I took the pups for their wellness check and most impressively, we arrived there with no puppy barf after our long, hilly trek (Sugar Cookie did serenade me the whole way).
They were very popular with the office staff.
Taking four puppies to the vet is much easier than taking twelve puppies to the vet. The most popular question of the day was—“Are they really from the same litter?”
Admittedly, they do look quite different from one another. There was plenty of speculation as to breed and we agreed it was impossible to say. Bulldog was one guess because of the color and the underbites on three of them. The vet agreed that Fruitcake could likely have a different daddy. She said, maybe some kind of big herding dog, maybe even St. Bernard.
Everything was going well until Dr. M ruffled Fruitcake’s hair at the base of his tail and discovered fleas! OMG, how beyond embarrassing! Once again, I’m left feeling like the worst foster mommy ever. How had I not noticed?
I swear they weren’t scratching. I’m sure you believe me as much as Dr. M did. I tried to explain that I’d been too preoccupied with poop and yoga mats and a jealous mommy dog and my life has been a tad on the hectic side…..as I rambled my excuses she gave me the nod adults give children who try to explain how the candy in the cupboard disappeared. When I’d finished, she said, “It happens. It’s a mild winter. I’m seeing lots of fleas.”
And yet, I can’t help but be FREAKED OUT.
Ugh. We haven’t had fleas in this house in years. Against my organic nature, I use that expensive, frighteningly toxic spot ever since we had a massive infestation that occurred while I was using a nice not-so-toxic herbal formula spot. Ever since that nightmare episode, I’ve been faithful about the toxic spot, even on the cats who live outside, even in the winter, even though it costs nearly a car payment to treat so many animals each month.
Estelle was given her spot while in the shelter prior to coming here and Gracie never misses hers because it’s part of her heartworm meds. So where the heck did these fleas come from? It’s January, for heaven’s sake! And they’ve never been outside! (I did wait until Estelle had finished nursing before giving her another spot, so maybe it was that tiny two week gap.)
Other than the fleas, Dr. M pronounced the puppies healthy – all of them, even Fruitcake. She spent extra time on his exam (he loved that) and said he looked great despite the fact that he did splits on the metal exam table. She said what he needed now was lots of exercise to keep strengthening those muscles.
When I asked what this meant for him long-term, she shrugged and said that as long as he got plenty of exercise and stayed a healthy weight, he was no more likely to have any issues than his siblings. And just like that, Swimmer Puppy Syndrome became a thing of the past for all of us.
What isn’t a thing of the past is the fleas. My fingers are waterlogged from bathing EVERYONE. There is a colorful pile in my yard where I tossed ALL the yoga mats to allow the fleas to FREEZE. My washing machine has been going NONSTOP since we got home, and the puppy room and toys all smell of vinegar. All the dogs and puppies are a bit tired of my incessant searching of their body parts. And ever since the vet said the word fleas, I feel itchy all over.
The fun never ends. Really. Never.
Here’s a few shot of my freshly laundered pups –