As you know, I live on acreage, and run beef cattle.
Due to the recent summer droughts, we have kept our stock to a minimum, mainly because it’s very difficult to fatten these boys up when you haven’t got much grass.
So at present we have only twenty steers.
Which is easy to manage.
And thank goodness that the recent rains in early February, that dampened the catastrophic bushfires our country recently experienced, have also stimulated some good growth of grass in our paddocks.
So on Monday evening last week, I thought I’d be clever and lock these twenty boys into the top “house” paddock, right in front of the house, for a few days, so that they could really demolish the long grass there.
And this task didn’t have to be so difficult, because the “boys” had been living in this house paddock as well as the bigger paddock below. They were “grazing” between the two.
Anyway, after much clapping and cheering, I managed to manually close all of the twenty boys into the top “house” paddock.
Despite the fact that some of them were reluctant to venture into the house paddock to join their mates.
So yesterday morning, as the sun rose, I watched from my kitchen breakfast bench as the twenty steers, one by one, awoke and rose, and stood up, and started eating…. right there in front of me in the top “house” paddock.
And all was at peace in the world.
So off I went to have a shower.
When I returned to the kitchen window, to my amazement, the steers had gone.
The gate down to the lower paddock had been unlatched, and swung wide open, and the cattle were “off for the prize”, grazing way down in the bottom paddock.
And acting as if they had done no wrong….
Who would have thought cattle could be so contriving?
Why did these cattle seek out an “escape” from this smaller, well maintained top, “house” paddock?
It’s not as if they had no feed in this top paddock…
And how did they undo the latch on the gate?
And which one of them did this?
Lifting the latch on the chain on the gate requires some degree of skill. That’s for sure.
And then pushing the gate wide open?
Which one of them thought of this?
So last night I decided to repeat the relocation of the cattle back into the top “house” paddock.
After all, when I arrived home last night, they were up there in the “house” paddock anyway, and so closing the gate up was quite a simple process.
And this morning, when I went off for my dawn walk, the boys were all still sleeping [in the house paddock].
But while out on my walk, some seventy five minutes later, I noticed that these same naughty boys had again been able to unlatch the closed gate and had exited the top “house” paddock for the larger paddock down below.
They had successfully repeated the “escape”.
[Despite the fact that I was going to release them down there today, anyway….]
The Lesson to be Learned
The lesson here is simple.
If you give your cattle the sniff of a better life, or lifestyle, they’ll take it.
In the same way, if you give any of your patients the sniff about something more pleasant, like NOT coming to the dentist AT ALL, they will jump at the opportunity.
When you give your patients the opportunity to “escape” from their dental appointment, don’t be surprised when some of them decide to take up that opportunity.
When scheduling your patients for appointments, you need to make sure that your appointments are secured tightly, so that patients cannot slip out of your appointment book when your back is turned.
There are a lot of patients out there who do not understand the importance of dental treatment and dental appointments.
And after all, most dental procedures are performed to rectify conditions and diseases that are not causing pain or discomfort… so the patient doesn’t really have any urgency to complete their treatment in the recommended time frames.
It is these patients who will try to slip through any unsecured openings in your dental appointment book.
It is our duty to the public, as health care practitioners, to secure their appointments so that they do indeed complete their treatment.
And it is in their best interests for them to do so.
Allowing them to delay or defer treatment is not in the patients’ best interests.
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