Wednesday, January 14, 2009

and the fleas won...

So, I drove to work this morning thinking about how little I had on my plate there, and how much I have on my other plate at home, and halfway to work, I said to myself: "Self? WTF, take a few hours off and get caught up." Pond filter needed cleaning - we have very cold temps coming and water should be flowing freely - and dog was finally able to have another flea bath. The flea shampoo should only be used once a week, which meant days 2 through 6 were a living hell. So I left work early and took care of business.

Pond filter cleaning was uneventful. I moved on to dog washing.


Next task - Murphy bath. I had been combing and removing fleas from the wee dog all week, spraying and vacuuming house, doing all I could manually, to rid the environment of fleas. A week had passed, and it was safe to bathe him with flea shampoo again.

I am still drinking wine and trying to forget the mental picture of this bath. After all my flea fighting, he had more fleas than ever. And when I put the flea shampoo on his body, the fleas all ran to his tiny head. I saw them on the top of his head and went to work removing them, all the time worried about the shampoo getting into his eyes. I am not talking about a dozen fleas here - think dozens. Countless fleas. On a tiny Yorkie head, no bigger than a cat's. He stood with his back to me and his head down, utterly miserable. And then I turned him around to see his face.

I will have nightmares about the sight. His tiny face was covered in fleas - they were on his eyelids, they lined his little nose, it was beyond belief. He looked so frightened and miserable. I wanted to scream and burst into tears, but I'm all he has, so I started methodically, delicately working on his face, until it was flea free. Altogether, the bath took an hour. My back is aching fiercely.

As soon as I was done, I called the pest control company - I can't be here until Saturday, but Saturday morning, the cats must go to the vet for a professional flea bath (I expect to be charged a hazardous duty fee for Higgins) and the pest guy will come treat the house. Murphy and I will spend 4 hours out of the house - I'm trying to figure out where we will go - it will be cold, and I can't bring a dog to hang out at Starbucks. This will be interesting.

The only good part of this gross story is that the weather is cooperating nicely on our behalf - we are going down into the 30s not for a brief moment, but for a few nights in a row. It hasn't done this in years. I'm hoping that will put a dent in the outdoor flea population as bug guy takes out the indoor crowd, and we can start fresh.

So, while ordinarily I'd be cursing a freeze for killing my plants, this time I'm rooting for COLD. Bring it on.


caroline said...

when it gets to a certain point, there's nothing else you can do... good luck with it all. Hugs to the BD for being such a brave boy. maybe girlchild's apt? for a few hours?

Catherine said...

I don't want to either spread the problem there, or pick up fresh fleas from a new neighborhood. I think Murphy and I will have to go for a drive/walk/drive/walk for a few hours. We could go check on the other house - that would kill the hours.

Jeri said...

I'm glad you came to this decision - its time to get the big guns out. Are you sure Mr. Murphy doesn't need to be dipped at the vet? You're right about the cold weather... Good luck... may the force be with you!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you've called in the big guns too. I don't think I could stand reading about poor Murph and you suffering any more. Best of luck.

Catherine said...

I'm going to talk to the vet's office today - but it dawned on me that we may not be able to do it on Saturday, because I don't think they does stuff like flea baths on Saturday. So it may not happen until Monday, when I'm off. Meanwhile, I'm cheering for the cold weather that will help reduce the outdoor flea population.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure they really ARE fleas?

Sounds like the invasion of the body snatchers, and it's poor little Murphy they are hell-bent on snatching.

The worst thing I ever saw was a Peke brood bitch and her week old puppies almost invisible under the fleas. Extreme quarantine measures were instituted after THAT visit.
That was back in the early 1950's.
You literally could not use the flea stuff available then on nursing bitches or their puppies.

Gae, in Callala Bay

Martha said...

Miz C,

What a pain in the arse! Fleas are the worst. I am convinced that when all is said & done, what will survive will be fleas, roaches & Hollywood stars w/ lots & lots of Botox ^ .. ^

One challenge with a flea problem is worms: dogs & cats can have them as a result of chewing themselves when they itch. Am sure your vet office will mention that.

Fingers & dew claws crossed for all the fleas to go bye-bye!


zippiknits said...

I hope you got that hard cold weather. And the flea people really get those suckers. Poor little Murphy, and Higgins and Boris and you. It's unbelievable, as you say. Mind boggling amounts of fleas.