There goes the neighborhood (again)

There goes the neighborhood (again)

How I morphed from New Neighbor to Nasty Tick Lady with one kid's alarming discovery.
Jul 01, 2013

After moving to a new home and spending several months leading my kids around our blessedly quiet new neighborhood hoping to find some children their age, the warmer temperatures finally brought kids out of hiding like little hibernating bears. With two little girls and a little boy on the same block, my kids now self-eject from the house as fast as their little feet can take them in the morning. As an added bonus, the little girls down the street have a 12-week-old golden retriever who comes by on his walks and visits us.

I like the mild temperatures as well. They've gotten our golden retriever, Brody, and I out of our own winter hibernation and back on a "great outdoors routine," exploring the trails that run around and behind the neighborhood. We saw a deer bound by on the trail last week, and there is even a muddy creek to wallow in. Life is good.

Several days after our latest hike, the girls were over playing with the kids and Brody. The younger one was petting Brody and asked innocently, "What's this bump?"

I knew before I even looked.

Dang it. A tick.

Ticks are sporadic in San Diego, and the only other time I ever found one on Brody was last spring, when we were also out hiking in a backcountry-ish area. He went on tick prevention since we were hiking that area, then when we stopped heading that way, I went back to using an oral flea and heartworm preventive that works just great for what I needed.

I always do a once-over after hikes to look for parasites or foxtails or any of the sorts of things that can annoy a golden. Still, Brody is hairy and rather than just put on tick preventive like I should have, I figured that so long as I wasn't seeing anything, I might as well finish off the product I was using.

Grasses, check. Deer, check. Bad vet who should know better, check.

And of course—of course—it would be the neighbor kid who found it.

A part of my brain whispered to me, "Lie. Say it's a sebaceous adenoma. She's 6; what does she know?" But I figured it could be a teaching moment, so I told the truth. What a sucker. The news sent the girls screaming with hands waving in the air, in the way only little girls can do, despite my calm reassurances that they would be just fine and so would Brody. I removed the tick, confirmed no others were present, had the kids wash their hands, and figured that was that.