Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Stepping on the tail of the mouse

This time of year it is a joy to wade down the river.  Its shady and cool.  The wild roses along the bank are in full bloom.  And best of all, for some reason that I don't understand, the horseflies never seem to follow us there. 
Horseflies are one of the big reasons I never wear shorts when I'm working outside.  Whether I'm stacking wood or in the garden .. in shade or full sun ... without a long sleeved cotton shirt and Dad's old tilley hat with the bug net the horse flies would make me utterly miserable.
Which is of course just one more good argument for not having chained and penned dogs outside.   It isn't enough to provide shade and access to water.  Straight sweet and simple, its inhumane to leave any dog to the mercies of deer and horseflies.
Lee Valley has Deer Fly Patches that are basically a fancy double sided tape that stick to the back of one's hat and trap the ones buzzing around people's heads.  While they wouldn't provide one iota of protection for a dog stuck in a fixed area, they might provide a bit of relief for anyone hiking along at a brisk pace with their pups.
Of course, around here very few folks are seen walking their dogs at mid day at this time of year.   Dog lovers get out early before the bugs get too thick ... or wait until after the heat of the day.
Like any battle .. the war waged against horseflies has to be fought on all fronts .. and it really makes me happy to see companies like Savon Sage offering better solutions.   
For a long time, I've found eucalyptus oil to be very effective at deterring mosquitoes ... I'm not a scientist but I suspect it works because the strong scent masks our own.   Tea tree oil is also effective, but the eucalyptus is generally about a quarter of its cost.  And pennyroyal paste is a time honored cure that dates back to colonial times at least. 
But the only effective solution is to minimize the amount of time that pets are outside.  
What time is it?  Its time to stop simply feeling sorry for dogs on the end of a chain and urge your MLA to get onside with anti tethering legislation.
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.  Bishop Desmond Tutu (1931- ), Nobel Prize for Peace 1984

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