Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hard to believe, but there REALLY is a downside to summertime!

"Oh, please, please, PLEEEZE can we go with?" 

"Yes, YES!  We promise we'll be good!"
These were the expressions my husband had to face first thing this morning.  He (and our daughter, who was visiting for the day) was scheduled to do a site visit on a farm about an hour and a half's drive from where we live.  As they were to be meeting with both the owner of the farm and the developer, it had been decided it would be best to leave the dogs at home with me for the morning.  

Please click on the read more link below to continue this post...

As you can see, we do not always manage to have the final word on these matters.  Bonny and Toby turned on their most impassioned pleas and, against wiser judgement, we succumbed.  Tell me, would YOU have the heart to turn them down?!

It was, however, agreed Heathcliff would remain with me.  He and Toby excite each other a bit much and the two Sheps, when on their own, never give a moment's trouble.  They truly turn on their angelic sides - knowing that if they do, they'll always be welcome.

"Don't imagine I'M too pleased with this  You'd better make it worth my while to keep you'll have to spend lots of time in the garden with me!"

Ok, so now you all know how our morning started.  I stayed true to my promise to spend time with Heathcliff.  I threw the ball for him to catch and chase and after he'd got himself quite worn out, he did what he usually does on a hot day and jumped into the pool to cool down.  

I used the opportunity to quickly pop inside to fetch my camera, so I could take a few more pictures to add to my growing collection and, as far as I was concerned, everyone was happily getting on with their day.

Later, much later, my daughter phoned to tell me they were heading back home after a successful morning and could I please switch on the oven to heat some homestyle meatpies they'd bought for our lunch and would I also make a salad to have with them. 

"No problem," said I, happily.  It was only then that my daughter, in her most diplomatic way, dropped the bombshell.

"Just so you know, Mom, Dad got covered in ticks.  I pulled off several and so for sure the dogs will have picked up plenty, too!  I know you're going to have a good rant, at this...consider yourself warned.  This gives you plenty of time to adjust to the idea before we get back.  We'll stop off at the Pet Shop en route home and buy plenty of necessary prophylactics.  Don't worry!"

Ok, so I guess YOU were wondering what the downside of summertime could possibly be.  Bet you thought I was crazy even suggesting there could be a downside at all.  Unfortunately, in THIS house, there is.  It comes wrapped up in bloated tick bodies that attach themselves to our dogs.  There is no way around this, short of keeping the dogs at home - this makes them unhappy, as they absolutely live for their outings.

Naturally, they are bathed regularly (we try to do it weekly during summer, obviously a lot less frequently in winter) and they are on Advantix (mostly, provided we remember!).  We buy tick collars for them and try to avoid taking them to tick infested places. However, there is no single, infallible method of protection against these devillish creatures - I cannot, for the life of me, guess what useful purpose ticks serve in the whole scheme of things, but I suppose there must be something!  To me, they are a blight, a red flag to my protectiveness and a surefire way to unleash my raging side.  Today is no exception.

I have been practising every ounce of self-control as, realistically, I know no one is a fault here.  The dogs had a great outing, my poor husband had a job to do.  All we can logically do is hot wash all his clothes, dunk him under the shower (thankfully he's not endowed with as much hair as the dogs!) and then roll up our sleeves, run the dogs' bath with hot, sudsy water, soak them & lather them thoroughly, towel them dry and then hope that if any tick survives, it won't be carrying any nasty bacterium (or is it viral?).

Anyway, that's what we've done and there's nothing else we can do, other than hope everyone escaped, unharmed (that of course excludes the ticks - I hope they died a horrible death by drowning!).

The happy ending to the tale is, of course, having three delightfully clean, deliciously sweet-smelling dogs (Yes, even though he stayed home with me, Heathcliff also had his turn in the tub!).  I'll take a couple of pictures of the three of them, tomorrow - it's too cloudy outdoors, now.  

I've found a new Pet shampoo - it has a wonderful fragrance and I bought the spray on aftercare (matching fragrance) as well, so I guess all the fuss was worth it, to try out the new smell ;)  The sweetly fragrant pooches are all perfectly contented, having a lazy, late afternoon sure is a dog's life!

My husband and I, on the other hand, feel totally bushed after all this unscheduled activity.  Bathing two large (and one little) dogs is strenuous work at our age.  Then, when we're done we still have to tidy up afterwards, wash all the towels and have a bath ourselves, as we get covered from head to toe in dog hair and shampoo, not to mention the exertion that goes with keeping Toby off Heathcliff and vice versa - they cannot resist muscling in while it's the other ones turn to get all the attention.  To them, it's all a tremendously fun game of wrestling and tug-of-war.  To us, it's nothing short of...exhausting! 

I'm off to have some tea, now!  I deserve it!  

But, I can't resist ending with this quote...suits my play on the word tick and, in any case, the sentiment is so very true...

Life is like a taxi. The meter just keeps a-ticking
whether you are getting somewhere or just standing still.
~ Lou Erickson ~

This little stone tortoise lives outside our front door and is clearly going nowhere - he looks resigned to his fate!

 Have a wonderful day!


  1. Ugh! Ticks! We have them here in the U.S. too, and because my previous garden was right next to a protected wetland, we used to get them in our garden too. I once came indoors after a day of weeding, and found one tickling me down in my bra! Lots of frantic hopping and screaming went on after that discovery!

    I can commiserate on having them on your pets too, I used to have two outdoor cats, and they would bring the nasty things into the house. Here in this country we have Lyme disease, which is carried by deer ticks, which are tiny and hard to spot.

  2. It does sound like you had quite the eventful day. I get tired just bathing our one little dog and the mess she makes. I hope you got rid of any ticks that hopped on for a ride. Hopefully tomorrow will be a more relaxing day for you.

  3. Alison:

    I can just imagine!

    I have read about Lyme disease and how very serious its consequences are.


    Keeps us young, I guess ;)

  4. Ticks are my worst!! They are the creepiest of crawlies and so disgusting! Hope your beautiful doggies are tick-free and fancy-free! Gorgeous pictures as usual!

  5. Agree with you 100%, Linda. So far, the dogs seem to be tick free - now we have to try to keep them that way all summer long :)


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