(This article is a tribute to my dear friend Linda Erickson, who passed away in 2020.)

There is a series of books by James Herriot, a British veterinary surgeon and author, well known by the book collection and TV series, “All Creatures Great and Small,” which my husband Dennis and I can relate to.

For the decades when we were dairy farmers, there were many veterinarians that were a dear part of our life and a vital part of our operation for all our “creatures.”  Most people are familiar with the vet that takes care of their dogs and cats, but the ones we relied on did some real heavy lifting with the work for which we needed them.

Our cows needed all kinds of help–sometimes minor work, sometimes scheduled work and at times emergencies–and our needs for veterinarians never seemed to happen during normal business hours.

The emergencies can and did occur when our local vets had put in an over-full day, but when that phone rang and a cow or calf (or both) were in trouble, our vets hopped in their truck and came to the rescue. It is not only the sacrifices they made to serve our four-legged friends; their families made sacrifices as well.

We have been served by many amazing veterinarians over the years, but for decades our go-to veterinarian was Dr. Fred Erickson and his wife, Linda.  I speak of both of them because it takes a team to run a veterinary practice, and they made an amazing team at the Los Banos Veterinary Clinic.

They were not just a local part of the veterinary profession; they were a part of the fabric of Los Banos. They gave of their time, they gave of their treasure, they volunteered in our community and served so many people in small and large ways.

We could not have cared for our animals without the help of the Ericksons and their veterinary team, even though in an emergency my husband Dennis would always give it his best effort. In farming that involves animals, veterinarians are relied on to care for, check on and rescue animals. We will forever be grateful for the special team that helped us with ours.

I’m not sure if The Westside Express makes it to heaven, but Linda will forever be remembered by so many for her faith, her kindness and her compassion for our four-legged friends, and the two-legged ones as well.

Kirsten Areias

Kirsten Areias, who recently received the Merced Chapter California Women for Ag Bell Ringer award for promoting agriculture, writes a regular agriculture column for The Westside Express.