Chick Wit: This dog owner is bugged

Posted: May 15, 2011

They say that if you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas, but they're wrong. If you lie down with dogs, you wake up with ticks.

The other day, I fell asleep with Little Tony and Peach, and I woke up with a tick on my chin, like a mole. It works for Cindy Crawford, but not for me. I'll never get a date if I wear bugs.

I ran yelping to the bathroom, where I took off my nightgown and found another tick on my back.

Don't ask me how it got under my nightgown.

Obviously, ticks find me superhot.

The ticks were big, brown, and ugly, so I went online to look up what kind of ticks they were and found a webpage you don't want to look at for too long. I decided my ticks weren't deer ticks, but American dog ticks.

Which plague American dogs.

And American women.

My ticks look like bedbugs, only I'm the mattress, and I'm pretty sure they have three thousand legs, which are always in constant motion.

Creepy!

I don't know how they get anywhere, given that their legs seem to carry them in all directions, like a living Roomba.

Doing the rumba.

The problem is Little Tony, a spaniel the color of a black bean. At any given time, he's giving a ride to three black ticks, none of whom tip well. I brush and inspect him all the time but the ticks run and hide.

Never get a black dog. It's worse than a white rug.

I don't know if you can get Lyme disease from an American dog tick, but you can get the heebie-jeebies. So I went online and ordered a gross of Frontline, a goop that you put on dogs and cats to prevent ticks. Unfortunately, they don't sell goop you can put on humans to prevent ticks.

I'm guessing that common sense is the answer, as in, don't sleep with dogs.

Too late.

I actually have a little staircase at the foot of my bed for the dogs to use, but they don't use it.

The ticks do.

Frontline generally works well, but each package cost a hundred bucks, and with six critters at home, I can do the math.

It takes a second mortgage to keep me mole-free.

But the Frontline won't come in the mail for three days, and until then, I can't sleep. On day one, I brush the dogs before we go to bed, but it doesn't put my mind at ease. I turn on the light at least five times to check Tony and find more ticks, so I spend the rest of the night imagining ticks walking all over me, getting under my clothing when they hadn't even bought me dinner.

In fact, to a tick, I'm dinner.

I was up all night, obsessed with ticks and watching the clock.

Tick tock.

See what I mean?

I didn't know when or where they'd appear next, and the constant worry rendered me sleepless. Ticks are the terrorists of the bug world, and the creepiest part is that they can crawl into various orifices. If you're a woman, you know what I mean.

Your ear.

I had that moth in my ear last year, and it still creeps me out.

On day two, I get the dogs shaved at the vet, then brush them before bed, but, between 2 and 5 o'clock in the morning, I find four ticks, three on the dogs and one on my shoulder.

To me, it's the Night of a Thousand Ticks.

On day three, I shower and dress for bed like a beekeeper. Yet I still can't sleep, and on my last trip to the bathroom to check myself, I find yet another tick.

On my thigh, heading north.

And I'm at the pet store the next morning, buying Frontline.

In case one of the ticks has GPS.


Lisa and Francesca's essays have been published in "My Nest Isn't Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space" and "Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog." Lisa's new novel, "Save Me," is on sale now. Visit Lisa at www.scottoline.com.

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