Monday, November 29, 2010

Vermin, the final chapter (please, please, please let it be the final chapter!)

We got back home from turning in the rental car, we ordered pizza, and ate pumpkin pie, and prepared to put the tree up in the living room. J handed me a beer, telling me that today I had more than earned it.

I sat down on the floor with my beer and the dog, trying to make amends with her for the distressful giving of the bath. Jason was puttering around in the garage, collecting the Christmas boxes. Sophie was continuing to lick and chew all over her body. Now Sophie hates baths, and between her hatred of water, the fact that she was jumping around everywhere, and the incessant howling, my main goal in the groomer’s had been to get her to the point of not-smelling, and fast. You could say that I was single-minded. You could say I wasn’t paying attention. Now I was paying attention, because after hours of chewing, I was afraid she was going to give herself a skin rash.

As I was sitting on the floor with her, cooing my apologies and commenting her on not smelling like horse shit any longer, I noticed something. Something small, and brown and oval. It jumped—onto my hand. It was a flea.

A flea? You have got to be kidding me.

Okay, a flea was not that bad. A flea could be expected. If it was just one or two… I rolled Sophie awkwardly onto her back, and checked her stomach—where her double coat doesn’t obstruct all potential view of her skin—as she protested, due to her inability to continue her licking. There were more than two. I counted five or six. When J came back into the room, he could tell by my face that there was something terribly wrong. It was the same as the lice incident of May 2010, only in reverse.

Now, you may ask what kind of pet parent I am, yet again, but the long and the short of it is that there was no way I was going to bring Frontline, or Advantage, or anything like that into my house unless I absolutely had to. First, it’s expensive as all get out. Second, it’s poison. Third, my dog has the sensitive skin issue anyways, and the last thing we needed was to introduce something on the dog that would result in a debilitating rash and more vet bills.

Plus, she was never in a situation to pick up fleas before. We’ve never had a problem with something like this.

That evening, I made a wonderful trip to the pet store; I left the store with flea dip and carpet spray. I came back home, and J and I gave Sophie the second bath of the day.

Let’s just say that she was not a happy camper.

Then I sprayed the house and banished the children and the dog to one small room in the house for the next hour. That went well.

The next morning, we had to do it all over again, when we found even more fleas on Sophie. It was now time for the big guns.

Because Sophie is now refusing to even walk upstairs, she’s so scared of ending up in the tub once more.

The Nana (who is a responsible pet parent to Dolly the Rottweiler—who also stays at the boarder’s farm all the time and has never smelled like horse shit or had so much as a flea even look at her) told me that the best place to buy Frontline (aka cheapest) would be Lowe’s. I dropped of J at work again, and instead of putting up the Christmas tree two days after Thanksgiving, I was in full flea eradication mode. Now, instead of trying to avoid Frontline, I was trying to avoid bombing the house and then washing every single item that we own in what remained of my five day weekend.

Once at Lowe’s it took me several minutes to find the Frontline aisle. I then grabbed a ticket, paid for it, took my receipt to the customer service counter while they spent 20 minutes trying to find in the special hiding place (because there’s a big Frontline theft problem?) only to come back and report to me that they didn’t have it, after all. They would have to issue me a rain check. Which I could come back in and redeem. In two to three weeks.

I then got to yell at a manager for my refund. Which I got in cash, since it also apparently takes two to three weeks to get money back on your debit card.

Then I was on the hunt for Frontline. It was no longer about finding the cheapest place—it was about finding any place. I hit up three more stores before finding someone who had something in stock. My only assumption is that the fleas have risen up to fulfill their plans to take over the world, and only pet owners have caught onto this, since fleas’ mouths are so small that we could never hear their battle cries.

I finally found Advantage at the small pet store—which also happens to be the closest place to my house, but the one I figured would not be the place it would be found—but could not purchase it because 1)my cash refund was $2 short and 2)their credit card machine was not working. I actually had to return home, tear the house apart, and drive back to the store with my checkbook.


Have I mentioned that we are now well above the amount of money it would have taken to board Sophie in the traditional manner? Well, if you haven’t been keeping track, I think we could’ve done twice over by now.

Now, I am guessing that all of my readers are responsible people and have been able to both train their dogs to stand still and have administered Advantage or something similar before. I have not done either of these things, so I got K, and then wrestled Sophie into a place on the back patio where she couldn’t move, and squirted the stuff all down the ridge of her back.

We’ll see if it works.

In the meantime my children are keeping themselves busy running and shrieking every time poor Sophie enters a room. Ant is desperately afraid of getting fleas and being subjected to anything similar to the treatment of lice he endured earlier in the year and K is desperately afraid of the toxicity of the pesticide now settled on the ridge of Sophie’s back.

As for the tree? Still not up yet. I’m not going to plan on putting it up any time soon. In fact, I think I’ll take a nap instead.

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