Gross right? It is tick season and Cooper is a natural magnet. When a dog has a double coat like Cooper's, that means finding the offending parasite when a) you are enjoying giving your dog a good belly rub when you hit a bump or b) it has grown to the size of a small, white grape (blech) and you can actually see it protruding from your dog.
I had the great misfortune of finding an "a" on it's way to becoming a "b". Location: under Cooper's chin. Colour: slightly grey and puffy. The reaction: I'm afraid there was a girly scream emitted followed by soothing baby talk because I scared the crap out of poor Cooper. I come by this fear honestly after an unfortunate childhood incident when I walked through what had to be either a nest or a wood tick frat party. The entire bottom of my pant legs were covered turning me forever into a screeching, squirmy wood tick hater.
Since Cooper and I were flying solo this weekend, I couldn't call in my tick removal manager. My only option was to suck it up and pull it out myself (with minimal hand flapping and screeching). Since I've had dogs for as long as I can remember, I know that burning and Vaseline does nothing but create a greasy, burning mess. And quite honestly, setting a match near Cooper is just asking for a disaster. So I pulled, with tweezers, and still left the head in. Now what? I decide that it must be like a sliver and if I just squeeze it will pop out. Nope! Next I tried a needle (sterilized with alcohol first). Nope again. By now Cooper was frantically trying to get away from me, the headless, bloated tick is still wiggling its legs on my coffee table and I have visions of my dog descending into some feverish illness because I was too impatient (and grossed out) to pull slowly as they suggest here.
I do the only thing I can think of - transfer responsibility to my vet friend Val. Val assured me that the worst that could happen at this point was a bit of infection, advised me to clean the wound (because at this point it really was a wound) and watch it closely. If the tick was diseased, it would have transferred the disease along already.
So we watching, and waiting. Sorry Cooper. Next time I'll practice a little more self control.
It appears I'm not the only one with a tick phobia. Adriana at Tiber River also had a tick experience on the weekend. Yuck. Hopefully it is a short season.