Flies on Teddy

Teddy at our farm in Lyn, Ontario, on one snowy winter day – lying on his favorite couch out on the front porch with a rooster friend.

Teddy was one of those impulsive decisions that worked out. I was actually working on a Saturday shift with two developmentally challenged ladies the day I met Teddy. It was the early summer of 2001, and we were yard-saling (a favorite Saturday activity) when we stopped in at a farm about which I had heard near Prescott. It was a rescue mission for stray dogs.  Ian was just in the beginning stages of building our new farmhouse on our 220 acres at the end of Pettem Road. We owned two dogs, Sally and Kayla (collie mixes adopted from the local animal shelter), but they were both getting on in years, and I was considering adopting a third dog, a younger dog, who would help with predator control and so  on on our budding farm.

We pulled into the rescue farm and soon met Teddy. The lady who operated the mission said he was approximately 2 years old, part Shepherd and part Akita. Teddy didn’t waste any time climbing into the back of the van! We all laughed — it looked as if Teddy had found a new home.

We drove Teddy to the site of the new farm, where Ian was busily laying in the foundation. Teddy soon became an important part of farm life. Not an aggressive dog, he made a good second to our various females. First, he backed up Sally and Kayla, then after they passed away, Great Pyrs Rebecca and Rachel. He tolerated Alex (pure border collie) and Rufus (lab mix we inherited from Ian’s parents) when they joined the group — it’s hard to say which of those three was actually in control.

Teddy moved to our house on Hollow Mountain Road in Nova Scotia in the fall of 2011. Then to our store in Smiths Cove. Then more recently to our new house in Deep Brook.

Teddy, by our estimate, is likely 15 years old. This is old for a large-breed dog; it would convert to mid-90s in human years. He is slow and arthritic but still very pleasant, most of the time, as long as he is not pestered too much. He enjoys lying in the cool grass, napping, watching birds and animals as they go by.

One night, after four days of steady rain, Teddy began whimpering in a strange way. When I investigated, I was appalled to discover that he was the victim of fly strike — or myiasis. A fly had laid eggs on him, and maggots had hatched. We had seen this off and on at the farm, mainly with our sheep and angora goats. Especially with the ones that were old and infirm to start with!

Fortunately Teddy had received a good haircut in late April before going into the kennel (we put the dogs in the kennel before we left on our trip to Florida to pick my mother up for her big move back to Canada).  Flies love to lay their eggs in long, moist hair.  What hair he had left had soaked up the rain over the four rainy days, and it had obviously been a magnet for the flies.

Poor Teddy became the victim of a number of remedies, as well as another clipping around the affected area. At the farm, we had found that iodine spray was an excellent remedy for fly strike – it both killed maggots and treated infection.  Fortunately we still had some of that on hand. I also used a combination of calamine lotion (to create a fly-proof barrier on his skin), antibiotic creams and lotions, flea spray and insect spray. Anything to create an environment that discouraged flies.

Teddy came with us to the store over the next few days so that we could keep a close eye on him to ensure that there were no further infestations.

It is hard not to feel sorry for him. All he wants to do at this point in his life is enjoy his quiet retirement years. And who can blame him!

Teddy at Noah’s Farm in Lyn, Ontario, with a young Great Pyrenees, Rebecca


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