The Joys of Living with Dogs

This past week and a half has been particularly interesting and a bit educational.

About a week and a half ago we took Sydney to the vet to get her teeth cleaned. She came back with beautiful pearly whites and an extra gift. We noticed that evening that she was infested with fleas. We immediately began mitigation by taking out our trusty flea combs and vigorously combing the fleas out of her coat. This was a Wednesday night. It was quickly apparent that we would need additional help. We sent an email to our vet and informed her of our situation. She was very obliging and offered to give us samples of Capstar. For those of you not familiar with the latest arsenal against fleas, Capstar is a tablet that begins killing adult fleas in 30 minutes and lasts up to six hours. We received enough for two treatments of all dogs. When treating flea infestation, you treat the infected pet and any pets in the household. So, we spent the weekend de-fleaing our home and pets. We thought we licked the problem, but Sunday night Peanut became the favorite host of the fleas.

I called the pest control company that does our yearly termite inspection and had them spray the yard. Peanut was still getting fleas even after the spraying (which later I learned was normal) and in fact, one evening we tossed her in the shower for an emergency bath. Mind you Sydney and Boxer were essentially flea free and had been for days. We had stopped the rotation of dogs to prevent further transfer from one dog to the other.

I decided to consult my friend, Google. Research taught me about the life cycle of the flea and how one must control the eggs in order to control the infestation. I had known that fleas seemed attracted to white and I learned that is because they associate white with a heat source. There’s a lot more to fleas than I will talk about here – but I decided that the flea infestation brought home from the vet was taken care of.

So, we had a new flea problem and it was in the yard. Since Peanut was the only dog now with fleas I decided to walk the yard in white socks, go to her favorite spots and see what happens. There are two areas of the yard that she particularly likes because of the opportunity for catching rats or mice. One is behind the garage. I walked around there – stopping and starting – nothing. So, I headed to her other favorite spot near the air conditioner on the east side of the house – BINGO! I walked around there and almost immediately fleas were all over my white socks – a big flea even jumped on my arm and bit me! I had located the problem area. I saturated the area with a flea spray I had bought at Home Depot. I know enough about fleas now to understand that this problem is not going to be solved quickly.

It’s kind of funny that as we deal with this problem we sometimes feel that fleas are crawling on us – but they’re not – or that every little itch must be a flea bite – but it isn’t. The mind can be a terrible thing.

Why are there fleas by the air conditioner? Rodents live nearby under the house. Peanut is always stalking and trying to capture them here. It is therefore necessary to rid this area of rodents and then deal with the fleas that are left behind. We are currently working on the rodent issue – I don’t like killing animals but given the current situation I don’t see a viable alternative.

We are also watching the dogs’ poop for tapeworms.

Another worrisome incident – last night Peanut caught a small animal over near the garage – believed to be a small mouse or rat – I saw the tail. Before I could get Peanut to drop it – she ate it. Even as I write this my stomach begins to turn over. Why she would do this when she’s fed some of the best food possible is beyond me. As I admonished her for this despicable act, she looked at me and licked her chops…mmm good! She lives a life other dogs can only dream of and she thanks us by eating a damn rodent?!

Well, the rodents must go – sorry PETA – please understand my predicament.

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