Right Plant, Right Person, Right Time

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Coming back from my Tuesday walk this week, my cat, Hunter, was under my car meowing away like he typically does, but his meow this time caught the attention of my friend, Donna, my routine walking partner. 

“OMG! He is bleeding! Yuck, his nose!”  She exclaimed so loud I jumped back from my door to come see.  Hunter had obtained a very bad slash of his nose and the blood was dripping profusely.  After we managed to coach him into the house, it took a struggle to get him quickly into my cat carrier.  He fought it big time and thankfully Donna was with me to get him in there.

As I called the vet on the way to the vet hospital, I told them this was my first cat emergency.  I think I was as nervous as the cat, but not in nearly as much pain.  Hunter was crying like a baby the whole way.  As soon as I arrived, we went into the examination room.  When he got out of the cat carrier, he moved very slowly with lots of hesitation and, he stopped meowing.  He jumped off the table and checked out the vet’s examination room like he always does upon a vet visit.  The blood stopped dripping from his nose, and then he cuddled next to my thigh as we both sat, waiting calmly for the vet, Dr. Mac.

As Dr. Mac entered the room, Hunter immediately went into a cat growl.  (How does Hunter know he’s the vet?  Geez, he has only met him twice before during routine checkups!)  After a look by Dr. Mac and his assistant, off Hunter went into surgery.  Everything was handled quickly and efficiently with lots of reassurance that Hunter will be okay.  I returned home.

As I drove back to my house, I started considering, what plant can I give the vet as a thank you?  I mean, the vet and staff at the hospital do more than just tend to animals’ routine needs and unexpected injuries, they love animals wholeheartedly – probably more than we do.  After all, they studied this stuff and are heroes in situations like this.  I had this overwhelming sense of wanting to express how much it meant to me, and Hunter, that they were readily available and capable to take care of his nasty injury. 

I got out of my car at home and browsed my plant stock, I started thinking about what type of plant Dr. Mac may like…, hmmm, I’ve met him a few times before during my routine cats’ check-ups.  Dr. Mac is male, loves to share stories about his cats and dogs, and is all around nice guy.  He has a very nice and gentle demeanor.  Sometimes during my prior visits, we can’t stop sharing stories about cats, his dogs, and wildlife in general.  So I considered his personality some more.  And then I thought, I bet he would go for one of my unusual hot pepper plants or my red banana plants.  But truly, I didn’t know if he was a plant guy at all.  A plain old typical perennial would not do however, I knew that by instinct.  And something like a veggie with a unusual fruit, even if you are not a plant person, is interesting – plus edible, for those that like it hot.

I looked over my remaining ‘Comstock’s Purple’ pepper plants in stock.  This pepper is cool because the peppers are black and upright with their tips facing the sky as they grow.  The peppers are not only non-typical looking, at least I’ve never seen them in garden centers, they are hot tasting.  A cross of the Tasmanian and Jwalal peppers, they gives off a heat rating of about the same as cayenne peppers.  I grabbed one that had many little purple blooms and at least 3 black peppers growing on it.  This is a good conversation piece even if you aren’t into plants, I thought.

Comstock Purple

Shiny Hot Black Pepper

About 3 hours later, I received the call that Hunter’s nose injury was worse than anticipated but he looks fine now.

“What can I do to thank you, Dr. Mac?” I asked. He replied; keep him indoors with his protective covering on his head while he heals so our good work will succeed.  I promised him I would. 

Well, you cannot imagine the reaction of the staff at the desk upon my return trip as I walked in with my pepper plant in hand.  A card attached, burlap wrapped around the pot, and the plant standing sturdy, upright and showing off black shiny peppers.  One of the other veterinarians happened to be in the entrance area as well, and she said, “Wow, is that for Dr. Mac?  He is going to LOVE that!”    

It was amazing to me to see everyone’s reactions.   Dr. Mac, turns out, is a veggie lover. This plant, and the fact it was presented with appreciation for their efforts, was a burst of happiness to their day.  Other staff members came out to check out the black peppers, and each kept repeating how much he would really like this.  Unfortunately, Dr. Mac was with another pet patient so I couldn’t speak with him yet, but I said I’d see them in a week and to please warn Dr. Mac of the hotness of this pepper in particular.

This was a perfect case of “Right Plant, Right Person, and Right Time.”  Sometimes in the gardening world, it is not only “Right Plant, Right Place”…It is more.  It is selecting the right plant to the right person and delivering at the “right time.”  When that happens, magic happens for plant lovers in particular — or those “becoming plant lovers.”

For me, despite the unexplained horrible injury to Hunter, we got lucky that day.  Donna helped me to get Hunter into the carrier, Dr. Mac saved my kitty’s nose, and I got to share a plant as a token of appreciation with more than just Dr. Mac, but with his whole office staff. 

Hunter Awaits

Hunter views Outside

And as for Hunter, now into his second day recovering, he is starting to complain that he can’t go outside, pacing the floor until he gives up and takes another nap. 

I’m keeping my promise to keep him safe.  “No outdoors for you for a while until you’re thoroughly back to normal, Hunter!”…And as for me, I hope to keep matching plants to people, especially in times of need. 🙂

To meet Dr. Mac:  visit:  http://www.vcahospitals.com/valley/our-team/veterinarians.html

Cathy T

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