job.

One of the things I admired about him was his integrity.

A neighbor had a bull that got sick, so he called Ben. Ben couldn’t make it till that afternoon when the neighbor would be in church. He told Ben the bull was in this small field. That wasn’t a big deal. Ben was an expert roper and this presented little challenge to him.

But when he drove out into the small field, the unexpected happened. The bull charged his pickup. Ben had these big bumper guards he used to tie the animal to while he worked on it, and the bull crashed into them at warp speed.

The impact was enough to toss the pickup back, but the guards held and protected the truck.

They didn’t do much good for the bull. The impact broke it’s neck and it died on the spot.

Ben drove to the church, drug our neighbor out of the service, and told him what had happened.

Our neighbor blew it off. “It’s not your fault,” he said, no doubt wondering what he was going to do for a bull now. A cattleman without a bull isn’t going to have a whole lot of calves about.

Ben solved that problem for him.

A few days later, Ben came back with his stock trailer attached and gave our neighbor a top of the line bull to replace the one that had been killed.

All he took for it was a cup of coffee.