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This is the second of two columns describing what everyone’s favorite Zich family member has been up to since we moved to Virginia last summer. Our dog, Glory, has kept us as busy as ever, and only now can I manage to laugh at one episode in particular.

Last October, Glory started to itch … and itch … and itch. Her main form of exercise was scratching, anytime she was awake and sometimes while she slept.

We took a peek at what was going on underneath that long coat of fur to confirm our suspicions that fleas had set up camp all over our dog’s body.

Ron and I responded with every flea-ridding product on the market. First, he gave her one of many showers using flea shampoo.

I then adorned her neck with a new flea collar and put some flea and tick-killing drops on her for added insurance. Still, she scratched.

Ron was brave enough to check her daily for fleas, but I gave up after the first glance at the wiggling black dots that appeared to multiply before my eyes. I knew it was only a matter of time before they looked for other warm bodies in our home to attack.

The fleas decided to pick on me first, biting my ankles first thing in the morning as I prepared my coffee. That afternoon, I sprinkled “all natural” flea-killing powder on the downstairs carpet.

By “all natural,” I’m referring to the product’s promise to rid our house of fleas without being potentially harmful to any other living creature. From what I read on the label, the powder was practically edible.

It settled into my carpet, refused to come out no matter how many times I vacuumed and didn’t do anything to diminish the flea population.

Ron continued to give Glory showers using flea shampoo, but that was his sole contribution at such an early point in the invasion. That was before anyone besides Glory and me had been bitten, and the fleas hadn’t made their way upstairs yet.

My last solo effort involved setting off three bug-killing “bombs” and staying out of the house while the toxic chemicals worked their magic. It was a good excuse to go shopping until the kids came home from school.

Glory spent the morning outside, where more fleas found their way into her shiny, clean fur.

The only fleas we found upon re-entering the battle zone were pathetic little bugs wriggling around and gasping their last breath. I thought victory was mine, but I was wrong.

Within days, they were biting at my ankles again. I even found a flea on the rug in the upstairs bathroom but tried to convince myself he had hitched a ride on my socks.

When Ron came home from work that evening, he noticed the little flecks on that same rug were moving. He shook the rug out over the bathtub to confirm his suspicions that fleas rather than “sock fuzz” were attached to it.

From that moment on, I was relieved of my duties. Placing himself in charge, Ron enlisted the entire family in carrying out what I have termed Operation Flea-Free.

As our leader, he was responsible for going out and finding the appropriate weapons and coming up with a strategy to rid our house of pests once and for all.

My first effort to bomb the house was nothing in comparison to the zeal he brought to the battlefront.

Whereas I had set off a mere three bombs, he purchased at least a dozen. He and the boys set the bombs off in the upstairs, downstairs and in the garage.

We all abandoned quarters for a few hours while the fumes were released.

Glory was again left to wander the backyard, but her fur was no longer a welcome mat for fleas. She had been professionally “dipped” and even clipped the day before.

It was such a new experience for her that she was too confused to dig under the backyard fence and escape while we were away.

We returned to a home filled with dead fleas and their future offspring (eggs). They were too small for our eyes to see but still required a massive cleanup.

Satisfied that the job was done, our leader settled down in front of the television with his troops. I, on the other hand, was beginning a project of my own: Operation Flea-Cleanup.

It was time to get out the vacuum cleaner again.

A mother of three boys, Pam Zich has moved eight times in 16 years of marriage to her Marine Corps husband. They have been stationed in various locations, including Okinawa, California, Texas and their current home in Springfield, Va. E-mail her at homefront@stripes.osd.mil or find the Zichs online at www.lifeonthehomefront.com.


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