It was while I was in the Navy, sitting in a gun tub on a ship in the South Pacific, the USS Cape Esperance T-CVE88—sitting there thinking, and I decided that day I’d become a veterinarian when I got out and I would treat horses.
I was discharged from the United
States Navy in 1955 and spent one semester at Joplin Junior College,
beginning in the fall of 1956. I took 15 hours and entered the
University of Missouri in January 1957.
The Lord visited
me August 1, 1958 as I was finishing the rotating of the tires on my
automobile. The Spirit of God fell upon me and it scared the daylights
out of me. He said, "I don't want you to be a veterinarian, I want you to be a minister of the gospel." I started praying, “Oh God, don’t send me to hell, oh God, don’t send me to hell, oh God, don’t send me to hell.” My spirit knew where I was headed if I didn’t turn around.
didn’t heed to the Lord’s presence or His words, and went ahead,
entering the University’s veterinary program in September, 1958. There
were at least twelve who had applied with masters degrees and a bunch
with three years, but only six with as few hours as mine. I was
interviewed by five board members, and my interview lasted eight
minutes, when most were thirty minutes. When I walked out I said, “I am either in or out, I don’t know which.” The five board members voted unanimously in my favor.
Davidsons were horsemen, they had draft horses and built roads. The
Millers, my great-grandfather was a cavalryman in the Civil War. He went
in as a private and four years later, mustered out as a sergeant. It is
a dangerous job riding a horse with a saber and a rifle. I grew up with
that background and that was my desire, to be a veterinarian, an equine
practitioner. Before my interview with the board, I was told, “Don’t you tell the board that, because they won’t like it,” but I’m not a liar, I couldn’t lie. They asked me, “What do you think you will do Mr. Davidson when you graduate?” I said “Well, gentlemen, no one knows what they will do for sure, lives change directions,” and I knew that, I was 26, I had been around long enough to understand that and I said, “But if it works out for me, I want to be an equine practitioner.”
my third and fourth year of veterinary school, my friend Bill Green,
who is now in heaven, and I bought houses on the campus and wrecked
them. We also bought one in Jefferson City and moved it; and set it on
the basement we had dug and poured the concrete, and I thought “Man we need to sell this place before we fix it up.”
A guy walked up and said, “Would you all consider selling the property, the house?”
“Yes,” I said, “you want to buy it?” Bill almost died.
We talked about what it would cost, the guy made an offer and I said, “Well, let us consider it.”
Bill had made me the spokesman, however when he and I discussed it privately, he wasn’t so easy.
He said, “Look if we keep this, brick it and do this we can make this, this and this.”
But I persuaded him, “Bill if we sell it now, we can make this and we don’t even have to work, we’ll go to the next project.”
we bought a truck with a 16' bed and put a stock rack on it; we built a
rack over the cab and it would hold 242 bales of hay. We started buying
hay in Iowa and selling it.
During my fourth year (senior
year), I had a classmate who was a B52 co-pilot in Vietnam, his name
was Tony Reynolds and he came to me and said, “Doyle I’ve been thinking about something.”
know you plan on being an equine man, and I want to treat some horses
and I’m not really fond of the anesthetics that are available today for
the equine. What do you think?”
“Would you ask Dr. Ebert, about perhaps you and I doing some inhalation anesthesia on a horse?”
Cylinder Gas Company, Chicago, Illinois had sent an equine anesthesia
machine to the University of Missouri and it had set there for a year
and nobody would touch it—they didn’t know what to do with it. Tony and I
talked and I said, “Come on let’s do this. Let’s talk to Dr. Ebert.”
talked to Dr. Ebert and told him what we wanted to do and asked him
about going to the University of Missouri Medical Center and purchasing
some halothane, which was a human anesthesia and also sodium pentothal,
which we did not use in animals, basically because it was too expensive.
We followed through on all of that, and by the time we finished, we
ended up anesthetizing a total of twenty-six horses. The day we laid our
first horse down with anesthetic, thirteen professors stood and
watched. They were not happy two students were doing this.
The following spring, a draft horse stallion needed surgery; he weighed about 1600 pounds. Dr. Ebert came to me and said, “Doyle, I’ve got to do surgery on this horse, would you give the anesthetic?” I said, “Sure.”
I thought out all the things that I should do if the horse stopped
breathing. If you’re smart, you don’t wait until you’ve jumped off a
bridge to find out you don’t have a parachute. So I considered every
scenario, “If that horse stops breathing for this reason or that reason, and so forth, this is what I’m going to do.” Sure enough, he did. I was calm, like I normally am—got him back breathing in a little bit and Dr. Ebert said, “Doyle--lost a little air, huh?” I said, “Yeh, I think so.” We
got the horse off the table and sent him home well. By that time I had
offended a lot of professors. Later Tony and I received a letter that
stated that we had anesthetized the largest horse known to have been put
under inhalant anesthesia in the United States.
graduated from the University, and made arrangements to move to
Tennessee. My wife Patti was not happy and her mother wasn’t happy that
Patti lived so far away. Even when we were 5000 miles away in Japan she
wanted to control her. When I got out of the Navy her mother said, “What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to the university.”
“You’re going to college?”
“With a wife and daughter?”
was mad; I thought it was none of her business. So my mother-in-law and
I endured one another ever after, but she lived to be ninety-six and
she was saved and went to heaven.
While we were in Tennessee, Pat was sick and I said, “This is not worth it.”
I thought some of her sickness was absolutely a put-on, I called it
psychosomatic and it may have been. But it was God—God wanted me to come
to Texas and that’s what I did. I went to work for Derryberry-King for
eleven and a half months.
George Jackson my brother-in-law called me when I was a fourth year student, I was in Chicago that summer and he said, “What would you think if I became a veterinarian?” I said, “What?” he was a funeral director. His grandfather owned a funeral home and I said “Are you kidding?” He said, “No.” I said, “Well if you want to be a veterinarian, come on over, I’ll tell them I know you.” He did. He began the year I graduated.
bought 3½ acres of land north of McKinney after I’d been with
Derryberry-King for 10 ½ months and opened my own practice. I had been
invited to Texas by C Bar Ranches, (Carl Miles and Harvey Fruehauf) and
given their equine work which consisted of 300 brood mares and six
stallions. Carl Miles had ulterior motives; he wanted me to move to
Abilene; he would build me a hospital and research center. He had heard
about my work at University of Missouri and he wanted to do equine
research and wanted me to direct the racing division of C Bar Ranches. I
spent about five to six hours talking to him July 4th, 1963 and I said,
“Carl, you and I are good friends, if you and I worked together we
would be enemies quickly because I don’t agree with what you’re doing.” A few years later, in 1970, in my presence he said, “It cost me three million dollars to find out Dr. Davidson was right.” I said, “Well, wish you’'d have given it to me.” I had a lot of fun with my clients, I liked them, they liked me.
went to Florida when he graduated, working for Dr. M.B. Teigland and
Dr. Mow at Turnpike Animal Clinic in Opa Locka, Florida, both well known
track veterinarians. I had a good reputation in Texas with brood mares,
managing several breeding programs, and my reputation spread fast and
Dr. Jackson helped, talking to Dr. Teigland.
was the veterinarian for a wealthy man from New York. He owned a lot of
race horses, some of the top, the very best in the country. He began a
broodmare operation in Boca Raton, Florida. It was built in a quadrangle
of four separate buildings, each housing 50 thoroughbred brood mares.
The last time I saw Dr. Teigland, he was interviewed on NBC News, the
lead veterinarian on the team that tried to save Ruffian when she broke
her leg in a match race at Belmont Park in 1975.
Teigland was looking for a veterinarian for the Boca Raton broodmare
operation and he asked George Jackson to call me. I flew to Florida,
taking Patti and Kathy with me and spent a few days there. As I walked
down the shedrow at a racetrack with Dr. Mow, he told me the horse
sticking his head out of his stall was Kelso, probably one of the
greatest geldings that ever ran, owned by Miss Dupont.
spent a day with Dr. Teigland and rode with him 200 miles north to
Ocala. We had a lot of time to talk about the operation at Boca Raton
and my practice in Texas, plus he also had a surgery to perform. He was
doing a stifle surgery that Dr. Ebert had developed and I realized as I
watched that he was not familiar with the procedure. I asked him, “Dr. Teigland, may I show you how Dr. Ebert did this?”
When I finished, he said, “Thank you.”
On the trip back I was hired as a broodmare man. I had quite a bit of
success with lameness issues in horses but I did want that job with Dr.
Teigland in Boca Raton. I was four years out of veterinary school,
thirty-four years old and it was a great opportunity that had the
potential to develop into a partnership.
I share all of
this because I want you to know about Doyle. I knew Jesus, I knew a lot
about him from the time I met him when I was almost six years old, but I
wasn’t going to tell anyone. As far as I was concerned I had my private
Jesus and I talked—we talked—when I needed to, and I always had peace. I
remember when I left Tennessee and I thought I maybe ought to go to St.
Louis. I drove there to check it out and the Lord talked to me, “It’s not right.” Driving
the 250 miles back to Sarcoxie, I knew Texas was the place I should go.
I took the Texas State Boards in January and was notified I had passed
them in February.
When I came back from Florida after meeting with Dr. Teigland, I talked to the Lord. I said, “Lord, if you want me to go to Florida, you’re going to have to sell this property.” I gave him two weeks and it didn’t sell. Reluctantly, I called Dr. Teigland and I said, “I’m sorry, I cannot take that job.” He understood. A year later, I was standing in the house on that same 3½ acres and a man walked up and said, “Would you sell this property?”
“Would you sell this property?”
“Yes.” I never had anything I wouldn’t sell. So we talked, he said, “How Much?” We talked, we agreed, he said, “When would you sell it?”
“When do you want to buy it?”
“Soon as I can get the money here from El Paso.”
“Yes, may I use your phone?”
called the bank in El Paso and asked them to wire money to a bank in
McKinney, Texas to be in escrow, to be paid with the transfer of the
property. Now I was out, when I wanted out a year before, I couldn’t get
out, now I could get out. I had three acres on 121 that I had owned for
about three years that I could build on but I had a good friend that
owned two acres west of 75 on 380 in McKinney. I went to him and said, “Would you sell that two acres?” He said, “Doc look, I don’t want to sell that but for you, I’ll sell it.” I said, “Good.” I was selfish. I drove out to those two acres, and as I’m sitting there looking at that property I thought, “I’m going to buy this.” Immediately there was a churning in my belly, like a big black bass in the water, and a roaring, “You will not!” It scared me. I drove out 121 to my three acres and knew God was saying, “Build your hospital.”
that’s what happened. I built 121 Veterinary Hospital, knowing as I was
building it, it had to be sold, I knew it in my heart. It was a
state-of-the-art property, one of the best equine facilities in the
southwest part of the United States and God blessed it tremendously. The
job in Florida was as a broodmare/breeding program specialist, but
almost immediately after I opened my own practice and built 121, I had
clients that I managed their breeding programs and also clients with
lameness issues and they came from all over the United States and also
Canada. I was able to specialize in both areas, in my own practice, and
it was God that exalted me.
But what I knew in my heart came to pass; in 1969 God said, “Sell your hospital and practice and obey me.” I did, I had to, I knew what would happen to me if I didn’t; I would be destroyed. I have never been sorry.
Servant and apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ