Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Flea World

No, not the huge, charmingly tacky flea market in Sanford. We do not have a resident elephant, unless you count a fat gray cat.

Murphy has been itchy for a while, and he went to the groomer on Saturday. Groomer reported a couple of fleas, and I cursed the cheap flea product I'd bought when I ran out of the Good Stuff. I had acquired more Good Stuff, soI applied Frontline Plus as soon as he came home, and we seemed to have dealt with a few tiny annoyances. Until last night. Last night Murphy was out of control - he woke me around 2 and fussed all night, and I was mostly asleep, so I got up and let him out - he didn't have to pee - and then yelled at him all night, while struggling to get some sleep in between his fussing. I gave up around 4:30 a.m., and tried to get him to go out again. He scuttled onto the patio and sat, hunched, miserable. Then I knew something really was up, and I picked him up, put him on the bed, and examined him.

Oh my God. He was so infested with fleas. I never saw anything like this. He'll be 9 years old in March, and thanks to good flea control he has never had a problem with fleas, even in this flea-intensive state, in his entire life. I don't think he knew what a flea was until recently, and I blamed that on the cheap flea treatment I'd bought in a pinch. I thought we were done with this. I freaked. I vacuumed the room, dug up the old bottle of carpet spray I never need to use, sprayed all the soft surfaces in the house, apologized to Murphy over and over, and went to work.

Poor, poor baby. I felt like a mother who punished her child wrongly - I yelled at him all night, thinking he was just fussing to get onto the bed (we do "I want to sleep up there - no, wait, I don't!" regularly) and because he was on Frontline Plus, I figured any fleas that were bothering him before were history. I was so wrong. I'd have been out of my mind screaming if that had been crawling on me! The fleas I saw this morning were sluggish and I thought the Frontline was doing its thing, and it's not like one can call into the office and say, "I won't be in, my dog has fleas," especially in this job climate.

So tonight I came home and examined him more closely - holy shit. Located bottle of rarely used flea shampoo - because he doesn't normally get fleas - and gave him a nice long bath, let the stuff sit on him a long time. Dozens of fleas fell into the water off his 8 lb. body. He is so relieved now, he is passed out snoring.

But I'm freaked out still, and wondering what happened. I know it can take 48 hours for Frontline Plus to kill the fleas on a dog, but it's like he walked into a flea ambush last night. Or there were eggs in the house I didn't know about, and they hatched last night. I hope today's efforts took care of it. If there's a round two, I'm calling in the pros. So I didn't make it to the gym - I had more important issues.

God, the gym was awful last night - the New Year's Resolution Exercisers were out in full force. They come in pairs, sometimes in groups of three or four, and they stand around in groups chatting while one of them uses a machine, then they switch off, so they can effectively monopolize a weight machine for 45 minutes. If there are a half dozen groups like that you can't even work around them, and they ARE technically using the machines, so you can't really run them off, either. Fortunately it was just a cardio night for me, so I climbed onto an elliptical machine (they were not crowded) and watched the circus - the weight-dropping teenaged boys just screwing around, (again in pairs, and talking and laughing), and the couples, staring mooney-eyed at the other while the other does a set, and rests, and chats...repeat... The pairs of women who never break a sweat but I'm sure go home to report that they spent 90 minutes at the gym! But best of all was the bizarre woman who did not shut up. She was right next to me on the elliptical machines, and she held forth to some guy who just stood there nearby about her Dedication and her Diet Tips - she was quite chubby and her nutrition advice was bizarre, the centerpiece was a vile food combination that sounded like a perfect set-up for a Gas-X commercial. She shared all of this nonstop, in a loud, braying voice, and she Never. Shut. Up. I think the poor guy who saw her and said hello will not make that mistake again. She did keep the ET moving the entire time, slowly, so she wasn't technically standing on it talking - she was exercising, because she is very dedicated to this!

I had my earbuds plugged into the TV unit, and I tried to listen to a show and tune her out, but it was difficult. Sigh.... The funniest sight was one of the trainers - a massive, musclebound, intimidating man - walking slowly through the gym with a pained expression, like he'd just stepped in dog poop while nursing a hangover. He was having a bad day. I swear, he looked like he wanted to cry. I'm sure he can't wait until these people get bored in three weeks and quit showing up - neither can I!

Fleas and New Year Fitness People - both species of annoying creature, begone!


carlarey said...

God, fleas and New Year's Exercisers. It's a wonder you didn't flip on someone.

Fortunately Frontline kills fleas and
shin splints and pizza kill new gym memberships in short order.

Catherine said...

Oh, so true.

Jeri said...

poor Murphy.

Catherine said...

I felt SO guilty - I yelled at him to shut up all night, and then saw what he was complaining about and nearly cried. Horrible, really horror movie invasion kind of bad. Not a flea or three, but a swarm. On an 8 pound dog. He didn't want a bath. I had to trick him, and he was chagrined that I succeeded, but he's sleeping comfortably now. He must be so exhausted after 24 hours of itchy hell. Poor baby. And I could use the sleep too.

Anonymous said...

Oh so awful, poor Murph. I've had one of those flea explosions too- no idea what causes them - the right alignment of sun, moon, stars, weather and songs on the radio.

I do hope the good stuff kicks in.

Anonymous said...

Poor Murphy - but I can remember helping my mother cope with a kennel full of Pekes, in Sydney (hot, humid summers) waaaay back in the 'good old' days before Frontline Plus.

The stuff that was available back then was, to put it mildly, NASTY.
And the fleas were back before the horrible smell of the stuff faded.

And I once made the mistake of using the cheap stuff. The really funny thing is, we have 2 dogs, both Italian Greyhounds, and 99% of the fleas were on poor Harry. Which made it easier to find the little b----rs, Harry is fawn. His bedding was speckled with bloody flea shit. His skin was fiery red. Guilt, Guilt,

Gae, in Callala Bay

Jane Jensen said...

The worst is not knowing if they're still out there somewhere waiting. I'm allergic, so when my 20 pound "Bluegrass" terrier gets a batch we both suffer. The horror.

ChelleC said...

Ahhh Murphy!! God love it. I hope both you and he are all better and well rested now.

Anonymous said...

Poor wee Murphy! I hope that the Frontline finally got them ALL! Fleas are just so disgusting and, well, fast breeding!

Hope the "infestation" at the Gym clears up soon, too. So right, two pests!


Amy in StL said...

I had a problem with Frontline not working on my dog this past year. He was getting fleas from our walks three times a day, so he was constantly reinfested. I switched to a pill, Comfortis, because it kills them quicker.