Chairman Bao is a Shih Tzu. We travel a lot. I drive. He watches. We've logged at least 10,000 miles and he's never once said, Sweetheart, don't you think you should stop and ask someone?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Trouble in paradise. Horror of horrors, Bao picked up a flea on the beach.

We've never encountered fleas here. Maybe we stepped into a swarm, or a nest, or something. (Do fleas build nests?)

I know fleas lay eggs, because we had an infestation in Australia when Bao was a puppy. I'd been away for a week (Bao was staying with friends) and my first night home, Bao wouldn't come up to bed. He just stood there at the foot of the stairs, whimpering. Finally, I carried him up. But in a couple of minutes he hopped off the bed and went back downstairs. He lay there all night, crying. It was awful. And I couldn't figure it out. The next morning he was scratching frantically so I took him to the vet. Mystery solved. He was covered with fleas.

That's why he won't go upstairs, the vet explained. As soon as he gets up there, they jump on him.

We'd probably always had a few fleas. But when I went away and the house was empty they'd had nothing (or nobody) to eat, so they laid their eggs in the bedroom carpet (the only room with carpet) and died. The eggs remained dormant until they sensed motion. Then when we came home they hatched, and went looking for breakfast. That's apparently what fleas do. Australian fleas, anyway.

Bao had to be dipped, and the house had to be fumigated.

This is less dramatic. Bao isn't scratching anymore, and I don't itch. So maybe it was just one flea. I sure hope so.



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