Sunday I finally hit my breaking point. The ever increasing fly population had finally reached a level I could no longer pretend was not there. The Hubby was growing more and more concerned as he watched me flail, spasm & curse obscenities at an ever increasing rate & volume as flies continued to interrupt my zen time on the back patio. So off to the home improvement store he ran (at full speed) where he bought every non-chemical flying insect warfare essential he could get his hands on. I was thrilled when upon his return I was greeted with a bag full of those glue covered, hanging fly strips, fly bait bags & some other festively colored hanging sticky contraptions. No pet safe Diatomatious Earth to be found, but atleast it was a start.
Away I went, happily hanging the gluey, paper strips in and around the chicken run and patio. Ugly? As sin! But I was well beyond my concern for the aesthetics by now. The festively colored traps I of course put on my patio. Now to hang the hugely effective, and even more so grotesquly smelling, fly bait bags. The Hubs brought me two, sufficient as we haven’t an acreage, nor a half for that matter. Here’s the problem, what this city lot does offer in space, it sorely lacks in trees. There are 4 date palms (I’m guessing as I am not a fan) in the front yard and 1 ginormous palm tree in the backyard. Think of that scene from Beverly Hills Cop when he’s rolling down the street looking up at the palm tree lined street? Yep, we have 1 of those in the backyard, the only use of which is wild bird housing as it stretches it’s one, long, branchless trunk straight up to the sun. So where to hang these 2 bait bags, cause I’m using these bad boys. My first thought goes to the lone clothesline T-pole in the back corner of the yard, opposite the Chicken Yard and smack dab in the dog poop zone. I personally think this is a perfect location and set out to open, fill & hang the bag, being careful to tie it as high up as I can. The second bag proves a wee bit more difficult to find a location for. After consulting with the Hubby we both agree that using a double sided shepherds hook will work. With his help we relocate the existing hook inhabitants to the garage (delicate wind chimes from my aunt) and the hook to just outside the Chicken Yard fencing. Then I hang the bait bag on the hook that reaches over into the Chicken Yard. Viola! Fly warfare is on, let’s do this!!!! Within minutes of placement, all items are collecting flying visitors. Woo Hoo! So we wrap the evening with some family fun around a jigsaw puzzle (yes, we’re those kind of people, occasionally). I rest my head & start the new day relishing the knowledge that I am ridding my sanctuary of annoying, land on you in the same spot over and over, get into everything & drive me crazy, flying insects.
Now fast forward 26 hours or so. Home from work, greeted pups, let chickens & nuggets out for commingled free-range time, collected the days eggs, made & enjoyed dinner, and am now relaxing on my patio. Occasionally I get a waft of stinky bait bag, I assume the breeze opted for a random, but brief, direction change to bring this unpleasant smell into my place of peace. This happens a few times. Then an odd thing occurs, my boxer sidles up next to me for some “needy boy” time and the odor of bait bag becomes undeniably strong. I look out to the yard, confirm both bags are still hanging where I left them and think, no way. But the smell is insistent on staying, so I get a hold of my sweet boys face and give it a sniff. Good God Almighty! What a horrific stench! This is when I stop and take a closer look at the two fly bags, the one hanging over the Chicken Yard is hanging heavy with the rancid liquid while the one hanging on the T-pole appears light in weight as it lazily swings in the breeze. No way, there is no way this beast has managed to get the bait bag, it’s still hanging there. I make my way to the back corner and upon closer inspection I discover he has somehow managed to chew the corner of the bag just enough to break a small hole in it! I am in utter disbelief. How did he manage to do this? The T-pole is a good 6 feet tall, I tied the twine looped at the top of the bag as short as I could, thus leaving the bag, at the very least, 5 feet off the ground. Plenty high, or so I thought. All I can imagine is Bronson standing up on his back feet, on the very tip toe, with a front leg against the pole to steady himself as he cranes his neck back to just reach the corner of the bag. He was determined and tenacious as evidenced by the chewed on 1 inch section of the corner. So then I imagine him standing under the bag lapping up this putrid smelling liquid as it showers down on him.
I hope he relished in his spoils as much as he hated the cold hose bath that followed that night. I don’t know what they put in those bags to make them smell so terrible. All I do know is trying to scrub it off of him was like trying to remove skunk odor. I started with strong smelling flea and tick shampoo, concentrating on his face and chest as he obviously looked up to catch the repulsive rain. Rinse and a quick sniff test verified the malodor would not be so easy to eliminate. My mind starts to run the skunk remover list, vinegar, tomato juice and totally skipped past the tried and true peroxide/baking soda/dish soap solution. Apparently grace under fire I am not. So a splash of vinegar, makes the boy wrinkle his nose and drool a bit, ha pay back. Rinse, sniff and ugh, he still stinks! Baking soda, it’s used to neutralize odors in the fridge, why not on my dogs face. A quick paste of baking soda and water is created for me as our boxer boy and I are now having a contest to see who is stronger as he is trying to break free from my death grip on him. After a serious scrubbing with the baking soda, Brony has decided he has hit his limit of torture and a wrestling match between the two of us ensues. After a very long minute of this nonsense, Bronson finds himself one wiggle away from being hog tied while I am now drenched and way past entertained by this entire process. I want to be done with this just as much as he does. This baking soda paste had better do the trick. I finally get the baking soda rinsed off and give him the sniff test while quietly saying a little prayer. I sniff above his nose, under his chin, both his floppy lips. There is still the faintest aroma but I am not entirely sure it’s not just remnants in my own nose. Good enough. I hand him off to The Kiddo for toweling off, stretch to straighten my back out and catch my breath.
Now that I was no longer hunched over my boy, I was able to notice the yard had become devoid of dogs. I have 2 Golden Retrievers for a couple of weeks while their people are on vacation plus our Shepherd-mix girl. All three girls had headed for the dry ground out of fear of being selected as my next victim. Lucky for them, if they did share in Bronson’s spoils, they were clever enough to not wallow in it as he did. As I headed in to change out of my sodden clothes I gently reassured the girls that they were good dogs and the hose had been turned off and put away for the evening, thus freeing them from the threat of a cold shower.
Unfortunately, at the end of the day, I think the only lessons learned from all of this are exclusively mine. I share with you now, what I learned so that one day you may not find your self in this especially pungent predicament. First and foremost, never hang a fly bait bag where the dogs have access as the noxious smell that lures the pesky flying insects in also proves too strong a temptation for a single-minded pup. Lastly, should you forget the above lesson, be prepared to remove the offensive odor with the miracle solution of 1 quart hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda and 1-2 teaspoons of liquid dish soap (like Dawn). Mix the ingredients and work into the offensive areas, being careful to not get it in the eyes. Let it soak in for at least 5 minutes, rinse, sniff test and repeat if needed.