The doggie doctor
Mimi Spender was born and raised with animals. The family cat was born on her birthday – October 13 – and her father kept two pure-bred, hot-blooded Irish Setters for duck hunting season. On page five of the family album a newspaper clipping, headed: "Dog Saves Woman from Burning House" sported a photograph of Mimi's grandmother with her arm around her pet German Shepherd. Not to mention the notorious woman, Aunt Celia, who raised and trained racing horses.
With a family tree that was partial to animals, nobody raised an eyebrow when Mimi, against anti-feminine odds, made up her mind to become a veterinarian.
At the age of nineteen she entered the University of California at Davis in the school of Veterinary Science, an unexpectedly unique field for a girl of Mimi's equally unique physical stature.
A tall, chestnut haired girl with locks that had never been clipped, Mimi Spender was a traffic-stopper. Lanky and limber, her body moved in rhythm to the sway and jounce of her thick, waist-length hair that in the sunlight shimmered with red highlights. A modest smile and apple cheeks accented a perky up-turned nose and freckles that disappeared with her golden summer tan. Shy and unassuming by nature, her eyes, the color of swimming pools, twinkled with a suspicion-raising non-chalance.
Her agility was near to animalistic. Mimi could ride and train horses as well as any six-shooting, gun-toting Zane Grey character. Maybe it was this potentially ego-deflating quality of her's that put men off. Men (… or boys, really) seemed to be afraid of her. A girl in veterinary school? Had to be something weird about her!
But that was not to say that Mimi didn't need sex as much as any healthy female. These days her love life seemed doomed to emptiness, and that disturbed her greatly. Men and money… those seemed to be her two pitfalls.
The end of her freshman year found her with no boy friend and a high B average, just a fraction away from the 4.0 requirement to renew her scholarship. For two weeks she fell into deep depression, wondering how a young woman as herself could extricate herself from this sticky spider-web of rotten luck. Her defensive female instincts told her that Dr. Osborn ('Horse-Face') as he was called) had slighted her with a C because she was a woman – the only woman in his freshman agronomy course. Playing the weak female didn't change his mind, and playing the strong liberated one put him off worse. He "… didn't want to hear about it," claiming he had serious students to consider, and he could only give out so many A's and B's, and whoever got stuck on the low point of the Bell-shaped curve was just that… stuck.
What to do? Her parents, poor farmers, couldn't afford to pay her tuition and room and board, too. Job hunting was fruitless; this was the depression and there weren't jobs even for married men with families. Who would hire a college girl planning to go back to school in three months? Except for her part-time come-and-go as-you-please job at the university farms a mile and a half out off campus, she had no income.
The answer… or so it seemed to be at the time… came unexpected when she was exercising in the university corrals a horse, Pansy, who was recuperating from a cyst operation. On that late June afternoon she'd noticed a man leaning against the wooden gate, elbows braced on the post, watching her intently. Mimi had noticed that beside him was a tripod and a very expensive looking camera attached to it, and he was focusing on her. Feeling it her duty to watch the grounds, she'd drawn Pansy to a halt and inquired what he wanted. This was not a farm open to the public, she curtly informed him.
Apologetically, he introduced himself as John Dobkins, a photographer who wanted to take photographs of her with the horses. Vignettes… a pretty girl feeding the horses, brushing their coats, leaning against a pitchfork in pristine, countrified style. She dismissed the idea with a shoo of the hand, wondering what kind of flaky character would want to take photographs of her.