Dylan signed up for a Veterinary Science program through her 4-H club. Grady was too young to sign up, but since meetings fall on the same night as Regina's school board meetings, he got to tag along. Kids learned, first hand, about all the gushy and messy parts of animals. Day 1 kicked off with a heart dissection and a study of an enlarged cow's liver. These kids -- mostly girls -- sliced and diced through every bit of soft tissue they could find inside dead mammals. Roadkilled deer? Cut 'er open. Mummified fetus? Of course. Old gall bladder? Why not.
Early on in the class, Dr. Amy asked me to save a reproductive tract from a heifer we butchered. I diligently kept it in the freezer until I needed room for hamburger. I completely forgot about it and swore that the unmarked ziplock bag was full of sweetbreads (neither sweet, nor bread) that had turned bad. I was a little embarrassed to tell the class that I tossed their dissection project for the evening, but really I was just grateful I didn't try to cook up a cervix and uterus for dinner, thinking it was an unusual shape for a thymus gland.
One evening was spent looking at x-rays and old bones. Images from car smashed cats and crippled horses fascinated the kids, but the real treat that night was the smell. There wasn't one. I spent most classes trying to pretend I wasn't gagging from the odor emanating from the pile o' innards laid out on the table. Gut night was, predictably, the worst. Many parents opted to stay outside. Since I brought in the garbage can full of insides, I felt a little obligated to stay.
Dylan always asked a ton of good questions and one night the 4-H leader looked at me and said, "Wow, I think your daughter is going to be a vet!" I smiled with pride and thought of all the free vet care my cattle and horses would receive. Just then, Dylan came around the corner holding her nose. "Dad," she said, "I definitely do NOT want to be a vet." Well, at least we know now.