If Foxy had a baby book, yesterday would have been a new page:
Foxy’s First Tick
Ever since I moved to Minnesota, I’ve been worried about ticks. They’re much more prevalent here than they are in Colorado (I’ve actually never seen one in Colorado), and between my disgust at all things “burrowing” and my paranoia over enigmatic yet incapacitating phenomena such as Lyme disease, a tick is basically my worst case scenario. Throw in Foxy’s long fur, thus an unlikely early find, and my anxiety reaches a fever pitch.
The only solution? NEVER THINK ABOUT TICKS EVER.
I’ve been the human tick ostrich, burying my head in the sand and ignoring all possibility that my dog might draw one in through her fur to her skin like a magnet. I’ve let her run off leash in the woods like that proverbial absurd little bird (Cuckoo!) – because life is too short, right? Life is too short not to let your dog be a dog, and this dog was born to run free.
Until yesterday morning, when I felt that swollen jellybean on her side. I didn’t even have to look. I knew what it was. And that I was about to lose my breakfast.
But what choice did I have? This is my dog. It’s not exactly a marriage or anything – but I DID promise to take care of her til death do us part. So I grabbed my tweezers and… did it. I extracted an arachnid interloper from my dog’s flesh.
It was horribly disgusting, and yet surprisingly satisfying – not unlike popping a zit or ripping a weed out by the roots (which, yes, I find disgusting). And by impulse, I dropped it – head and legs and bulging body – into the toilet. Except I didn’t flush it.
I just stared at it.
There it was in the toilet bowl, fat and repulsive and everything I had feared, and yet… not that bad. I mean, I’m not suggesting you go and do a Google image search for “tick on dog” or anything (no really, don’t) – but honestly, it just wasn’t as awful as I thought it was going to be. It was a disruption in my morning. Nothing more.
It made me think about all of the things I think I’m better off ignoring: my fears and my bad habits and my shame. They seem so scary and appalling and unspeakably vile, and maybe if I just never, ever look at them, they’ll never really take hold. They’ll never become visible. No one will ever know.
I wonder if God looks at those things and thinks, “Ugh, gross. Whatever,” and can pluck them dead right there. Just because he loves me. Just because he wants me to run free.