July 11th, 2017
Home at last. My annual escape to civilization has come to an end as of last Thursday. But, it was quite a vacation – 16 days and 6,000 kilometres. We celebrated Canada’s 150th birthday in Thunder Bay, Ontario after stopping in Quebec City, Montreal, Cornwall, Peterborough and Sault Saint Marie. Bailey joined us on this epic journey as she and I participated in a Rally-O course offered by the South Eastern Ontario Regional Newfoundland Dog Club. I was planning on writing about the course until tonight’s grooming session revealed an unexpected souvenir. Be forewarned, the photos are graphic. Stomach-turners for people like me.
I was just finishing up with my sweetness when I decided to have one more run of the rake through her ruff underneath the left ear. Something caught my eye and I bent down for a closer look. At first I thought it was a piece of wood in the shape of a corn kernel that Bailey must have got lodged in her fur on one of today’s hikes. Nope… For a second, I imagined it was the start of a tumour. It moved. Without thinking, I pulled the insect off. Blood gushed out of a bubbled up piece of angry red skin. I was trying my best to keep my recently eaten dinner down. All of us bring back souvenirs to remember our travels. I just wasn’t expecting Bailey to have her own “special” one. My suspicions suggested it was a tick. Labrador is still considered to be a tick free zone. Bailey’s passenger must have hopped aboard somewhere on our trip as we marvelled at the beautiful landscapes. Thankfully, our gal had received a preventative treatment for ticks and other unwanted critters before we left. Her next one is due in two days. I retrieved a baggie from the kitchen and used the comb to flick the bug into the bag. On further examination, the bug was tan in colour and the size of my middle finger nail. Was it a tick? I decided the situation required a second opinion. I called my hiking partner who lives around the corner and explained my predicament. Her husband and she arrived quickly with IPad in tow. Despite Bailey’s overly enthusiastic greeting, we managed to settle her down enough to examine the wound site. The mystery bug was confirmed to be a tick.
While waiting for them to arrive, I pulled out the new shaver that I had bought for Bailey’s paws. I managed to put aside my queasiness. Then, I removed some of the fur surrounding the wound bulbous to not only get a better look at it but, to find it. Even with it shaved, it took a few minutes for me to locate it again. It was not surprising that Bailey’s long guard hair and thick undercoat provided the perfect cover for the tick. I scrounged around for my magnifying glass and took a more detailed look. This tick was the first one that I had seen in real life. Hopefully, it is the last time. Bailey would have to go to the vet tomorrow to make sure that she was alright. I realized that she had been tousling with her best bud, Cas, on numerous occasions since getting home on Thursday. He was going to have to be thoroughly examined as well. My friends left knowing what my cheerful news meant for them and Cas – an extended grooming session and possible tick prevention treatment. Bailey, her souvenir and I have date with the veterinarian in the very near future and a second tick prevention treatment in two days. We avoided several tourist traps on our road trip hawking over-priced souvenirs. Who knew that Mother Nature had her own souvenir trap waiting for us?