June 30th, 2015
After a long wait for the arrival of summer, the mosquito population descended on us about two weeks ago. The mosquitos are big here. Between the local wildlife and us, food sources are plentiful for them. The only good thing about having gigantic mosquitos is that you can see them coming. A couple of well-timed swats can eliminate them quite easily. Bailey joined in the family fun. Within a couple of hours, she impressed us with her skill at capturing these pests. No capture and release program for her. There is nothing like some extra protein to supplement your dog’s diet. Bug spray was not necessary as long as you kept out of those places that these blood sucking insects thrive in. However, as Canada Day approaches (July 1st), so too have the black flies – our true enemy. They venture out in squadrons looking for fresh blood. By the looks of things, they are getting more than their quota. I always say that we are regular blood donors – just not to the Red Cross Blood Services. We have yet to find a place of respite from them. The netting on the patio gazebo seems to let in more of them than keeping them at bay. Taking Bailey out for walks and to do her business requires us to put on a good spray of Deet – the perfume of the north.
When we talked about bringing Bailey home, none of us gave much thought to the bugs. I expected Bailey’s thick coat would be a barrier to bites. I was wrong. It appears that our dog is like the “Trojan Horse“. The black flies hop aboard her after Bailey has spent time outside. They are extremely skilled at camouflaging themselves in her black fur. The enemy makes its way into the house without us even knowing. I could not figure out where the 35 dead black flies that appeared on our living room window sill had come from. I searched the window screens for openings and found none. We had not changed our method for entering the house which is to use the attached garage doorway. The flies usually get left in the garage and the few that get in are killed in the entry way. I racked my brain trying to figure out the source for letting these enemies behind our lines. Ended up being not what but who – our Bailey.
On Thursday of last week, I discovered while giving Bailey her nightly groom that she had several hitchhikers on board. She is groomed on a light coloured beach towel and I noticed small black pieces of what I first thought to be lint. I was wrong again. Lint does not move. I took a closer look and saw that the lint was black flies. They got squished. I am not a person who enjoys killing living things. After all, I have rescued numerous discarded rhubarb plants which now grow at an exponential rate in our yard. I might have to rethink that one as you can only eat so much rhubarb. I’d like to believe that I release spiders outside to freedom. Truth be told, it is because spiders eat mosquitos and black flies. But, killing these black flies does make one feel a sense of satisfaction. It does in my case as I am allergic to insect stings like bees and wasps. The swelling and itch from fleas, mosquitos and black flies goes on for days and sometimes even weeks. So, we added a new procedure to our growing list of tasks involving Bailey. She is treated to a towel rubdown before entering the house to frisk out any unwanted visitors. Bailey loves her towel rubs. We also took a trip to the vet to get a couple of dog friendly cans of bug repellent. Daily trips to the lake are also part of the new regiment to keep Bailey cool and less bothered by flies. Until summer is over, Bailey will remain our Trojan Dog.
P.S. At 22 weeks, Bailey is now 30.5 kg or 67 pounds 4 ounces.