Mind Over Miller: Discovery of a natural fertilizer
Our main street, Thousand Oaks Boulevard, was so named—like our town—because its narrow, two-lane winding course was lined with magnificent old oak trees.
Today, some of those trees are quite large, but, curiously, others are quite stunted—a fraction of the size of others. For decades I have wondered how the same trees, all planted at the same time and getting the same amount of water in the same environment, could differ so profoundly.
I mean, some of the trunks are a foot and a half in diameter, while others nearby are only a couple of inches thick. For even greater contrast, a 200-year-old oak, one of the largest on the street, is right in front of our hospital; a tree only yards away is a spindly pathetic thing. It's like the difference between a year-old Saint Bernard and a year-old Chihuahua.
The other day, while I was driving past the Conejo Valley Veterinary Hospital, the explanation became clear. Fifty years of perplexity was solved in an instant.
The parking lot was full. One client was returning to his car carrying a cat cage. Another was leading a golden retriever to the front door. They stopped by one of the oak trees. One of the big trees. The dog urinated on that tree. It was closer to the front door than the little tree!
At last! A diagnosis!
Robert M. Miller, DVM, is an author and a cartoonist, speaker and Veterinary Medicine Practitioner Advisory Board member. His thoughts in "Mind Over Miller" are drawn from 32 years as a mixed-animal practitioner. Visit his website at http://robertmmiller.com/.