"Hi, are you in bed yet?"
"No, what's up?"
"I found a tick on Stella. It's big. Will you take it off for me?"
"Okay, great. I'll be there in ten."
This is what constitutes a Call-A-Friend emergency in my house. Most women call a friend when they find a lump or their husband in bed with another woman but for this country girl, I call Jane when I find a tick on the old dog.
Jane simply jams her sharp thumb nail under the big, grey blood-bloated tick and snaps. With a quick ripping sound, the tick is off the dog and in her hand. My competent friend.
"Give me a minute, then I want to see it," I say. I need a moment for the heebie-geebies induced by the sound of the tick removal to clear my body before I can examine it.
I have to see it, have to see how big it is, how long the damn thing was on the dog. Not a skin tag!
"This is Stella's third tick since we moved here," I tell Jane. "But she hardly goes into the woods. Not like Abby who is in and out of the woods constantly." Which is why Abby gets tick medicine and not Stella.
"Abby moves too fast for the ticks to grab her!" Jane laughs. Likely she is right. If you're a tick and you drop onto Abby, you'd better be braced for a rocket ride. Much easier to get on the slow old locomotive doing the milk run that is Stella.
Ha, that reminds me: When Stella was ten weeks old and I would take her for walks down Pugwash Point Road, any person who called out to us, she would sit down. If she couldn't run to them because she was leashed, she sat down as if to wait for them to come to her. I started to introduce her as "Stella Stop A Lot". Now she is ten years old and earning that nickname again.
Jane went with me when I picked up the kitten last fall; he was covered in fleas so we stopped at her house and she washed him.
"Competent people always get wet," I told her then, looking at her shirt.
Competent people also get ticked off. Lucky for me.