When I was little, my cousins used to terrify me with tales of the bloodsuckers who fed on me when I went to sleep at night.
No, not vampires. Spiders and ticks. Especially ticks.
According to them, a tick wouldn’t be satisfied with taking a big juicy gulp of Amber blood. Nope. The reason a tick swells up when she drinks, they said, is because she’s using all that blood to make millions of eggs.
And then? Well, then she regurgitates the eggs back into the bite and leaves them to bake under her victim’s skin.
The victim, of course, has no idea. She just thinks she has an especially bothersome mosquito bite.
But as the eggs grow, the bump on the victim’s skin grows bigger and bigger and bigger and BIGGER. And eventually? The baby ticks hatch, bursting from the eggs to crawl around under her skin and eat her alive—from the inside out.
This cousin, he actually insisted he’d seen it happen. Seen the little tick-lings roiling around under someone’s skin, biting and sucking and devouring her.
I think I was all of seven when he told me this story. I couldn’t sleep for weeks. I’d lay wide awake in the dark, every nerve on alert for the feel of little pincers biting down. Sometimes I’d drift off, but then I’d jolt awake, certain I felt something chomping me.
Eventually, of course, I got over it and went back to sleeping. But the fear of ticks? Never really faded.
So when I discovered a tick on my dog’s ear this morning? I freaked the hell out. Not so much because my dog had a tick, but because said tick could come loose and re-attach herself to me. And I? Really didn’t want to be a tick’s baby mama.*
Being the independent woman I am, I called my husband to ask what I should do. Unfortunately, he insisted that I really needed to get it off of him. Otherwise, said tick would fall off and be left to wander freely around our house.
No, thank you.
Sadly, the tweezers were missing.
And the dish soap trick the Internet insisted would work? Well, it kind of did. The little bugger let go for about five seconds. But soap makes things slippery, and therefore hard to hang on to. So by the time I got my wad of toilet paper around the tick’s back and pulled (what, you thought I was going to touch it with my bare hands? I don’t think so), it had re-attached itself.
After attempting to smother it with Vaseline, pouring salt on it (it works with leeches) and even trying to dig it out with a pen, the dog was growling and I was in tears.
And on the phone with my hub again.
This time? He agreed to come home and take care of it himself.
Which he did. In about 30 seconds. With a pair of needle nose pliers.
Proving once again that the hubster is, in fact, a super hero in disguise.
And my male relatives? Owe me for a few therapy sessions.
*Yes, I know that’s not really how it works. But I wasn’t feeling especially rational.