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Flea-ting Moments


A week spent vacuuming and sterilizing and excavating our house has left me with a zero-tolerance attitude towards new flea or tick acquisition, and the bearer of fleas into our home – Katy the Wonder Dog -has suddenly had most of her freedom curtailed.

Where once she got a morning and late evening romp through the forest and fields surrounding our house, yapping at deer who have long since learned that there is no bite behind the bark, now she is condemned to keeping a slower pace beside me as we travel down and back up the road to the horse farm near our house. Katy was confused by the new routine, at first, but after a day or two appeared to begin enjoying the quality time. I've used the extra walks together as extra exercise this week, but it's also been one extra thing to do on a crowded to-do list. Today, however, the walk became its own reward.

We have another day of intense cleaning ahead of us, so I rose early for a little walking and writing time. Katy has already reset her body clock for a six a.m. walk, and was close at my heels as I trudged from bed to bathroom. It wasn't until we climbed the hill of our driveway that I began to wake up, but as we started down the hill to the horse farm, the scene that greeted us breathed the day right into me.

Before the bridge at the end of our road was closed, I drove the perfect s-curve to the farm everyday, and everyday I saw something new. Today was different. Today, I saw the same six deer that had just crossed from our woods into the field, but this morning they stood still as we came closer. They seemed curious but not fearful (they already know Katy can't catch them), and in a few minutes I was no more than 20 feet from one of them.

The mist rising up from the pond behind them made me wonder if we'd crossed into some magical realm. In a way we had. I've seen this road a thousand times before and seen the deer almost as often. But I've never really seen them.

I reached for my camera phone as quietly as possible, but it beeped, Katy barked, and the deer were gone. But the moment lasted the rest of the way home. I'm not sure if I have the fleas or the dog to thank for it.