A week ago this past Saturday, we drove up to Hyattsville, Maryland to help look for Berdina, the WARL foster pit bull who’s been missing for a little over a month. Her most recent spottings have been in this area of connected parks along a river. The area’s pretty substantially wooded and overgrown with kudzu—I completely understand why she’s been difficult to spot.
Unfortunately, we didn’t find her, but we did find some pit bull sized prints (without human ones around it) near where she’s been more recently seen and posted a number of flyers. Plus they've hired a tracking dog, who picked up a fresh scent of her this past weekend around that area. Hopefully she’ll be found soon—or someone will just take her in and give her a long and happy life.
Alice came along for the walk, and she was great—she held up like a champ and enjoyed climbing in the woods. She also came home very dirty and got a bath, which she didn’t enjoy that much.
Then the next day, we attended a Blessing of the Dogs at the National City Christian Church in DC. My friend Erin (of Studs with Pugs fame), who lives nearby and is friends with one of the pastors, insisted we go. I’m so glad we did. They held it on the giant front steps of the church, and everyone was so nice. I think about 25-30 dogs were there—despite the unseasonably cool, cloudy, windy, and bad hair-inducing weather. The whole event was so sweet.
But fear not, we also got some great news that day: Tinkerbell, Oscar, and Tucker over at You Had Me at Arf gave Alice an award! Thank you so much!
And then Tuesday came. It was a work-from-home Tuesday, which Alice enjoys. She sits in the chair next to me and sleeps all day, and then begs for a treat anytime I grab something to eat. Around 4:30, I reached over to give Alice a hug and a pet, and I felt something on her neck, under her collar. I looked at it and it was a weird color—I couldn’t tell if it was a bug or some kind of growth. For a good hour, I wrestled with her to let me see what it was, then finally pinned her down and took tweezers to it. I figured if it was something, um, belonging to her, she’d cry and I’d know.
As much as I’m not a fan of growths, I’m wishing it was.
In short, it was some sort of tick. Anyone that knows me knows about my all-consuming fear of ticks. I can’t handle them. And this one not only had lots of legs and pincers, it was on my freaking dog! And my freaking dog was on my bed! In my house! On this planet! I was so grossed out, I almost threw up. Instead, I stuck the tick in a small Ziploc bag with hydrogen peroxide (for identification when The Human Male—who’s from Tickville, USA—got home) because I didn’t have alcohol, and then stuck that bag in a bigger plastic bag. I almost taped it shut with packaging tape, but I decided that I needed to try and control the crazy a wee bit. Then I sat the bag by my work computer and tried to focus on writing an article while keeping an eye on it, all the while praying that The Human Male would come home soon.
I cannot possibly stress how gross the thing was. I’m getting nauseous just writing about it. When I pulled it off of her, it seriously gave me the finger. What’s even more gross is that I carried it into the kitchen to put it in the baggie, and it climbed its way out of the tweezer grip and fell on the floor under the refrigerator. I had to brush it out of there (but only after stripping down and shaking off Alice to make sure it didn’t fall on one of us), and I swear it was on its cell phone, calling for back-up as I put it in the bag.
The worst part? THE THING WOULDN’T DIE IN THE HYDROGEN PEROXIDE. It sat in there, doing the backstroke, like my double-bagged containment unit was the perfect location for his little tick-infested Pool Party.
I was able to keep it together until The Human Male got home, at which point I shook the bag at him, started crying, and demanded he call and get a vet appointment. Which, after he finally stopped laughing, he did. They said not to worry, just feel the spot for swelling and watch her for lethargy, and that they’d check her out this week.
Once I was assured that Alice probably won’t die, I squished the thing in the bag and had The Human Male throw it down a garbage chute on the opposite side of the building.
I should probably note that Alice thought all of this was great fun.
I don’t know where she picked up the thing. I’d think it was Saturday, but we gave her a bath and felt her up then—I just feel like we would’ve notice this sumo tick. But I hope it was, because if she picked that thing up running around our neighborhood, I’m moving.
Save for Alice's big book news, the rest of the week was fortunately pretty quiet, giving me time to recover from tick trauma. We ate outside at practically every restaurant in our neighborhood, and ended the long weekend with a trip to Founder's Park in Old Town Alexandria, my favorite place in the area.
I think she had a good time.