The arrival of Pistol Pete and Rosita demonstrated the need to be prepared and have a plan in place, in case something does not go right. Ed was in cria watch the day of their birth, and he had done a routine morning check (nothing going on) before retiring to the ranch office to take care of his consulting business. A mere two hours later, as he strolled out for another check, he was met with the unexpected view of two (not one, but two!) pregnant ladies in the process of delivering their crias! Ananda, a first-time mom, had just given birth to an unusually small (9.6 pounds) little girl who was lying in the hay. Our wonderful Great Pyrenees female, Nicki, was lying next to the cria, keeping her safe from the cool autumn day and cleaning off the afterbirth. Meanwhile, Hazel, with three prior crias to her credit, was in trouble. Her cria’s head was protruding from her hind end, but there were no legs to be seen. Another contraction. Still no legs. Ed checked her, as he had been taught, but found that the cria’s legs were under his body. He tried pushing the cria back in, to free his legs, but no dice. No matter what Ed tried, he could not free the crias legs, so that he could be born. Worried and out of ideas, Ed called Sue at work, where she works as a kitchen designer for Lowe’s. Hearing Ed’s voice, the first thing Sue said was, “Who is in labor?” Ed replied, “Both!” Both? Sue headed for home, turning a normal 40 minutes commute into a 20 minute dash for life. The trailer was ready to go by the time Sue got home, and when Sue was also unsuccessful in freeing the crias legs, we gently led Hazel to the trailer. Sue rode with Hazel, holding the crias’s head in her hands, the whole trip, to protect the head from being injured. Just how fast can a V8 equipped Dodge Dakota, towing a 16 foot stock trailer really go? Trust me, the Highway Patrol does not want to know! Meanwhile, back in the trailer, Sue held the cria’s head, watching him continue to try to be born, talking to him and encouraging him to keep fighting. Hazel knew she was in loving hands, and patiently waited for the trip to reach its destination.
Our arrival at Oklahoma State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Stillwater was met with a team of three doctors, two veterinary technicians, and, by best count, some 20 veterinary students. Like a scene straight out of the television hit, “ER,” one team administered an epidural to Hazel, so that the cria could be repositioned and delivered, and the second team waited with a gurney, to take the newborn cria immediately into the hospital, the moment he was born. The moment he was born, the “cria team” whisked him into the hospital, as planned, and Hazel’s team tended to her. She was very sore, very bruised, but otherwise just fine. Once her afterbirth was delivered and the doctors were satisfied that they had given her the care she needed, it was time for her to visit her new baby. Hazel saw her beautiful, white baby boy (14.7 pounds of strong will from our most petite female) and began to nuzzle him and talk to him. He had been on oxygen to help him along after the exhausting birth experience, but he responded to his mother and answered her. After two days in the hospital, for observation, mother and son returned home to the ranch, Pistol Petein excellent condition. Their welcome by the rest of the herd was exuberant. And Pistol Pete met his half-sister for the first time.
Our rush to the hospital did not leave Ananda’s beautiful, rose gray little girl unattended. With Nicki at her side, and our remarkable llama (yes, llama!), Granada, serving as the world’s best auntie, tiny Rosita was up and nursing by the time we had completed our emergency run to the hospital. And what about the name, “Pistol Pete?” In honor of Oklahoma State University’s role in saving both Hazel’s and her son’s lives, this little boy, healthy and full of mischief was named after the famed OSU Cowboys football mascot, the hail and hearty Pistol Pete, who is reputed to be the world’s first cowboy, born just down the road, in Perkins, Oklahoma.