I have recently realized that being single and owning a dog would be an entirely different experience than being married and owning a dog. When you're married and you own a dog, you can just make your significant other do all the things you don't want to do. It's great. It's also very character-building...for the other person, that is. Your unlucky partner can pick up after the dog, give him baths, take him outside in inclement weather (or just all the time, if you're super lazy like me) lint roll the car interior, brush the dog, the list is totally endless, as my dear Derek can attest to. I just figure that my big strong manly husband is looking for ways to rescue me from the dragons of gross stuff and inconvenience. (For example, Derek kills all the insects in our house. If I shriek for him from the other room, he comes running and proceeds to slay said minuscule beast. If he's not home I just pop a cup over the sentenced individual and leave it to await its doom until hubby comes home.)
Of course, all of this doing-nothing-and-making-your-husband-do-everything can have its downsides. Your husband can actually start to believe that you can't do any of this stuff (when really you're just being nice and pandering to his macho self-image, but whatever :). Case in point, the other day I was going to go for a walk with my mother-in-law, Marion, and I said to Derek, "I'm taking Linus." Derek stopped what he was doing and gave me an unflatteringly nervous look. "Are you sure?" he said. That's right. My husband thought I was incapable of walking my own dog. So of course I ranted at him and complained to Marion and off she, the dog, and I went. And we were fine. I mean, maybe I did let him off leash on a no-off-leash path, because he was pulling on my arm too hard, and maybe I did make poor Marion stop every five minutes to put him back on the leash whenever someone was coming. Maybe I continually interrupted our conversation by shouting "LINUS!" or "Heel!" as if I had dog-owner's Turrets syndrome. But the point is, I managed.
(There I am having trouble walking Linus)
Yet there are some situations which would have been very difficult to handle on my own. Like, for example, the time that Linus brought twenty-five ticks into our house. Now, living with a long-haired dog presents even more challenges than living with a short-haired one. Just like a big dog presents some different challenges than a smaller one. (Even though I assured my husband that there would be no difference. As it turns out, there is a very, very big difference. For example, not hardly being able to walk my own dog or bathe him because he's stronger than me. Also massive poos. But that's neither here nor there.) Some of the fun aspects of living with a long-haired dog are: constant brushing, hair everywhere (and I'm not talking discreet hair, I'm talking hairs over four inches long snaking all over your clothing) said dog getting clumps of hair stuck in his mouth which his toys picked up from the carpet. Another epic tale of long-hair woe is how he started to reek no matter how often we bathed him, and we had to inflict a hygene-clip upon him ourselves. Let's just say I was scissoring in gross places while strangers looked on... But that's a story for another time. Right now I'm going to tell you about the time he brought twenty-five ticks into our house. At least twenty-five.
I had drug Derek out on a walk after he had worked a long and exhausting day, because our gigantic dog needed some exercise. We went to this wetlands conservation trail that is very pretty and was completely abandoned. We were walking along, having one of those red-flag perfect moments, with Linus trotting through long grasses looking like his movie star doppelganger (Lassie, of course). We were over halfway back when Derek noticed a tick on his sock. He began to freak out a little bit and...I laughed at him. (I'm ashamed to say, considering what happened.) Normally I'm horrified of ticks. But at that moment, I was just being stupid like one of those unsuspecting girls in a horror flick. I think we made Linus get out of the grass by then and hurried back to our car. We searched ourselves and Linus carefully (I think we found about ten on him at that point...and keep in mind that when I say we I mean Derek, because obviously there was no way I was going to willingly touch a tick). We drove home, and I was still all chipper, blissfully and ditzily unaware of the waking nightmare that was about to become my life. We were about to go to sleep that night, and I turned on the light I think because Derek found a tick on his neck. There were ticks everywhere. On our walls, in our bed, on the floor, and as time would tell still on the dog.
Let me reassure my readers that Linus is on a good flea and tick medication, and always has been. We used to live in Tennessee, which, as anyone who has ever lived there knows, is where ticks hang out. Ticks are a perpetual fear in the south. In the north, they're a laughing matter, as far as I'm concerned. Well, disaster strikes when you're least expecting it, usually. Even though Linus was banned from our room for awhile, we kept finding ticks, for days. Oh, and our car? Also a tomb of horror. Even after Derek vacuumed and sprayed it, a tick would fall on my shoulder and I would be trapped in that cab of the truck with no where to run. I refused to ride in the car for a good week, I think. Oh, and we bathed Linus. "They'll drown!" I insisted. Well, no ticks drowned and none fell off, either, despite his body being submerged underwater. Days afterword, I kept finding ticks crawling on Linus (but not biting) or hanging out on the walls. I slept, cocooned tightly in blankets and horrified. Finally, after a couple of days of no tick sightings, while lulled into a false sense of security, two final ticks made their last stand by crawling onto Linus' nose and biting below his eye. After awhile, I put on my husband's robe because I thought the war of the ticks was over, but when I took it off I brushed a tick off my back. That might have been as long as a month after the tick infestation began.
Understandably, I am mentally and emotionally scarred from that experience. Every time I feel the teensiest tingle in my skin, I jump and start pawing at the spot in paranoia. Honestly, though, I think just below thirty ticks is the maximum amount of ticks that one dog can bring into the house at one time. Even a long-haired dog. So we should be safe. Now, Derek doesn't allow Linus to go in tall grass. It was rather dumb of us to let him do so in a marshy area, but hey, live and learn, right? We are leaving to go camping tomorrow, and we'll be extra vigilant in the tick-department. Last time we went camping with Linus, he chewed on a stick, got his gum infected, developed a tennis-ball sized lump beneath his lip, and $200 later, was fit as a fiddle again. So I'll be trying to keep all the sticks in the great outdoors away from our high-maintenance, but entirely worth it, dog.
(I'm going camping with these lovely people, my in-laws. Derek and I are at the top of the photo.)
I won't be posting until I get back (so maybe on Monday) but when I do, expect pictures, funny stories, and hopefully no tales of woe. After that, I'll be doing my first "Drool List," which will be filled with drool-worthy items you're going to want to buy. There will also be another OOTD post. Wish us luck!
Oh, and if you have a funny (or horrifying, or sweet, for that matter) pet story to tell, do share!