As a country dweller and a pet owner sometimes things catch us off guard, especially if a certain someone botches the annual preparations. Noting the very mild Winter past and the very damp Spring we were having, my internal alarms should have been blaring loudly by April 1st. There must have been some mental malfunction because I was blissfully in another world until the plague hit. Nope, it wasnít locusts, it wasnít even bubonic, it was FLEAS!
On a hateful, steamy Sunday in late June, I noticed the cat was acting a bit strange. Our little furball normally sleeps the afternoon away due to his advanced age. However, he was scratching and yowling, in general being a pain in the butt. Since heís an exclusively indoor animal I didnít think too much of at first, but then it became bothersome. I hefted Spike into my lap to console him. Lo and behold, he had fleas, and not just a few. Well, if he had fleas, then the house had fleas, so must the dog, and the yard. It was certain that we human residents were about to be inundated like a tsunami takes a coastline.
It was as if during that instant of discovery, every flea within a 50 mile radius jumped for joy. Theyíd gotten over the barriers through the barricades to infiltrate my household. With us, itís kind of like a hurricane, you know you are at risk, yet most of the time you come off lucky. Not this time.
Every year for the last few years Iíve dutifully gone to the vetís in Spring to lay out about $80 for something called Programģ for the dog and cat. You feed it to them for any errant fleas that bite them and the little devils canít reproduce, thus they die off. We are also diligent in spraying the yard just to be sure. This year we forgot, rather I forgot. Hubby did mention it, but I passed the thought on to be on the next list. There wasnít any next list.
Theyíve been biding their time and building their arsenal for an assault roughly the magnitude of Armageddon. I reacted, but was woefully too slow on the upswing. I cleared three stores of bombs and sprays for the house, then stopped by Lowes and dropped a real bundle for the yard purification. I purchased enough pesticide to have my own personal EPA site. If it crawled or jumped, it was desiccated. This stuff even made my crabgrass crabbier. There was the afterthought of the vetís visit for the Programģ but, that didnít dent them in the least. My daughter, for the 1st time in her almost 8 years discovered that little things bite and how to look for them. One little bugger snuggled up close the first time and she didnít know what was the matter. The next thing I knew her scalp looked like a bad case of Chicken Poxóall within a matter of 3 hours. The oatmeal bath helped, then I waited to shampoo her tresses of the oatmeal until later just to give her relief.
Fleas naturally gravitate to the more warm-blooded creatures in the area. I was the victim of the very last resort. They didnít even leave me alone. The population explosion of fleas was on par with infinity. They were everywhere, those hateful little bloodsuckers. I sprayed chemicals inside my vacuum cleaner just to be sure that any I sucked up would die too. There was no crevice untouchedóeven the furnace got a mouthful of chemicals.
The porch was sprayed again and again, finally, we power sprayed it with bleach and those in that area gave up the ghost. The cat was bathed every 3 days for several weeks. Poor Spike, he cried and cried, but he always came to kiss me later because the hated baths gave him relief. That industrial sprayer, one of hubbies many toys, was powered up again and again with a whole array of killer chemicals. On the advice of a knowledgeable source, we changed up chemicals to keep the little devils off guard. The same source also begged that we call out the professionals, but hubby wouldnít hear of it. This was a personal war.
Our ankles took on the appearance of having been besieged by leeches. Hideously embarrassing to face the public with. Hubby chased us around with a lighter. If you donít know what a flash flame will do to a flea on your socks, just think of a flame-thrower with a little napalm added to the mix. It melts their legs off. They die a horrid death. It also eats the hell out of the sock elastic. Now Iíve got to buy new socks for the house.
Weeks and weeks have passed. Itís come down to a war of attrition. Of the millions and billions of little buggers biting us, we are down to about a dozenóand they are hiding in the far corner court of the yard yipping like scalded dogs. Still, I wander about vacant-eyed carrying about yet another can of flea-kill sporadically spraying and twitching at any sound.
Still, I when back to the vetís for reinforcements, Advantageģ, that stuff guaranteed to kill fleas on your pet. I just wish people and houses could take it. Within 12 hours the dog and cat were feeling mighty frisky. Having ingested enough flea spray chemical to make even the Jolly Green Giant catatonic, I react and pause every couple of feet just to make sure some distant kin of the massacre at our house didnít come for a taste of revenge and/or my blood.
Now that they seem to have retreated, at least until next year, I wonder what Iíll do with the other 17 cans of spray, four 25-pound bags of spreading chemical, and extra bottles of flea shampoo. Iím worried about keeping all that stuff here. Yesterday a bird flew over and dropped from the skyódeader than a doornail. Do you think we over did it?