On Bed Bugs, Pit Bulls, and Other Crazy Stresses

Stray pit bull puppy
Pete the Pit Puppy, not long after he showed up as a stray.

Do you ever have one of those weeks?

I’ve had a lot of “those weeks” in my life, but there was one last August that was a doozy.

I started the process of publishing Summer’s Winter plus fall term at the college (the craziest time of the academic year) that same week. My elderly mom had a fall and a mysterious illness and that didn’t help the stress level any. But then came the bed bug scare and the pit bull puppy, which really made it a week to remember.

For the last few years, I’ve attended a conference in Savannah each fall for my job. Generally it’s a fabulous, rejuvenating experience. Staying in the historic district of Savannah is an experience itself, and it’s a stay in a swanky hotel, and hubby generally comes along for at least a day or so.

This one started off just as lovely. I drove down first and did the conference stuff. Dave arrived later in the day and we went strolling down River Street, and found a place to eat with a great view of the water and the bridge to South Carolina.

View River Street Savannah Georgia Riverboat
A view from the hotel. (Looking away from South Carolina.)

As we ate and watched the sunset, I felt myself finally relaxing. Then Dave dropped this line on me. “Did you know there’s a brown dog at your mamma’s house?”

Shoulders tensing. Possibly a dropped fork.

See, my mom is elderly and lives out in the country with lots of woods. It’s a magnet for people dumping their unwanted animals. I have trapped-neutered-returned more feral cats than I can count. And this would make our FOURTH stray dog in a year.

“It’s a really nice dog,” Dave continued. And he showed me a picture on his phone.

“Isn’t that a pit bull?” I said.

“I don’t know. Is it?” he said.

I’ve never had a large dog of any kind. I’m really a cat person, and I found the very words “pit bull” sort of terrifying. I thought about what we had gone through to find homes for the three little terrier puppies the past year, let alone a big brutish animal with a killer reputation, and shivered.

But hey, we were in Savannah, staying at a fabulous hotel. I decided to be like Scarlett and think of that tomorrow.

Tomorrow rolled around pretty quickly. I woke up while it was still dark to see Dave sitting in a chair by the window, slapping and scratching at his leg. Then he said, “I think there are fleas in here.”

I said something really stupid. “You don’t think this hotel has bedbugs, do you?”

I probably shouldn’t have brought that up.

Not only did we have to fill out forms for an investigation, but we had to leave all of our luggage to be inspected by the hotel’s pest-control staff.

And…I was supposed to stay in the city an extra night with a friend. Have you ever had to make a phone call to a friend and say, “Do you still want me to come stay with you? It’s possible I’m infested with vermin.”

It’s not a fun call to make. But you really find out who your friends are. Mine gallantly told me to come anyway. Of course, she had a hurt leg and had been shut up in her apartment with nothing to do for a couple of days, so it’s possible she was desperate.

I arrived at her house with absolutely nothing but the clothes on my back. I even had to make a stop to buy a toothbrush and toothpaste, because I didn’t intend to carry anything bed-buggy with me that I didn’t have to.

It all came to nothing. No bed bugs.

And, thank God, my mom recovered quickly from her fall and her illness.

Of course, there was still the incident of the cursed socks during this same trip, but that’s a whole other story for another post. And there was still the pit bull puppy, Pete…

Boy, is that another story!

Stay tuned.

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