The meeting of city guy and Bull
| A Moment With Dirk
How should I introduce Dirk? Let me give you a brief history of how I came to be in Dirk's world. In the eighties one of my wife's friends together with her husband had a horse farm in a small town east of the city in which we lived. They raised Arabian horses so for three or four summers we sat the house and farm while they would travel to various horse shows. It was a wonderful two weeks. I commuted every day into the city to my job then in the evening we would take care of the chores that are needed in taking care of a farm. We learned a great deal about the difficulties and pleasures of that kind of life.
Besides the horses they also had several cows. The cows in turn had one massive bull to watch over them. This was Dirk. We had to make sure he never crossed into the cows' pasture. One evening when I returned from the city I noticed that Dirk was not in his paddock. My wife and I started a short search and found him standing in the small paddock next to his own which was two small fences away from the cows.
Dirk, at the shoulders, stood a good four inches taller than I. When he raised his head he became even taller. If I asked someone what he weighed I don't remember. His weight had to be over a thousand pounds. His hide was fire red/orange. He also still had his horns. I just remember that he was a giant of an animal. My wife and I had to somehow get him back in his place.
Across the road from this farm was a dairy farm and the folks there would help with any problem that we might have. I figured this was a problem because living in the city doesn't prepare one for the responsibility of getting a tank of an animal into a place he probably doesn't want to go. It did not bother me to ask the neighbors for help.
We made sure Dirk couldn't get out of this paddock. My wife stayed to keep an eye on him and I went across the road to ask for help. When I arrived at their farm the men were bringing the cows to the barn so the two women came to show me what to do. I knew they had had many years of handling cattle so I was grateful they wanted to help. I listened to everything they wanted to teach.
I'll never forget that evening. There were five of us there, my wife and son outside the fence. The two neighbors and I inside with Dirk. It was cloudy and the sun was low in the sky because the light gave the impression of a fall evening instead of the June evening it was. The paddock was muddy from the rain we received that morning. Dirk's wonderings made it deep and sticky. While my wife and son watched from the safety outside the fence the two neighbors and I started herding Dirk toward the end of the paddock where the gate that led into the barn was located.
I had learned long ago that animals didn't mind too much being herded unless for some reason they were cornered. I didn't know anything about the temperament of bulls, let alone that of this giant of a bull in who's world I was walking.
We walked behind him at about twenty feet and slowly guided him to the upper corner of the paddock. The paddock was roughly fifty feet long and thirty feet wide. The end that we moved him to was triangular shaped with the barn and its gate on the right side as we faced him. When he stopped he stood at the apex of the triangle facing us. He snorted and threw mud with his hooves. He obviously wasn't pleased at our being there. Standing in six inches of mud I too wasn't pleased I was there. On top of what was happening I had to ask what was next.
One of the women went to the gate to my right about ten feet away while the other stood a few feet to my left. I was in the middle of the paddock and the line we formed made the bottom of the triangle at this end of the paddock. The woman next to me told me to stand still, hold my arms out and not move. No matter what happened I was to not move. I had no idea why I should do it but I figured she knew best so I told her okay. She told me she was going to start Dirk toward the gate. She also told me he might not want to go. I, standing all of five feet eight inches, was the only thing in his way.
I'll also never forget the next few seconds. They stretched into hours though there were no more than ten of them.
She stepped next to Dirk and I think she yelled. She might have slapped him on the rump. That part of the day I don't remember. The only vivid thing in my mind this far into the future is the sight of this locomotive of an animal closing the twenty or so feet between the point of this triangle and me, the base. To my mind he was moving at top speed by the time he got to me. When he was no more than four feet from this naive statue of a city guy he planted his front hooves and immediately turned to his left and continued through the gate. The gate slammed shut behind him. We were successful.
All I could do was ask what would have happened if I had moved. I don't remember what I did after they left. I can't even remember if I slept that night. All I can remember is hearing her answer echo.... "He'd have killed you. Run right over you."
Thank goodness he never got out again.