Monday, January 18, 2021

Milliron Monday: University Research Benefits Society 1 18 2021


 
"Dr. Smith's standing as one of the country's leading equine surgeons was a major factor in attracting the NIH funds."

Abbott "Pete" Smith, D.V.M.
June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010

Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Pete Smith, D.V.M., and  Milliron: Abbott “Pete” Smith, D.V.M. The Biography
 (Monday Creek Publishing 2017). A graduate of Colorado State University and a well-known veterinarian in southeast Ohio, Dr. Smith continues to motivate and inspire. 

From the 1976 Spring issue of the Ohio University Alumni Journal, Dr. Smith and Dr. Wagner are featured for their work in medical research...

University Research Benefits Society

    Some people say that important medical research is best done in big city universities and research centers.
    Ohio University associate professor of chemistry Thomas Wagner, a former researcher at the Sloan-Kettering Institute, refutes this, saying that in some cases, the rural setting is better, particularly when the research is being done initially on large animals.
    To prove it, Wagner and a collaborator, local veterinarian Abbott P. Smith, successfully sought a grant from the National Institute of Health (NIH) - at a time when medical grant money was scarce - and are now engaged in research which could lead to more knowledge of human birth defects.
    Dr. Smith's standing as a leader in the development of equine surgical techniques and practices was a major factor in attracting the NIH funds, Wagner said. Equally impressive to the NIH team that did an on-site visit was Smith's well-equipped veterinarian clinic which contains certain pieces of equipment that even some veterinary colleges don't have.
    Together the men are studying the initial events in fertilization. Horses are being used in the research because of their large size. The researchers contend that if they can determine exactly what happens when sperm meets ovum, they might also be able to tell something about irregular fertilization and the causes of birth defects.
    Wagner points to a number of advantages of the rural setting for such medical study. A major one is the relative ease of maintaining herds of large test animals in an agricultural area as opposed to a city. He cited the example of one major urban university medical center which has to hire a sheepherder to transport a flock of eight sheep by elevator each day from ground floor stalls.
    The cost of maintaining the animals is also less in rural Southeastern Ohio because grazing land is plentiful and grain can be raised right here rather than shipped in.
    Most important to this particular project, Wagner said, is the availability of a private practicing vet with the skill to handle the surgery part of the research. Such a collaboration is unique in the country because usually a scientist is teamed up with a medical doctor for medical research.
    Wagner says a veterinarian is actually preferable since MDs only know about one species - humans - and yet are required to conduct their research on animals. "Veterinarians are really more qualified to do such research and probably are more sensitive to their best subjects," he said.
    The actual research involves Wagner examining the detailed molecular changes in the chromosomal material of the male sperm cell during and after fertilization, which he simulates in a chemical environment. In the meantime Smith is perfecting a surgical technique so that a just-fertilized egg can quickly and easily be removed from a horse and examined microscopically.
    Wagner said both researchers share an interest in the basic sciences, and that with this project comes the opportunity to take a whole animal down to the molecular level to see how it reproduces.

Dr. Wagner steadies a horse while Dr. Smith gives it an injection in preparation for a surgical procedure as part of a cooperative research project. "Never a day goes by that some interesting quirk in our research doesn't pop up. We also have the possibility of being in on the ground floor of what may be something very big. And there's bound to be other kinds of fallout from any research project," Smith said. Wagner added that both of them share an interest in the basic sciences and that with this project comes the opportunity to take a whole animal down to the molecular level to see how it reproduces.


    The result of their study, which is funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH), may aid in the understanding of the causes of birth defects which occur in early pregnancy in humans.
    Wagner's part of the project involves examining the detailed molecular changes in the chromosomal material of the male sperm cell during and after fertilization which he simulates in a chemical environment in his laboratory.
    In the meantime, Smith is perfecting a surgical technique so that a just-fertilized egg can quickly be removed from a horse and examined microscopically to see how it compares to the simulation.
    Dr. Smith's standing as one of the country's leading equine surgeons was a major factor in attracting the NIH funds, according to Wagner. Equally impressive to the NIH team that did an on-site visit of the lab and the clinic was Smith's well-equipped facility which has some equipment lacking in veterinarian colleges.
    Commenting on the unique collaboration between vet and professor, Wagner noted that the arrangement has some advantages not usually present in a medical doctor-scientist investigation. While an MD is familiar with only one species - humans - a veterinarian is qualified to work with test animals.
    And while some people think of important medical research as happening at "big city universities," Wagner pointed out the advantage of Ohio University's rural setting which is ideal for the raising and maintaining of large numbers of experimental animals.


 
Enjoy the week ahead!


Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Milliron Monday: Poke & Dot 1 11 2021


Abbott "Pete" Smith, D.V.M.
June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010

Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Pete Smith, D.V.M., and  Milliron: Abbott “Pete” Smith, D.V.M. The Biography (Monday Creek Publishing 2017). A graduate of Colorado State University and a well-known veterinarian in southeast Ohio, Dr. Smith continues to motivate and inspire. 

What do you do when you have two lovely pigs, but need winter hay for your horses? Kelly, a fine artist and former client/friend of Dr. Smith, writes her story...



Thanks Kelly for a great story! 
Learn more about Kelly - Here
Learn more about Fernwood Farm - Here
Read Million Monday: Trail Ride - Here

Have a great week ahead!


Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.

Riding with Joy: An Interview with Joy Miller-Upton

On my current Quarter horse, Libby, on the way to the voting polls in 2020. 
I have ridden my horse to vote most years since 1972. Libby came to me
 from a rescue group in Athens in 2016, two weeks after I had surgery
 for uterine cancer. She had been rescued from an auction where most
 horses are bought for slaughter.
Photo by Donald F. Wallbaum 


Riding with Joy: An Interview with Joy Miller-Upton
by Gina McKnight
Archived from the December 2020 Issue of Florida Equine Athlete
No duplication without permission.
 
“That is one of the amazing and fun things about associating with these wonderful creatures. They teach us lessons we can never learn in school.”
 
Living in southeastern Ohio, I am surrounded by thousands of horse-lovers. Ohio is, after all, the home of the American Quarter Horse Congress, one of the largest one-breed horse shows in the world. Running into equestrians is a daily event for me. One of my favorite equestrians is Joy Miller-Upton. I met Joy several years ago through a mutual friend. Since, we enjoy sharing horse stories and collaborating on horse-related literature. I caught up with Joy and asked about her horse history, trail riding, and much more…
 
Welcome, Joy!
 
GM:  Joy, it’s great to connect and share your horse adventures! I know you have a vast horse history, but we have never talked about your first horse. When was your first encounter with a horse?
JMU: Actually two first encounters stand out in my mind. One was when my aunt and uncle took me to their farm in Hocking County (Ohio) where I live now and set me up on the back of a huge dark Draft horse in a very dark barn. The second, when I was probably five, was with a burro my dad borrowed to use as a prop for his costume in the Calico Days parade when we lived in the Mojave Desert in a tiny town called Yermo. That was in the 1940s. I would go out to where we had the burro tied to a tree in our yard and crawl up on his furry back and pretend I was galloping across the desert. Since my first two experiences were on the bare back of an equine I must’ve thought that was how you rode them, because when I got my first horse when I was 12 that was the only way I ever rode, bareback. The saddle that came with my first horse was a 1918 McClellan’s saddle and it was so weird and so uncomfortable I only ever used it once. But I wish I had it now!
 
GM: You are a seasoned rider with lots of trail miles. Tell us about your ride along the Underground Railroad…
JMU: A friend and I decided to try to trace a route across Ohio, beginning at the Ohio River and headed toward Canada, and ride it on horseback, that would approximately follow routes used by freedom seekers escaping the south. To prepare for the 550 mile ride, we did practice rides in 1998 and 1999, riding for a week each year.
 
The first year we started our ride at a historic black church in a small area in Lawrence County (Ohio) called Poke Patch. The church members helped us get started and allowed us to use their church grounds to camp the first two nights. We literally camped amongst tombstones in the cemetery while our three horses were tied nearby in the woods. That year we were riding on tiny back roads winding our way through an area now almost totally owned by the Wayne National Forest. That was ideal because we could camp almost anywhere.
 
It was August and very hot and dry. We counted on local people to assist us, just as freedom seekers would have been helped as they made their way out of slavery. One night we found ourselves in a dry camp with no water for the horses. Using an old type cell phone, standing on a very high hill, we were able to reach one of the church members and ask for help. Within an hour a truck pulled up with a large tank of water for us and our horses.
 
The second year we were assisted by a black historian, Henry Burke, and we rode in Washington County. Henry helped us define routes that we would ride between safe stations that had actually been used for underground railroad activity in the 1800s. That year I rode alone with my Chincoteague pony, Jaca, and her daughter a “ChincoFino,” Pearl, as my friend had broken her ribs during a training ride. She assisted by driving her truck loaded with hay and water for the horses.
 
As I rode the back roads, I met many helpful people, like the family who invited us to sleep in their tiny backyard. They had many children but we were willing to share whatever they had, including a toilet that you had to flush by pouring a bucket of water in it. 
 
Throughout that ride, Pearl was a challenge as usual, showing great displeasure at having to share a field next to sheep one night and prancing backward through an entire field another day because there were cattle in a nearby field.
 
GM: A great story, I understand you will be launching a book in 2021 about your journey. For such a journey, what type of horses are needed? Do you prefer one breed over another for long distance riding?
JMU: My book is actually about six horse journeys. The first one I rode in 1973 was for 30 days. I rode my big Appaloosa, Jubilee, and my packhorse was a Quarter horse, Tony. They were perfect because I had ridden them on other long trail rides, some overnight, and they were very physically fit. They had also been around all sorts of traffic and other distractions.
 
For a long distance ride the breed of horse may not be as important as the horse’s conditioning. Still, a lazy horse would drive you crazy on a long distance ride. For the underground railroad rides I had considered using a Quarter horse I had at the time, but he was extremely lazy and I would’ve worn myself out riding him. Pearl, being half Paso, had lots of energy. Her mother, the Chincoteague pony, was also very energetic. For any horse being taken on a long distance ride they need to have that energy as well as being traffic safe.
 
GM: Wow! That sounds like an amazing journey. When trail riding, what’s in your saddlebag?
JMU: Water, snacks, an extra lead rope, a few first aid supplies for both horse and human, and maps. That’s for a day ride. If I’m riding for several days, there would be a lot more than that. The important thing is to pack for your horse‘s needs.
 
GM: Your horse wisdom and horse adventures are well-known throughout our area. Do you have advice for novice riders and those looking to purchase their first horse?
JMU: Find a knowledgeable person to help you. Try riding and also helping around the barn before you buy a horse so you have an idea what is involved in both work and the expenses. Buying a well-trained, older horse is the only way to go for a novice rider. Go to horse events, read, watch videos, and talk to other horse riders. Just sit and watch horses. I have been riding more than seven decades and I learn something new all the time, often from the horse herself. That is one of the amazing and fun things about associating with these wonderful creatures. They teach us lessons we can never learn in school.
 
GM: Every horse-lover likes the thrill of horses in the rodeo. What is your favorite equestrian event/discipline in and/or out of the arena?
JMU: Challenges that showcase the horse performing natural horse activities is a beautiful thing to see. When a human asks and a horse does that, whether mounted or from the ground, it is awesome. I love watching someone work with horses at liberty.
 
The closest I’ve come to that was as a child with my first horse. I think one reason kids and horses are such a good match is that kids don’t overthink things like I as an adult do. My first horse, Calico, and I had a job of leading our cow to a pasture each morning before school. I would ride my horse with just a halter on and to turn her I would reach up behind her ear and tug on the halter. Soon I realized all I had to do was touch her behind the ear and she would turn. Then I discovered if I thought about stopping to get off, she stopped. I began riding her around the neighborhood with no bridle, halter, or saddle. Once someone asked me if she neck-reined and I said no. I was a little ashamed that my horse hadn’t learned to do that, but what I now realize is that I never taught her to do that. But I did teach her to ride at liberty!
 
GM: Thanks, Joy, for sharing your horse stories. Congratulations on your success as a horsewoman and your new book coming out in 2021! Finally, I ask all the people I interview about horsemanship. What does horsemanship mean to you?
JMU: Horsemanship to me means that with every interaction, whether feeding the horse, grooming, teaching or riding, the horse always comes first. It means paying attention to what that individual equine needs and what he can and should do. It means developing a partnership and friendship in which both equine and human have an equal say. It means showing leadership and bravery to a species that is not always brave. It also means trusting the equine you’re with to make choices beneficial for both of you.
 
Connect with Joy…
Email jmillerupt@aol.com

Florida Equine Athlete
Available From Amazon
 
I still like an occasional bareback ride! Zoe is a sweet, 
14-year-old quarter horse mare, bought from an auction.
Photo by Donald F. Wallbaum 


 

Friday, January 1, 2021

Milliron Monday: Tattoos 1 4 2021

Photos and story from The Athens Messenger. Circa 1980s. Used with Permission.
PAINLESS - Veterinarian Pete Smith marks a tattoo on a dog named Tully at the Milliron Clinic. Tattoo numbers help owners identify their dogs if they are lost or stolen, and also make it difficult for dognappers to sell animals they steal, according to David Sturbois.

Abbott "Pete" Smith, D.V.M.
June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010

Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Pete Smith, D.V.M., and  Milliron: Abbott “Pete” Smith, D.V.M. The Biography (Monday Creek Publishing 2017). A graduate of Colorado State University and a well-known veterinarian in southeast Ohio, Dr. Smith continues to motivate and inspire. 

Many years ago, there was thought to be a ring of dog thieves in our area where specific breeds were dognapped and sold for profit. Dr. Smith tattooed many animals for identification purposes. Here's the story written by Robert Ekey for The Athens Messenger...

Owner Urges Tattoos for Dogs

    Dave Sturbois had his valuable cattle dogs tattooed. He's hoping that he won't have another dog stolen or if one is, it will be returned. 
    Sturbois had a cattle dog turn up missing last December - and he thinks it was stolen.
    While looking for the missing dog, valued at more than $500, Sturbois said he found evidence of a possible dog theft ring in Athens County. He said many valuable dogs, both mixed breeds and purebreds, have been reported missing on Saturdays.
    Just in the area of his Long Run Road home, Sturbois said he discovered that four other dogs had turned up missing the same day as his - all within a mile and a half of his home.
    One of the dogs was a trained German shepherd. Another was an Irish setter.
    "There's no reasonable explanation for that many dogs missing on one day. They were all good dogs without any history of running away or not coming home," he said.
    Sturbois said that during his search for his cattle dog, he learned from a half dozen other people that their dogs had also turned up missing on Saturdays.
    Sturbois placed an ad in the lost and found column for three weeks hoping to locate his dog, but had no luck. In addition, he has been calling all numbers of ads where dogs are reported missing, trying to put together a pattern in case there is a theft ring working in the area.
    If there is a ring, there are only so many places the dogs can be sold, Sturbois said. One is to laboratories which conduct medical tests on adult dogs. Other sources are kennels or pet stores which may attempt to sell the dogs.
    "It is unrealistic to assume that someone is selling these dogs to individuals," Sturbois said.
    Having dogs tattooed will make the dogs worthless to pet shops or most individuals and will increase the chances of having the dog returned to the owner.
    Laboratories which operate on the animals will report the tattooed dog to the National Dog Registry, which will locate the owner and ensure the dog's return.
    The National Dog Registry is the most organized group for reporting stolen dogs, Sturbois said, and therefore is the best place to register the tattoo number.
    Sturbois had his social security number tattooed on the dog's inner right leg. The number will then be filed with the National Dog Registry for a $25 fee per number. Once the fee is paid for a number an unlimited number of dogs can be registered without additional cost.
    Although there is no solid evidence of a dog theft ring working in the area, just tattooing a dog's inner leg can be relieving to the dog owner, knowing that the chances of a missing dog's return is improved.
    Also Sturbois and Jody Smith, Amesville, have agreed to conduct a survey of missing dogs to supplement the information Sturbio has already collected, in an effort to get more information about a possible dog theft ring. 

GETTING READY - Mathew Sturbois, son of Mr. and Mrs. David Sturbios
of Long Run Road, comforts his dog, Luke, before the animal is tattooed.
David Sturbois is urging owners have identification numbers tattooed on
their pets to thwart what could be a dog stealing ring operating in the county.

Don't forget to get your dog license.

Have a great week ahead!


Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Milliron Monday: A Letter to Obama 12 28 2020

 

Abbott "Pete" Smith, D.V.M.
June 16, 1938 - February 22, 2010

Welcome to Milliron Monday where every Monday we celebrate the legacy of Pete Smith, D.V.M., and  Milliron: Abbott “Pete” Smith, D.V.M. The Biography (Monday Creek Publishing 2017). A graduate of Colorado State University and a well-known veterinarian in southeast Ohio, Dr. Smith continues to motivate and inspire. 

Difficult to believe that 2020 is drawing to a close. Where has the year gone? Lockdown, pandemic, mask, social distancing... whew... we all deserve a better New Year! 

To end 2020, it seems fitting to post Dr. Smith's letter from 2009 to President Obama. We are in the throes of a Presidential transition, after all. 

From Dr. Smith...

Dear President Obama,

Congratulations! Along with the vast majority of the world's population, I'm delighted that you are now the man!

There has never been a more appropriate time or pressing need for audacious action.

First, we should legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, which would generate untold revenue and eliminate most crime, since most drug related crime is caused by money. The better the interdiction the more expensive the drugs and thus more crime. Cheap legal drugs mean lots of money for the U.S. government, but none for organized crime and obviously a $6.00/a day habit has no social consequence compared to a $600.00/a day habit. Our shameful prison population would be quickly reduced by about 50%. Cheap, clean drugs from a government health source would reduce hepatitis C, aids, etc. and each time a drug purchase was made the addict would be exposed to help, education, and counter-addiction strategies in a legal, safe, confidential non-threatening environment. Our current system is a dismal and expensive failure so why not talk to folks in Holland and see how the idea has been working for them. A trillion or so a year at almost no cost would come in handy right now.

P.S. Your reaction (and mine) to this idea is probably to blow it off as perhaps an interesting concept, but totally impractical and unacceptable due to political unpalatability and moral, ethical, religious, and emotional issues, but stop a minute and think. Alcohol can be a terrible taskmaster and we all personally or peripherally know of the tragedies that can accompany its use. Always was and always will. However before prohibition ended, remember Al Capone types and Valentine's Day massacre were events, which are now almost unheard of because alcohol is now legitimate, available, and cheap. Not to mention the billions in revenue produced. Look at your daily newspaper or police blotter or TV news and there is almost no mention of crime related to legal personal addictions to alcohol, nicotine, or caffeine. A veritable artesian well of trillions of dollars badly needed by the government goes untapped in drug money other than graft. Marijuana is well known to the largest dollar agricultural commodity in most states, but being criminalized and unregulated causes only trouble rather than producing billions in state, local, and federal revenue.

There would be little point in criminals recruiting addicts for money if drugs were cheap and legal. Addiction has been and will be with us always, but ending drug prohibition can stop the associated social consequences of crime, graft and corruption.

A vibrant economy and functional social programs produce meaningful work and negate many of the gateway factors to drug abuse. We know that prison time graduates hundreds of thousands of hardened criminals with connections each year besides impoverishing breaking up those families. No other society imprisons the percentage of the population that we do. You can balance the budget in just a year or two and eliminate most crime with the one bold stroke of ending this era of drug prohibition.
 

 
Enjoy the journey to 2021!


Through captivating, powerful, and emotional anecdotes, we celebrate the life of Dr. Abbott P. Smith. His biography takes the reader from smiles to laughter to empathy and tears. Dr. Smith gave us compelling lessons learned from animals; the role animals play in the human condition, the joy of loving an animal, and the awe of their spirituality. A tender and profound look into the life of a skilled veterinarian.

Milliron Monday: University Research Benefits Society 1 18 2021

  "Dr. Smith's standing as one of the country's leading equine surgeons was a major factor in attracting the NIH funds." A...