I was going to save this story for Halloween, but for some reason it has been on my mind a lot lately. So enjoy it now.
When I was about 12 or 13 years old, we moved into a rental property in Greenwood Springs Mississippi. It was very convenient for us as it was just a mile or two down the road from property Dad had just bought where he planned to build us a house. In the evenings we would go and work on clearing out the house place and such.
My grandfather, Daddy Straw spent a lot of time with me during the time we lived at this place. He would take me hunting and teach me other skills that a boy my age needed for life in the country.
We had lived there a few months before we started noticing strange things happening. One of the first things I remember out of the ordinary was when I gave my mother a magnolia blossom as a gift. Normally these seem to wilt quickly once cut from the tree but for some reason this one just never withered. I set it in a bowl of water on the dining room table and it stayed fresh for over a week. We finally got tired of it and threw it out but it still looked as fresh as the day I cut it from the tree.
The next strange thing happened one evening when we were all sitting around the dining room table after dinner. We heard a noise in the kitchen and we all looked up in time to watch the door knob turn and the kitchen door open. We were expecting it to maybe my Grand Daddy Straw as he sometimes came in the back door instead of the front.
But to our surprise, the door simply closed on its own and no one was there. Then our attention turned to the other door to the dining room. This door led to the rest of the house. Just as before, the door knob turned and the door opened on its own and then closed again as if a person had just walked through the room from one door to the next.
After a while, we got accustomed to sharing the house with our invisible roommate. We knew to look for missing shiny things under a certain board in the closet and to expect small items to move around when no one was looking. We even decided that our dog was not crazy for jumping on and playing with an invisible friend in the yard.
Never did any of us ever feel threatened by the ghost. We felt she was female and began calling her She. Once, my mother was ill and sleeping alone at the house. She said she felt a presence wake her up and as she awoke, she saw a white figure at the foot of the bed gently shaking her to wake up. Once she awoke, the figure was gone but she realized that the pilot light had gone out on the gas heater and the room was slowly filling with gas. The ghost had protected her.
The only scary time I ever experienced was one day after hunting rabbits with my Grand Daddy Straw; I went inside to put up the butcher knife I had used to clean the rabbits.
I tossed the knife onto the counter near the sink and turned to go back outside to get the rabbits. As I turned around, I heard the knife fall on the floor. I did not think anything about it, I just figured I had missed when I tossed it on the counter. I was more careful as I set down the knife by the sink and turned to go back out.
Again as I turned and headed out the door, I heard the knife hit the floor. Still I thought nothing of it as the counter tops were not quite level and I assumed it had slid off after I set it down. So this time I picked up the knife and carefully placed it on the counter top. I put it all the way back against the backstop near the sink. As I lifted my hand away I made sure it was stable and was not going to slide off again.
This time however as I turned to go back outside, the knife flew across the room and landed near the door on the opposite side of the room. This time, I decided to leave the knife on the floor and go back outside. I am not sure why she did not want the knife on the counter, but she made it very clear she did not want it left there.
For the first time since we moved to the woods in 1993, we have fleas in our house and both our dog and cat have fleas. I don’t know why this year is different, but these flea bites are making me itch. Smash spends more time scratching than he does playing. I am really glad we kept his broken leg as it works well to scratch his ear even if he has trouble controlling it. Here is an article that I hope will help me and maybe you if you also have to learn how to get rid of fleas:
External parasites and their treatments
WHAT IS A PARASITE?
External parasites are pretty common among dogs. A parasite is an organism that lives off the resources your dog has to offer: namely, fresh blood (which most parasites drink) and a warm place to stay (in and on the skin and fur).
What are the common parasites that might affect my dog?
There are a wide range of parasites that affect dogs:
All of these parasites cause adverse reactions in your dog: typically, itching and inflamed skin, a dull coat, and bald spots. In advanced cases, your dog may develop anemia (blood loss) and become generally debilitated (particularly if he or she is very young, very old, or suffering from another condition).
In addition to this, many parasites convey secondary and internal parasites to your dog – for example, fleas usually carry the common tapeworm (which causes constipation and flatulence), and ticks can cause a variety of much more serious problems like Lyme’s disease and paralysis.
In today’s newsletter, we’re going to be looking at fleas: what they are, how to tell if your dog’s affected, and how to get rid of them.
A CLOSER LOOK AT FLEAS
Fleas are without question the number-one most common external parasite affecting dogs. They’re small, jumping insects that are light brown in color, although humans generally can’t see them – they move much too quickly for that!
Fleas live off your dog’s blood. The life cycle of a flea moves very rapidly from stage one (egg) to stage four (adult flea), which means they’re capable of multiplying with staggering rapidity.
An adult flea lays hundreds of eggs per day. Each egg will then become an adult flea, which lay hundreds more eggs of its own. One flea becomes a major problem very quickly!
HOW TO TELL IF YOUR DOG HAS FLEAS
The symptoms of a flea infestation are unmistakable.
A dog with a flea infestation will scratch almost constantly, often at areas that fleas seem to favor: the ears, the base of the tail, the belly, and the stifle (the webbing of soft skin between the thigh and the abdomen).
It’s actually the saliva of the flea that causes the irritation, not the bite itself, and some dogs have a genuine allergy to this saliva (as opposed to a standard irritation). Dogs with allergies suffer much more significant negative reactions to a flea infestation, and usually develop “hot spots”.
These hot spots are areas of sore, inflamed, flaking, bleeding, and infected skin, caused by the flea saliva and your dog’s own reaction to it. Bald patches will sometimes develop too, from repeated scratching and ongoing inflammation.
If you think your dog has fleas, you can confirm your suspicions by taking a closer look at his skin: you probably won’t be able to see the fleas themselves, but you should be able to see what looks like ground pepper (a thin sprinkling of fine black grains) on his skin. This is flea dirt (poop).
If you groom him with a flea comb (which is like a fine-tooth comb), try wiping it on a paper towel: if red blotches show up on the towel, you know that your dog has fleas (on a white background like a paper towel, flea poop shows up red: since fleas subsist on blood, their poop is colored accordingly).
TREATMENT FOR FLEAS
Because fleas only spend a small amount of time actually on your dog, and the rest of their time leaping through your house laying eggs and feeding on human blood, it’s not enough to just treat the dog: you also have to target his bedding, the entire house, all human bedding, and the yard (yes, fleas lay eggs all through the yard, too. Even if it’s cold outside, you’re not necessarily off the hook: cold weather doesn’t kill flea eggs, it just puts them into a state of hibernation. The eggs will hatch as soon as it gets warm enough outside.)
You’ll need a broad-spectrum treatment which kills not only the adult fleas (which are the ones that bite), but also any developing fleas, and the eggs.
PREVENTION IS THE BEST (AND THE EASIEST!)
Prevention is definitely the best cure – you should keep your dog’s flea treatments up to date with the use of a calendar, and use a treatment that’s prescribed by the vet. Off-the-shelf treatments aren’t recommended, since different dogs require different strengths depending on their size, age, and activity levels. A particular benefit of prescribed flea treatment is that most are also designed to prevent other parasites (like mites, ticks, and heartworm) from affecting your dog.
FOR AN EXISTING INFESTATION
If your dog already has fleas, you have two options:
– You can ‘bomb’ the house and yard with a flea-pesticide. These come as foggers (which coat each room, and the yard, in a fine mist of pesticide) and sprays (which are applied manually to each surface throughout the house and yard), and although they’re very effective in killing fleas and eggs, there’s one major drawback: they’re highly toxic to humans, dogs, and the environment. Depending on your priorities, this is probably the quickest solution to a flea problem (and will effectively wipe out the eggs, too) but if you have anyone in the house with allergies or a health condition – including pets! – you might want to think again.
– A more health-friendly alternative is to target the dog with a topical anti-flea solution prescribed by the vet (like Advantage or Revolution), and to rigorously clean the house on a regular basis until the flea problem has gone. This means vacuuming each room thoroughly each day – put a flea collar in with the vacuum bag to kill any fleas that get sucked up – and wash all human and dog bedding in hot water as often as you can (once every day or every two days is recommended). You’ll be able to tell when the problem’s gone because your dog won’t be scratching, and his coat will be clear of flea dirt when you inspect it.
WHAT NOT TO DO ABOUT FLEAS
– Don’t use multiple products on your dog – it’ll make him sick, since you’ll be overloading his system with toxins.
– Don’t forget to treat all the animals in the house at the same time: cat and dog fleas are interchangeable, and if one animal has fleas, they all will have them, even if some are not displaying the symptoms.
– Flea collars are no longer recommended as a safe option for flea prevention, since the collars are highly toxic – vets have realized that placing a toxic material directly against your pet’s skin for long periods of time (flea collars have to be worn 24/7 to be effective) is detrimental to your dog’s health.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON PARASITES AND THEIR TREATMENT…
Fleas are just one of the many, many types of parasites that affect your dog. To find out more about the complete prevention and treatment of all types of parasites (external and internal), as well as a comprehensive guide to all aspects of dog health, take a look at The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health.
This book is an invaluable resource for the responsible dog owner, and will help you to ensure that your dog remains happy and healthy – just the way you want him to be!
You can check out the book by clicking on the link below:
The Walls of Jericho is and interesting cut in the limestone mountains of North Alabama. The Paint Rock river bubbles out of a cave surrounded by limestone cliffs called the Walls of Jericho.
The cove is accessed from Hwy 79 just north of Hytop, Al and just south of the Tennessee line. There is a nice gravel parking area and primitive camping area just off the highway.
The trail descends in to the canyon sometime gradually and sometimes rather steeply. There are many interesting rock formations along the way. There are also numerous chimneys and sinkholes to explore and to beware of.
About two miles in the is a large sinkhole that you can explore. There appears to be a cave entrance here.
After passing the Clark cemetery the trail becomes very narrow and slick. This is the entrance in to the canyon as well.
After another half mile of narrow slippery trails, you get to the real beauty of the Walls of Jericho.
There is a very pretty water fall at what looks like the end of the canyon. However, you have to go around the bend. Just around the bend, is where the Paint Rock river flows out of a cut in the rock wall. There is also a huge rock overhang.
The hike back out was very tiring. It is up hill all the way. And who knew Smash had a little trick up his sleeve?