You ladies kill me at times
I probably shouldn't say this. Some of you will already know it. Some of you obviously don't think about it. Hopefully I won't shatter anyone's carefully cultivated perception (like a friend of who still sees all deer as Bambi
People who work cattle are not animal lovers in the way that the vast majority of people have a perception of "animal lovers". While admittedly it's been about 27-28 years (it's been awhile) since I last worked cattle (I took a 4 year break between the age 23-27 and give it up completely around 29) I can't imagine that some things have changed that much.
For the most part (there's always the odd exception) we did love our horse (probably in much the way a race driver loves his car). They were a primary tool we used in doing our job. We depended on them. We became acutely aware of their value if they were good. Equally aware of their short comings if they weren't (which meant they were soon replaced). No, my QH was a cattleman's dream
and was never in any danger of losing her job, but we did have one that wasn't worth his feed for working cattle and probably ended up as someone's trail horse somewhere.
So we love our horse, but it earns that love.
Cattle represented our pay. We work hard to have every calf born healthy. Worked hard to keep all the cattle alive so that they can all be killed, slaughtered and turn into roast, steak, hamburger, pet food, leather jackets/coats, hats, shoes, purses, wallets, etc, etc, etc (you get the picture
), because that's what gives us a paycheck. Those animals are a product. Just like the farmer who grows wheat or the one who's chickens produce eggs, or the people who make clothing, or tires, or microchips, or saddle blankets (especially those colorful designed ones geared to all of girls that ride
....I used an old Army blanket
). We get sick to our stomach when we find a dead cow (it's not a pretty sight and you hate that the animal might have suffered before it finally died), but it also meant a financial loss.
I guess one difference from most jobs is that if you work cattle long enough you'll spend more time cursing them then most products get cursed
. They can be very uncooperative and often during the worst weather. Most people who've worked cattle can probably tell you more stories about what a pain in the backside cattle are then stories about how wonderful it is. Find some guy (or girl) who's been the drag a few times and ask them how enjoyable that was and how much they liked cattle at the end of that day
(drags not a hard job, but it can be pretty bad).
We loved cattle just like you love your paycheck.