Rural Missouri - March 2011 - (Page 36)

N E I G H B O R S “I’d tell the family, ‘I’ll just meet you at the restaurant,’ but that never worked out,” he recalls. “Somebody would have a colicky horse, a cow he veterinarian’s cell phone needing a calf pulled or a horse that rings for the second time ran through a fence and needed surin five minutes. A horse gery. You’re on call 24/7.” has been shot in the shoulBob says being so driven eventuder and needs hauled to the clinic. ally took its toll. He battled alcoholAnother person says her pups aren’t ism and, eventually, his dedication to eating like they should, and she his job cost him his marriage. wants to know what to do. “No job should take precedence He snaps the phone shut and hurover your marriage, your family,” he ries out the door toward the barn. A says, his voice breaking again. “Nothclient has driven nearly two hours, ing should.” past two other vets, to bring two He looks at the floor, then again at mares to the clinic because he’s havthe words of hope on his cup. ing trouble getting them bred. The Other stresses he’s faced over owner knows if anyone can figure out the years came from the animals he the problem, Bob Barnett can. treated. Once he was called out at 4 For nearly 40 years, Bob has opera.m. because a raccoon had bitten a ated the Callaway County Veterinary man. Upon arriving, the vet found Clinic in Fulton. While his practice the homeowner drunk and waving a revolves around large animals such as .357 Magnum in his face, demanding horses, mules and cattle these days, he sit down for a drink. So Bob did, he’s seen his fair share of dogs and grabbed the raccoon and left. cats through the years. He lost a finger to a dog because Bob credits his maternal grandsomeone told him the dog was father — an unlicensed veterinarfriendly — he quickly found out the ian, farrier, saddle horse trainer and animal actually hated men. unordained minister — who lived Cattle kicked at him. Horses up north in Green City for his career stepped on his feet. These are just a path. few of the hazards of a vet’s trade. “My parents divorced when I was None were enough to dissuade this three, and my brother and I ended up dedicated man from his life’s work, living with my grandparents,” says however. Bob, 63. “I followed my grandfather For more than 30 years, the doctor around like a shadow and learned Callaway County’s Bob Barnett wanted to be a vet for as long as he can remember. also has enjoyed teaching a handseverything he did. So being a veton semester of Veterinary Medicine erinarian was what I wanted for as and Equine Reproduction to William long as I can remember. I’m a fourthWoods University students. Students generation veterinarian — the only quickly learn the instructor means difference is I got the degree the other business when it comes to equine generations never had.” care, one of his specialties. Bob recalls his grandfather work“Sometimes they’ll whip through ing livestock for the neighbors from something and think I won’t notice, all across north Missouri. but I do,” says the vet. “When the sign in the almanac He points to a sign over the barn was right, 30 or 40 horses would office door. It reads, “If you don’t show up at my grandfather’s farm to have time to do it right, when will be castrated,” recalls Bob. “That’s how you have time to do it over?” after 5 p.m. everyone did everything back then.” He smiles. “That’s one of my philoso“I figured, hey, if that many people Bob continued learning from his grandfather phies we follow around here — do it need a vet, then that’s exactly where I through high school. He says the day his senior right the first time so you don’t have need to live and work,” says Bob. picture ran in the local paper, his mother sat at Fulton• to do it again.” While being the youngest graduate had the kitchen table and cried. She had been the first Bob says advances in technolits merits, it had its drawbacks, too. Bob in her family to get a high school diploma, and ogy are the biggest evolution he’s says farmers would walk into his clinic, she was upset because she wouldn’t be able to seen through the years. In 1980, see how young he was and ask to see his send him to veterinary school. he bought one of the first ultrafather. But Bob’s vast knowledge of farm “I told her that was fine, I’d figure it out,” the sound machines used in veterinary animals, both large and small, eventually usually gruff veterinarian recalls, his voice starting medicine in Missouri. The technology was so new won over the skeptics. to crack at the memory. “So I worked four or five the University of Missouri vet school had to bor“Farmers thought a kid my age couldn’t possijobs at once and rode my bicycle to vet school row the machine to train students. bly know what he was doing with livestock,” says every day. The veterinarian’s latest purchase of a digital Bob, a member of Callaway Electric Cooperative. “I graduated in 1971. I was 23, and at that X-ray machine allows him to see a detailed film in The doctor thoughtfully takes a sip of coffee time, the youngest student to ever graduate from seven seconds, which he finds especially helpful from his cup, then points to the words on the the University of Missouri’s veterinary school,” when treating horses. The reports the machine front of the mug. claims the doctor. produces are so thorough, Bob can even tell a far“With God, all things are possible,” he reads As a student, Bob worked at the university’s rier how to specifically shoe a horse. aloud. “I know I wouldn’t have the business I large animal clinic. On call most evenings, Bob Bob’s proud to say that his youngest daughter, have today if this weren’t true.” noticed something he found extremely disturbing Victoria, a senior and honor student at Fulton Bob says veterinary medicine is grueling but — many of the clinic’s after-hours calls were comHigh School, plans to follow in his footsteps as a also very rewarding. However, it also has taken a ing from Callaway County. And after asking the large animal veterinarian. toll on him physically, emotionally and personclients why they came to Columbia all the time, As for plans to retire, Bob quickly says, “I’ll ally. Whenever he had plans with the family, he learned that while the county had several vetnever retire. I will die doing this. I love it.” some emergency always came up. erinarians, most of them chose not to take calls T by Heather Berry hberry@ruralmissouri.coop Ahead herd Country veterinarian Bob Barnett gives a lifetime of care to animals great and small of the 36 WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP http://WWW.RURALMISSOURI.COOP

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - March 2011

Rural Missouri - March 2011
Contents
Comments
Columns
Docent of the Walking Cane Dulcimer
Out of the Way Eats
Mail Bag
The No-Dig (And Less Sweat) Gardening Alternative
Grow a Delicious Landscape
A Recycled Craft
Hearth and Home
News Briefs
The Gainesville Gunner
Marketplace
Around Missouri
Top Apps for Rural Missourians
Neighbors
Just4Kids

Rural Missouri - March 2011

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