Monday, August 19, 2019

Milliron Monday: Cowboys are Forever 8 19 19

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. 

After writing Dr. Smith’s biography and delving into his life, there is one thing I know for sure – he was witty, intentional, and confident. His deep witty laugh could be heard often through the halls of his own Milliron Clinic. He was intentional in living and certainly confident in his approach to veterinary medicine.

A scholar in every way, Dr. Smith had a pocketful of quotes, lyrics, jokes, and (sometimes) serendipitous banter. Interviewing clients for Dr. Smith’s biography, almost everyone had  something to say about Dr. Smith’s ability to shoot off an amusing line at the appropriate moment. Transcribing interviews, I found myself laughing at the same jokes (rhymes and lyrics) that amused his family and clients. I am sure Dr. Smith is leaning over my shoulder, impressed that his rhetoric continues to have an impact.

Jessica, Dr. Smith’s daughter, recently texted me one of Dr. Smith’s favorite sayings. Dr. Smith, the forever cowboy, enjoyed camping – mostly with his horse and rider friends. Settling down for the night, he would stomp out the campfire. “Call in the dogs. Piss on the fire. The hunt is over,” Dr. Smith said as he was off to bed.

This quote seemed familiar to me. I found it was first published in 1969 in the novel Defender of the Angels; A black policeman in old Los Angeles, by Jess Kimbrough (New York, NY: Macmillan 1969; pg. 71): “You can piss on the fire and call off the dogs ‘cause we’ve hunted the woods all over. And what I mean, we ain’t missed nothin’.” 

The quote has been used many times since – in literature, plays, and movies (and mostly every day in Texas). To “piss on the fire and call in the dogs” is an old cowboy saying at days end.

I don’t think Dr. Smith really pissed on the campfire before he turned in, but then again, he probably did.

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.

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