Tuesday, November 5, 2013

And you thought vampires flew home after Halloween

We have fleas. Well not us, personally, but our pets.

And Angus is a black Scottish terrier, so we had no idea he had fleas until the fine people at Bailey’s Grooming gave me the good (?) news at his last grooming. It went something like, “Your dog is so cute … aaaaaand he has fleas.”

This was not in the brochure, I might add.

I had visions of dog ownership a la Benji or Lassie or Old Yeller (okay, maybe not Old Yeller) and those dogs never had fleas. Had there been a “Little House on the Prairie” episode where Jack had fleas, I might have followed Ma’s lead as she vacuumed all the carpets and bug bombed the cabin. But instead we found ourselves at the mercy of the vet and Google to come up with a plan of attack.

First off, we needed to vacuum every square inch of carpet and put the vacuum bags in a sealed bag in the garage, or else the fleas will crawl back down the hose and grow into dinosaur-size flesh eating monsters. Or maybe it was that they would lay eggs. I can’t remember which, but it was nasty.

Then we had to clean all of the bedding for the dog and cat, but here’s the thing … our cat Sabrina chooses one of our beds as her own depending on the day, her mood and the temperature in the room. Yeah, she’s that kind of cat. Are there any other kinds?

So as I started the first of seven loads of laundry for the bedding, I sent the entire family and both pets out for a few hours as I sprayed the carpets, floors and upholstery throughout the entire house.

Once they were cleared for entry, I grabbed the cat to give her a flea bath. Do I even need to describe the debacle that is a bath for a cat? I didn’t think so. Let’s just say if an animal can swear using only her eyes, our cat unleashed a stream of profanity that would make a sailor cry.

One last recommendation from the vet: Give this pill to your cat. Ummm, have you met our cat?

“What are you doing?” I asked my husband as he sat on the kitchen stool, watching something on his I phone.

“I’m watching a video called ‘How to pill your cat,’” he said, not the least bit ironically.

This is what 21 years of marriage looks like, ladies and gentleman. I remember when we were dating … going out to dinner and seeing “When Harry Met Sally” at the theater. Now, we grab pizza and watch “How to pill your cat.”

My part in this process? To hold the cat while Craig “gently placed” the pill into her throat until she swallowed it.

Thankfully we had learned something from parenting two real human babies, which is why we tortilla-wrapped the cat in a blanket (claws inside the blanket – remember, I had bathed her the day before). Then Craig “gently placed” the pill in her mouth. Again with the cussing eyes (the cat, not my husband). But huzzah! The pill went down the hatch!

Another tip I learned from Google is to put on a pair of white socks and walk around your carpet the fleas will jump on like lazy hitchhikers and you can spot them instantly. Suffice it to say, I have walked a mile in our house over the last week, head down, eyes straining to spot the fleas, and I’m even starting to creep myself out.

Craig spotted me one night and asked, “Are you looking for fleas again?”

To which I replied, “Maybe.”

The battle continues, but the warriors are fierce. We will win this, just like Ma and Pa Ingalls won every battle on the prairie. I just wish I knew what brand of bug spray Ma used on the carpets. Does anyone know which episode that was?

Eileen Burmeister is a Winchester-based freelance writer. You can reach her at burmeistereileen@gmail.com or you can follow her on Twitter at EBurmeister.

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