Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Schubert (flea) Dip

I always thought the guy on that EMF album cover looked like he was suffering from fleas....

Aaargh! There is a plague upon the Hoogestraat household, and it comes in the form of fleas. Yes, those icky, biting, jumping, nasty little bugs. I hate them. We first noticed it when we got back from Hawaii. The dogs seemed especially itchy and scratchy, and poor Adora's tummy was looking threadbare and raw. So we promptly gave them flea baths, sprayed down the furniture and bedding, and administered preventative drops.

The bathing process was not even remotely enjoyable for either dogs or humans. Spanky seemed to be used to it, because he stood fairly still and gave me a soulful look the whole time. Perhaps his previous owners had him frequently groomed? When I mistakenly fondled his empty man pouch, thinking it was one of several hair mats near his rump, he turned to me and stared. I apologized and let go of the droopy parcel.

Adora was no less thrilled, and she actually jumped out of the tub when we first started. I had to haul her back into the tub, both of us struggling and wet and covered in loose dog hair. She settled down after that and let me wash her, and Pete came upstairs to assist me. But she was pouty and mad the entire time, and would not look at either of us, but instead fixed her eyes on the shower faucet and sulked.

The same treatment was necessary for the cats a week later. I noticed Max was looking rather thin and lethargic, and upon closer inspection I saw tiny black bugs in his soft white fur. Yuck. So into the tub Max and Dollie both went, howling and hissing and not being very happy. It's interesting that when we bathed the cats they stood up and clung to the soap bar like little wet people. Max was the better behaved of the two, and he just kept looking back at Pete and me with sad green eyes. I think he actually welcomed the attention though, because he looked like he had a really bad case of fleas.

Dollie, on the other hand, was a screaming and clawing nightmare, which shocked us. We expected her to practially frolic in the water and do her usual goofy hijinks. But instead she was like a bar of wet, furry soap, slipping and sliding out of our grasp each time we tried to lather up the flea shampoo. Finally I think we just wore her out, and she submitted just as Max had, paws wrapped around the soap bar and a scowl on her face. She definitely did NOT enjoy the attention as he had. When her bath was over, her attitude change was like night and day. She became the sweet and playful Dollie once again, and she went about drying herself on the furniture and nonchalantly observing the dogs, who were captivated by this weird, damp creature before them.

Well, we thought we had everything wrapped up, and that we would only need to distribute the medicated drops once a month, which was easy enough. But oh, no! Adora has begun scratching and biting at herself again, and Spanky has recently been looking a little too itchy too. So now we have to go through this process all over again. Tonight we'll once again round up the dogs, sequester them in the bathroom, scrub them down while fighting to keep our patience (and footing), and release them to the living room, where they'll both immediately roll their soggy bodies around on our nice, clean couches. Yay. I only pray that we don't have to bathe the cats again. I don't think I have it in me to endure another session with a frantic, clawing bundle of moist anger.

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