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.
Pete is perhaps no longer with us physically but there is something about Pete that makes that not applicable in his case – he was bigger than life and is therefore always going to be with us! I was reminded recently about how that actually works – a neighbor has a dog that has been getting sudden cramps which then disappear – he has trouble walking – wobbles along. They have spared nothing in vet costs to find out what it is. I immediately thought, “Let me call Pete!” Knowing Pete, maybe he’ll figure out a way to answer us from where he is! Let’s hope! We need his animal smarts.
My friend Christine Chauvin who organizes horseback rides around the world had the pleasure of having Pete on one of her rides in Ecuador. I had broken my back and couldn’t go myself and knew Pete would love the experience so he went in my place. Christine thought Pete was a wonderful addition to the ride – a rather unusual group as there were several men on that particular ride. That is not usually the case.
Pete was always a source of laughs, great stories and whenever there were animal problems, he had the solution. On a ride she had in Africa, one of the favorite horses of the organizer had been having serious stomach problems which no vet had been able to help. Christine knew one vet that she could count on – she called Pete. He asked questions, and without hesitation came up with a suggestion. Yogurt with charcoal as I recall (don’t pin me down on that one!), with instructions on how to actually get it down the horse’s throat. Within a short time the horse was fine again. How little sister Janet (he always called me Nanny. From him that was quite ok!) is proud when she hears stories like that. And there are many such stories.
When the opportunity came up for our daughter Anna to come and spend a summer working with Pete, Jody and Jessica doing various chores, I thought “great!” At least Anna will get a chance to spend a summer with this amazing family. Chores with Pat were not included – probably lucky for both Anna and Pat! She’s not a numbers person! It was quite a different experience for her to be working on a farm with all that involves and in a clinic seeing operations and understanding that side of a vet’s work, and without the big city life she is so used to. I was actually envious of her. I have always loved visiting Milliron Farm and having all the animals around me – being a part of Pete’s world.
Pete visited our world when we were living and working in Venezuela. That was a great time for us all. I had long talks with Pete on just about every subject. Pete was well read – he had an amazing frame of reference because of that. He had no trouble finding lots to talk about with people who had never left the city environment!
He seemed to enjoy it all and was always up to learning more! I remember we had a lot of coffee table books in our house. There were some really interesting ones – which most of us just leaf through – checking out the beautiful pictures. Well, with Pete it was a completely different story! He read most of them! I can’t remember how long he was with us – too short as time flew by – but he managed to read many of those books and came with floods of questions about Venezuela’s this or that.
Pete lived his life – some of us just let it flow on. That’s ok but oh how much more Pete must have experienced in his all too short time with us. He wanted to get the most out of his life and he made sure he did just that. He always had the loving support of Jody which was incredibly important to him. She went into overdrive to make sure he got a passport in time for the ride in Ecuador. I am sure that was standard procedure for her and Pete understood and loved this about Jody. That they had their love of animals in common was an important strength in every aspect of their lives.
We will miss Pete but he’s always going to be here with us! After all he was/is bigger than life!