So I was out with a bunch of friends the other night, and this couple–friends and clients of mine–said they had something to tell me. "Something happened." It seemed serious, so initially I thought something terrible might have happened to Eddie*, their dog , but they had slight smirks on their faces, so I calmed.
Since my family just returned from a California vacation that included Legoland, it seemed like a natural conversation-starter that Mark began by telling me that they recently spent four days at Legoland. "Wow! Did you have fun?" I inquired.
"Well, yes. It was great, but..." he gave Jodi a look. "Well, I have this buddy. He's a career bachelor and has had dogs all of his life. He has two, and Eddie gets along great with them. He offered to take Eddie while we were gone, and I thought, 'awesome! Free pet sitting.'"
Again, I feared the worst. Had the dogs fought? Was Eddie okay? "No biggie," I said. "Who would pass up free pet sitting? Sounds like a great situation. Did something go wrong?" Didn't Mark and Jodi know that you get what you pay for? I've been to this rodeo before. Clients may cheat, but they always come back. Something always happens.
"He came back...um...with ticks," Mark announced.
"Complete infestation," Jodi added. "And we didn't know for over a week."
I'm not sure what my face looked like, but I'm guessing it was one of sympathy mixed with a dash of "ha-ha," which is exactly how I felt. But, of course, I was concerned about Eddie. "Oh my God! Is Eddie okay?" I asked with a giggle.
"Yeah, he's fine. He will be. He's just chewing himself alive right now because he's in the scabby stage," Mark told me.
"The groomer found hundreds," Jodi elaborated. "The first time I saw one, I was plugging in the vacuum to an outlet in the living room and a tick literally jumped out of the socket. I knew right then and there that we had a big issue."
"Wow. I'm so sorry." I was.
Jodi went on. "They found them in Eddie's paw pads and growing in the pits of his legs. He was literally being eaten alive. The exterminator sprayed the inside and outside of our house multiple times because–just our luck–ticks multiply quite quickly in this dry, hot AZ environment we live in. They can actually survive weeks without a food source."
They went on to tell me about multiple vet visits, multiple "dips," and a complete home extermination. "We've spent hundreds of dollars," Mark said. "It would have been less expensive to hire you."
"Cheaters never win," I joked. "Ain't karma a bitch?"
"Yep," Jodi agreed. "Our attempt to save a little money on a pet sitter ended up costing us over $500.00, hours of frustration, and some serious strain on a friendship for failing to disclose to us that his dogs had ticks! We asked ourselves 'Why didn't we just call Kristen?' So, basically, we'll never have anyone except...YOU...watch Eddie again."
"Solid plan," I said.
We laughed and toasted to my job security and to Eddie's speedy recovery.
*Names have been changed.