Monday, October 13, 2014

The Great Ant Debacle

I love my Sunday afternoon naps. I go to church, then go out to lunch somewhere with some friends, then climb into my lazy boy with the game on in the background, and I’m out for two hours. It’s called the day of rest for a reason, after all.

Well, there I was yesterday, enjoying my siesta when I was suddenly and quite rudely disturbed by my beautiful but frantic wife. There she was standing over me with a very forced smile on her face, the kind that people get when they are trying to remain calm. Her eyes were another matter. They were practically screaming, “Oh my God, what the heck??!!”

Since she had just roused me from a deep and satisfying sleep, I didn’t hear much of what she said at first, but I did manage to pick up three words…Lucy, digging…ants.

The next thing I remember was running down stairs to find my puppy outside on the deck looking positively thrilled with herself. Apparently, Pam had let her out into the backyard where she was having a grand time digging a massive crater on the back side of the oak tree in the middle of our yard. Unfortunately, she had disturbed a rather large ant colony with her excavations several battalions of which had swarmed up her legs and tail and were now racing helter skelter all over her perfect pink puppy belly. It was my job to fix it. The unspoken accusation was thick in the air…You wanted a puppy, you got your puppy!

In a flash I grabbed Lucy and raced upstairs and threw her in the shower. She was positively giddy and seemed unfazed by the presence of several hundred ants crawling all over her. It was all such great fun! And to top it all off, now Daddy and her were going to rough house, and water was involved!!

Ants began to drop off of her in bunches. There must have been a thousand of them imbedded in her thick tail. It reminded me of what our southern border must look like when the border patrol takes a coffee break. It took me nearly thirty minutes of sustained scrubbing and rinsing, scrubbing and rinsing until she was finally free of them. But this task was only the beginning. What was I going to do to keep her from going right back out there and doing it again?

I had been waiting for the weather to clear all weekend so I could cut the grass and prepare the yard for the aeration and seeding guy to come this week. Although it was still misting rain, I could wait no longer. While I was raking up the pine needles, it came to me. I would use Lucy’s skittishness against her. I would take the seven black garbage bags full of yard debris over by the fence and place them around the base of the two big trees. Lucy is mortally afraid of large black things and has shown a particular aversion to going anywhere near those bags. Two hours later the yard work was done and both trees were surrounded by menacing black plastic monsters.

The first time I let her out into her back yard she came to a screeching halt at the top of the deck steps. The fur on her back immediately rose up in alarm. It took her five minutes to summon the courage to venture down the steps. Then she walked gingerly towards the tree. Then I heard her let out a low growl, then a couple of furtive barks. Finally, she pranced away over to her pooping grounds at the far end of the yard where she discovered yet another black bag patrol surrounding a second tree. At this point the barking became full throated. She was not a happy dog.

This morning, I’m watching her walk around carefully out there, sniffing mightily, looking totally baffled by what has turned out to be my superior strategy.
Yes, I am feeling quite cocky. At least until the next catastrophe befalls us. Being a puppy parent isn’t for wimps, people.