Stories about the little red things that live in my house. By Graham Milldrum.
By Graham Milldrum
Ticks. The only reason they aren’t the worst pest is because fleas exist. They are obscene little creatures, just a hard shell, legs and a blood-sucking, flesh chewing maw.
We keep finding them. We went out for a walk in the prarie. Everyone had a great time. Sal was bounding around like Tigger while Biggs vanished and reappeared in the tall grass. Even Boeing was having a good time, going as far as to leave the path to sniff around. Addy, the guest dog, had a great time stealing the bottle I was throwing for Biggs.
Lurking in the dead grass, shot through with new growth, were ticks. Roughly a million of them, if my emotional response is to be believed. They seemed to be everywhere, crawling about and gnawing away. Even now my legs flinch at the thought, an atavistic response to the beasts. I pulled seven of them off myself, attempting to crush the little monsters between my fingernails.
Pulling off a new tick is a scary thing. Their legs are still running, grasping at skin and hair. Sometimes they have just started to burrow into your flesh. And there’s the fear of infection. But they pop out, taking with them just a little bit of you.
But it’s worse on the boys. It’s the fur. That unique luxurious coat is perfect for fleas. The long fur is a great place to get aboard. Then the flea starts burrowing its way through the luxurious undercoat that makes a corgi such a wonder to pet. There they hide, eating their way into the soft white and brown skin. And they suck and suck, growing larger and larger until they are massive bags of disease, filth and horror.
Bags that are almost impossible to find. The ticks weave their legs into that beautiful fur and they seem to drift through it. So it take upwards of five minutes to find the damn things again. Then it’s a painfully slow process to remove, as you don’t want to leave the head behind. You want to pull the whole thing out.
And crush it, smash it, flush it down the drain. I feel like building a pyre for them.
The new flea medication seems to be helping, but ever trip we make, no matter how much joy the dogs derive, carries with it fear. The fear that I will find one of those damn ticks on one of my boys. And that I will have to hunt it down.
Proper tick removal:
I will point out that Drs. Foster and Smith use this channel to sell their various products. However, they give excellent advice.
by Graham Milldrum
So I got a bonus from my job last month for $75 dollars. Then Biggs started limping. I’m not talking about some slight reduction in walking. I mean he couldn’t use his left front leg at all. With his newly developed hip problems, it meant he couldn’t even walk. He stumbled about the house, looking pitiful.
And there was snow. He would sit at the door looking out mournfully. He loves snow almost as much as he loves leaves. And he couldn’t play. At all.
So I took him to the vet for a checkup. It seemed to be “soft tissue damage.” That’s an all-encompassing term for sprains, ligament damage and a host of scarier injuries. We considered an X-ray, but that would only effectively show gross injuries like a fracture.
So I got an anti-inflammatory/analgesic (dog aspirin) and kept him from exercise.
Total bill? About $74.50.
Brian talking to Biggs.
By Graham Milldrum
My dog doesn’t enjoy much beyond suffering and anguish. He feasts on shock and fear like a wolverine on a dead elk.
There is one time he is happy, and that is when the leaves fall. He can burrow into piles and leap through them. His orange fur vanishes into the bright colors of the leaves and his nose pokes out like a stray branch.
Biggs turns into a dolphin through the long rows of raked leaves, twisting and vanishing in pure joy.
He reaches the pitch of excitement when you kick the leaves for him. We’ve done it since he was a puppy. The kicks vary. SOmetimes it’s a simple side-kick, like a pass in a casual soccer games. Then a massive sweep, throwing a hundred into the air for him to snap and bite.
A quick shuffle to bring him back down and a pause.
He looks, mouth open, smiling, tail stub going wildly. He’s excited and full of joie di vrie. He loves life and he loves us for playing with him.
It makes you love him back.
By Graham Milldrum
My sister decided to dress up Addy, the guest dog. By dress up, I mean “tie a small tablecloth around her.” This turned the rambunctious mutt into an allegedly well-dressed lady.
This would not stand, according to the head psychopath of the household. Mr. Biggs has a clear stance on dog clothing. A collar is all that is allowed, and he bears that with ill grace. So he was drawn to this white, pink and orange thing wrapped around Addy.
“She’s wearing a mumu!” said Brian, shortly before Biggs decided to correct this injustice.
He went for the dress, grabbing the trailing edge in his teeth.
Then he yanked backwards, eyes wide, low growl in his throat.
But this dress would not come off easily. A chunk tore away in Biggs’ mouth. He gnawed it for a moment, dropped it, went in again. Another strip and another.
Addy stood still. I don’t know if she was confused, afraid or appreciative. Not that Biggs cared. There was a mission. A mission of annhilation.
He ripped in again. Addy’s tail finally poked free.
Then another piece. Sal grabbed one end of the shard to play tug of war.
It was like blood in the water in Sharkville, Sharkistan. Biggs went insane, thrashing his head and neck to destroy the hated material. Shreds flew around the kitchen, smacking against counters and chair legs.
Sal wasn’t helping Biggs- he was a distraction. So Biggs snarled at him, snapped his teeth and finally scared the goof away.
Even as Biggs angled for another attack, my someone seized the dress. Even as it swept into the sky above Biggs’ head, he tried again.
No one will wear clothes in this house, it seems.
By Graham Milldrum
Labor Day parades are a staple of the American experience.
And the backbone of those events are the various civic groups- churches, temples, politicians, Rotarians, Masons, veterans and so on.
But a local church was the winner, based on dog appeal.
Sure, the state representative had a golden retriever in her group. And there was a very nice German Shepard out there.
But the church had three corgis. A line of laughing faces and fluffy behinds trotting along, short legs flashing beneath them.
But their walker took great pains to keep them moving. She kept them in the middle of the parade, else they would never move.
Corgis are too cute to not pet.