Monday, August 12, 2013

The Tick Story

Lily looking annoyed I took her picture : )
See this sweet (if slightly annoyed-looking) girl? This is my first poodle, Lily. Lily is currently 13 years old and lives with my parents. The life of a girl transitioning from college to the real world did not agree with Lily, so my mom has taken custody. I've had many adventures growing up with Lily, but the only one I remember with horror is the time she gave me ticks.

My family moved from Houston to San Antonio right before I entered college. When we first moved to the area, we had no idea where to board Lily when we went away on vacation. Fortunately, there was a huge billboard advertising a boarding place right down the interstate from where we lived. It was a little more rustic than we were used to, but everything in San Antonio is much more rustic than Houston. That's what we liked about our new home. So we made Lily an appointment and dropped her off.

Now this boarding place had an outdoor and an indoor facility. Since Lily is a toy poodle, we just assumed the owners would put her in the indoor facility away from all the huge hunting dogs outside. Well, apparently you have to specify where you want your pet, because when I went to pick Lily up, she was in a concrete pen next to the rest of the dogs. She looked terrified with all the huge dogs barking around her. I was horrified.

But the horror did not stop there. The owner (a very nice man, by the way) said he would give Lily a bath before she left. Again, I imagined he would take her into the office and give her bath inside. Not so much. He pulled out a hose and started spraying her down. I couldn't believe he was bathing a small, indoor dog like the rest of the hunting dogs. Lily looked absolutely miserable. I wanted to get her out of there fast, so I didn't even wait for her to dry off. I just put her in my car. Needless to say, we never took Lily there again.

Over the next few days, Lily did not act like her usual, spunky self. She just moped around the house. I didn't think much of her lethargy because I attributed it to trauma from staying in such a rustic place. Lily is like me, we're not very good campers. We like to sleep in warm, comfy beds. In fact, Lily slept with me from the time she was potty trained until I left for college.

One morning not long after the boarding fiasco, I noticed there was a brown speck on my stomach I could not flick off. I wondered if it was a mole until I looked closer and saw legs. I started screaming of course. My mom ran into the bathroom and I showed her the bug attached to my skin. She said it was a tick and showed me how to get if off with tweezers. Afterwards, I started to think perhaps Lily's behavior was because she had ticks as well. Sure enough, after I combed through her fur, I found three ticks. I also found another one on the back of my arm.

An article I found online said to put the ticks in a glass of water after extraction to kill them and then freeze them in a plastic baggie until you can take them to a vet to test for Lyme disease. After I removed Lily's ticks, I noticed one of them had made a life boat out of another in the glass of water. That evil punk had enough intelligence to kill another to save itself. To say I was horrified is a complete understatement.

Fortunately, after the ticks were gone, Lily perked right back up and had no lasting negative effects. The ticks were also negative for Lyme disease. Apparently, Lyme disease is not very prevalent in our part of the country, a fact which made me feel very grateful. While ticks do not inspire the same terror in me as cockroaches, I never want to have another Tick Story!

1 comment:

Thank you for sharing your story!