As a large animal veterinarian, on call emergencies are part of the gig. Especially late at night. I have often been called out at night to some very sketchy locations. Honestly most of them turn out to be nothing serious, but you really do not know that until after the call is over. Those accustomed to country life are no strangers to dirt or gravel roads, railroad crossings, creeks, rickety bridges, and dilapidated buildings. Those per se do not bother me, but when you start getting combinations of these and throw in some serious warning signs, then I get a little nervous.
One night I was called out to a place after dark, that I had not been to before. I leave the house and head towards Norwood. I got the address but did not specifically ask the client to go over directions. I get close to the location and turn down a dirt road and shortly cross over railroad tracks. The dirt road went back into some woods about a quarter of a mile. The area opens up, and the first dilapidated building I come to has spray painted on it “KEEP OUT”, “NO TRESPASSING”, “DON’T ASK”. Yes, it said don’t ask. I have never seen that spray painted on anything. The building appeared to be made of metal tin roofing sheets with a lot of debris and junk around it. I confirmed that according to my phone’s GPS, I was correct in my path and the owners house should be just up ahead. I considered turning around, but the driveway seemed to keep going so I did. Finally, it ended in a very nice yard with a very normal looking house and a very nice client with their colicky horse. I took a sigh of relief when I spotted them and turned off the truck. I was glad I was not in the wrong place and about to be shot at for trespassing. The call went well, and I made it home in one piece.
Along those same lines, I have seen a lot of homemade signs (mostly spray painted on plywood) at the edges of people’s property and beginning of driveways. I have seen some that said, “New neighbors wanted”, “Mind your own business”, and “Leave my dogs alone”. It can get creative and lengthy. Just thought you all might get a kick out of that.
This place was not so much scary as unique, and it most definitely brings new meaning to off the beaten path. I’m including it in this tale because admittedly, if I had been asked to go to this location for the first time at night, I would have not been comfortable doing so. The first time I was called out to this farm, it was in the morning and in full daylight. When I asked the owner the address, she gave me the address but said I will meet you at the driveway and you can follow me in. That seemed a little odd, but ok. I got dressed and headed out. This call was in Mt Pleasant. I arrived at the driveway and saw the car. The owner waved me on to follow her. It started out unremarkable enough, but it got weird after that. The dirt driveway was tight and winding. The limbs of the trees were scraping my doors. We had to go slow down the driveway. After about 100 yards or so of creeping along, the driveway starts having some serious ruts and washouts. I am really hoping my suspension can handle this. Just when I think, it must get better soon, I find myself at a large creek that has no bridge. I must ford the creek. The owner with a little car went on without concern. If she can do it, I certainly can in my F250 diesel truck. The creek bottom seemed to be very rocky and therefore not conducive to me getting stuck. Once out of the creek, the driveway went up at a steep incline along the edge of a pasture and I can finally see a house. Hallelujah. I’m there. Over the years, I went to this client many times and with any new veterinarians, I had to go with them the first time to show them the way. Our trucks can attribute many scratches due to this driveway and Dr. Pike even broke a side mirror off attempting to get out and back home after one call. Nice people. Just off the beaten path.