For many years our holiday house on the coast has been a wonderful weekend getaway destination, but recent events have unfortunately soured my pleasure in going there. It is a beautiful part of the world, and the beach ( Ninety Mile Beach) is one of the longest, uninterrupted beaches in the world. Natural and unspoilt in its beauty, we can walk for miles along the pristine golden sand with our dog joyously running in and out of the water, the long sandy dunes behind us, tapering into natural bushland. Best of all, it is somewhat isolated, meaning you can often walk without seeing a soul, bar the odd lone fisherman.
There always has to be a flaw in perfection, and here it is, mosquitoes that are the downside. However, repellant applied diligently has proven to be an effective solution, and often they are not present at all. About eighteen months ago, we encountered a new threat, or rather the beloved four legged member of our family did; a paralysis tick. Fortunately, we discovered the insidious creature and rushed our dog to the Animal Emergency Centre ( why is it whenever pets or kids get sick it’s after hours?). Happily she responded well to the anti venom given and came home the next day. She looked more like a rat than a dog, having had all her beautiful fur shaved in case there were more nasties lurking in her coat. Six months later, after a weekend at the beach, the same thing happened, and we followed the same drill. Ironically, of all the dogs we have had go with us to the beach, she is the one who stays the closest to me. Our previous dog was constantly out of eyesight, happily exploring the dense bushland, and she never had an issue. I am happy to report that there is now a new pill to give dogs that is far more effective at keeping these horrid creatures at bay.
Last month we went there for a long weekend, and this time it was pests of the two legged variety. We believe some charming souls decided it was great sport to hurl stones up on to house roofs, and inadvertently ( bad throwing) the back windscreen of our car was smashed. It infuriates me that such a senseless action caused us such angst, having to call the police, remove the remaining glass and then complete the 2 hr drive home with a sheet taped over the back, while the perpetrators suffered no consequences. ( We did not discover the broken glass until the next morning and they were long gone!) I really hope karma catches up with them one day.
This month was the most horrific of all. My husband and I had gone there and after a lovely day I was sitting at the table when I felt something on the back of my neck. I called my husband over to investigate, and his words, “Oh,shit, darling”, did nothing to reassure me. When he told me it was a tick, I panicked and went into meltdown, crying and yelling at him to get it out. I could feel him tugging at it but the vile thing was not coming out. Desperate to have it removed, I told him to get the tweezers, and with their aid he finally managed to pull it out, but by this time I was a sobbing mess. I somehow think it’s worse not being able to see what’s happening and just feeling something burrowing into your skin. The next day I went to the doctor ( after of course first consulting Dr Google!) and received antibiotics of which I completed two courses. A small lump still remains ( two weeks later) – as if I need a reminder of this traumatic experience!
I did have to laugh at my son’s words upon hearing my tale of misery; ” Well, better you than the dog, Mum.”
Hmm, does that mean I’m more dispensable than our dog??…
On a serious note, his words are true – it won’t kill me, but it will her, so I guess I’m glad I took one for Team Layla but I’m certainly in no hurry to repeat the exercise, or for that matter return to the place I once thought paradise…
Please send this warning to everyone on your e- mail list. If someone comes to your front door saying they are checking for ticks due to the warm weather and asks you to take your clothes off and dance around with your arms up, DO NOT DO IT!! THIS IS A SCAM!! They only want to
see you naked. I wish I’d gotten this yesterday. I feel so stupid! 😜