Defining Life

Close to twenty years ago, a client called my husband’s office and wanted to set up an appointment for a Tuesday at ten a.m. to breed her mare.  I knew this client and I was pretty sure that we hadn’t seen her mare to prepare for breeding.

You see, when breeding by artificial insemination, a lot of prep work takes place first.  You have to check the mare’s uterus by ultrasound and look for a breedable follicle.  There is a certain size that you wait for before insemination.  Usually, once she is determined to be in heat, she is examined daily to monitor the size of the follicle.

But, before work begins with the mare, contact is made with the stallion owner to see what days they collect semen.  This has to be coordinated with the mare’s ovulation time and flight schedules if the stallion is any distance away.  It is a process.

“Have we checked your mare?”  I asked.

“No.”  She replied.

“Has another vet been checking her progress?”  I asked.

“No.  I just need Tuesday if at all possible.”  She said.

“Have you been teasing the mare?”  I asked.

“What do you mean?”  She asked.

“You know, taking a stallion or gelding near her to see if she acts like she’s in heat.”  I said.

“No, I haven’t.”  She replied.

“Why are you wanting to schedule for Tuesday if you haven’t had her checked?”  I asked.

“Oh, it’s my day off.”  She replied.

I was dumbfounded.  I didn’t expect that I would have to have a ‘the little talk’ with a client, but I did.

Recently, a client was breeding her mare by artificial insemination and when the semen arrived it was dead.  My husband puts a sample of the semen on a heated microscope slide and looks for “swimmers.”  He looks to see if the semen is moving or is alive but he also looks for ‘progressive forward motion (PFM)’.  That is the important number.  The little guys that can make their way to the egg are the ones that matter.

I find that interesting.  It doesn’t matter if the semen is alive if it is not progressively moving forward.  It may as well be dead.  St. Ignatius of Loyola, one of my favorite saints says that we can find God in all things, if only we pay attention.

How often in life, do we swim in a circle, failing to live life to it’s fullest?  No matter how difficult a dream or a goal may seem, if we just continue to progressively move forward, we might just reach ….our life.

Sometimes, I laugh at the silly things that clients say and do.  But, I imagine God sees us in much the same way.  He gives us little lessons everywhere.  What are you missing today


About The Author

Jean Heaton

I am a daughter, sister, aunt, mother and probably most notoriously, ‘the Vet’s wife’.


  1. Robert | 23rd May 16


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