HIGHGATE — Not too far off the beaten path, and not much farther up a rolling dirt road here, lives a man who plays an important role in your daily life — if you ever drink milk, eat cheese, enjoy ice cream or taste any dairy product at all.

They call him Dan the Hoof Man.

He was born Dan Rainville. He runs Dan’s Hoof Trimming. He trims hooves, specifically the hooves of cows.

“You get it balanced,” he explained. “Get your angles right.”

Rainville said hoof-trimmers trim cows’ hooves twice a year at most farms, using equipment that comfortably holds the cow in place so it can’t hurt the trimmer, or itself. Rainville said he’s suffered broken fingers in his time. And he pointed out that hoof-trimming made the Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs series.

A cow without regularly trimmed hooves, Rainville said, is like a human walking with rocks in their shoes. “It becomes painful,” he said, and pain is just the first step. Next come sores. A sole ulcer. White line disease.

For more on Dan and his upcoming appearance at Franklin County Field Days, see Thursday’s Messenger or subscribe to our digital edition.