Griffiths often enjoys recounting the many
interesting (and often times humorous)
stories he has collected throughout his long career
as a veterinarian.
We would like to share
these stories with you, so please stop back often,
and enjoy these real life accounts brought to you by
and care is always used in human medicine as in
veterinary medicine to ensure the correct patient is
not confused with another.
years always were interesting to me in regards to my
identity in my family. My fraternal twin brother,
Dan, and I were occasionally confused by our
teachers when in school.
receiving a punishment, following a mischievous act
in high school. My teacher said I was to stay in
the study room after class for a lengthy period. I
was to sit quietly and think about my punishment.
On that particular day I had to meet with a delivery
man at a house we were constructing. He was
delivering a septic tank which was to be placed in a
hole. I hadn’t finished digging the hole, and had
to have it done before he arrived to place it in the
ground. I didn’t have a way to contact him to
cancel the delivery. I pleaded with my teacher to
take my punishment on another day to no avail. I
was to spend my time in detention and that was
My twin, Dan,
had football practice after the end of the school
session and offered to “do my time”. He headed down
the hall to receive my punishment and I rushed out
of the building determined to finishing my
excavating and meet the delivery man on schedule.
Dan sat in my seat in the study room, meditating on
“what he had done wrong” until the teacher said, “OK
Tom, you can leave now. I hope you have learned
your lesson and don’t misbehave again”. Dan left
the classroom and hurried to his football practice.
In the meantime I was just finishing my job before
the arrival of the large septic tank. Everything
worked out well; Dan made it to practice; I
completed my job; the delivery fellow wasn’t held
up; and the teacher went home satisfied she had done
her job. I often question if this was a good way to
handle my problem by a switch of identity. I look
back to that time with mixed feelings. Possibly I
would handle the situation different, if I had
another shot at it. I was always taught to be
honest and truthful and question if I handled this
“switch” in a good manner.
graduation as a veterinarian I began my career in a
rural area. I had recently replaced a veterinarian
named Dr. Bob Sharp. He had the look of a
veterinarian built for work in the world of large
animal veterinary medicine. He stood upright with
broad shoulders. He carried enough muscle mass that
if a cow were to kick him I doubt that it would even
slow him down. He was a tall, large boned fellow in
his early thirties. His voice was firm and loud as
he looked a person directly in the eye and spoke to
them. Dr. Sharp enjoyed visiting farms and working
with the large animals.
One fine sunny
day a call came in by an anxious farmer, Bill
Wright. His Holstein cow was out in the pasture,
down and attempting to have a calf. He wanted a
veterinarian there as soon as possible or sooner.
He lived about ten miles from the hospital on Wright
Road. Many farms in the area of the practice had
been in the family for a century or more. Several
relatives with the same name often lived on the same
road. They had been there so long often the road
was named after the family.
A down cow,
slow to deliver her calf could have milk fever.
This condition could be lethal to the animal if not
treated in a short time. Dr. Sharp quickly gathered
his calf-puller and other necessary obstetric
equipment jumped in the vehicle with his faithful
helper, Frank Goens. They were just a blur going
down the highway toward the Bill Wright farm. They
turned onto the gravelly Wright road. The dust from
the gravel road hung in the air on the still day as
they raced toward their down patient. Bill Wright
had said the cow was in the pasture near the fence
under the shade of a large oak tree on the left.
Frank and Dr. Sharp spotted the down cow near the
fence. She apparently had thrashed around and had
moved a short distance. The large cow was now out
in the hot sun away from the shade of the large oak
tree, straining to deliver her precious offspring.
They parked the
vehicle on the shoulder of the vacated road. They
gathered the necessary instruments climbed the fence
and haltered the cow. Frank tied her to a
fencepost. The obstetrical chains were attached to
the calf’s feet. Sweat poured off Dr. Sharp as he
manipulated the calf for proper delivery into the
world of bright sunlight. Frank and Dr. Sharp
pulled the calf as it slithered into the less secure
world with a gush of fluid from the uterus. The
calf and cow were fine. The obstetrician and his
help climbed into the vehicle and returned to the
hospital. They continued their busy day following
beginning of the month a statement was sent for
services to Bill Wright on Wright road. Shortly
after he received his statement Mr. Wright
telephoned the veterinary hospital. Following some
discussion he said his cow had her calf on the
morning of his previous telephone call with no
assistance. He said Dr. Sharp had never come to his
farm. It was determined the pasture that Dr. Sharp
had delivered the calf in was just before the Bill
Wright pasture on the same Wright road. The cow
that Frank and Dr. Sharp had worked on belonged to
Bill Wright’s cousin. His name was also Wright.
Apparently the cow of Bill Wright’s cousin had begun
her labor and was assisted in the delivery process
by the well intentioned Dr. Sharp. Bill Wright was
advised to telephone if his cow had her calf before
Dr. Sharp arrived. He never telephoned. All turned
out well, although a lesson could be learnt from
this experience to use extreme precautions so as to
prevent any identity confusion.