Ask Ada: Answers on Raising Kids and Killing Fleas

Ask Ada!

Ask Ada!

Today I am beginning a new category on my blog called “Ask Ada” in which I will be answering questions from my readers. Feel free to send me questions about anything–canine, human, or otherwise–or just thoughts that you are paw-ndering on which you would like a little input. You can send me questions by messaging me on Facebook or post them in the comments section at the bottom of this page. My first two questions are below…

Dear Ada,
How do parents end up with such great kids when life hasn’t always been easy, the best of the best, or fair?
Thank you,

Dear Perplexed,
First, I assume you mean human children rather than goats. Hopefully, I’m not turning us both into burros with my assumption! With that out of the way, I must let you know that I love your question, and I’ll also let you know that you’re asking the right dog.

three legged dogI’m no stranger to life’s difficulties. Having been abandoned as a young pup, having lost a leg, having been returned to the vet by my first foster family, and having watched my human family go through the not-easy, the not-best, and the not-fair, I am somewhat of an expert in adversity.

Even though humans might experience an undue share of life’s tragedies, they have one thing that cannot be stolen: Their dignity. I know that might sound a bit cliché, so let me add some more meaning…

Dignity is a state of being. It is the quality that all humans have of being worthy of honor and worthy of respect. Where does this dignity come from? Well, it doesn’t come from other humans, and it doesn’t come from something that any human does to earn it. Rather, dignity is a spiritual endowment.

Some of what I know about oppression is academic... but most of it is experiential.

Some of what I know about oppression is academic… but most of it is experiential.

Oppression and adversity become defined in an emotional sense by the feeling of having one’s dignity trampled–that is, the feeling of worthlessness. So, back to your question: How does one end up with great kids even though life has not always been easy? Because those kids have been taught that they are worth something. They know their dignity has not been stolen. They know they are blessed even in the midst of tragedy.

These children have found out that no matter what happens, they are still worthy of honor and respect. Their parents may have taught them this, or it may have been instilled in them by friends or other role models. If you want to help children—or even adults, for that matter—become great, then help them by telling them that the very spirit that makes them human has tremendous value. Tell them that it is impossible for their spirit to be stolen, and that they are worthy of love, no matter what happens.

humanityAnd, as a grown child, you should know this: If you are ever experiencing the truth that life is not fair, if you are ever going through a terrible time, or even if you have done something terrible yourself, then you are still worthy of love. You still have dignity.

Much love to you, Perplexed.

Dear Ada Mae,
Even though i survived a bout with fleas that my cats dragged in last fall, we are besieged again and losing BADLY. Normally i am the Queen of DIY non-toxic home remedies, but all my tricks are NOT doing the trick this time around. Do you know of an all-natural prescription for our infestation?
Yours truly,
Desperate Enough to Flea the Scene

Dear Desperate,

I admire anypawdy brave enough to try to learn English. I really do.

I admire anypawdy brave enough to try to learn English. I really do.

I’ll forgo my usual explanation of how dogs are better than cats, and I won’t hold it against you. Rather, I’ll skip right to answering your question. I laud your desire to use non-toxic home remedies, as chemicals are often the easy fallback for humans when it comes to killing life forms they deem inappropriate.

There are two items that you will need: food-grade diatomaceous earth (DE) and tea tree oil. The first–DE–is what kills the fleas (in a matter of hours), and the second is what will help to keep them from coming back. You can find food-grade DE at nearly all home and garden stores, and you can find tea tree oil at nearly all natural food stores. Both are also readily available online. Do make sure to purchase food-grade DE, as you don’t want to cause more harm than good.

Diatomaceous earth is sedimentary rock that consists of fossilized diatoms, which are extreeeeeemely tiny hard-shelled algae. Aren't they pretty?

Diatomaceous earth is sedimentary rock that consists of fossilized diatoms, which are extreeeeeemely tiny hard-shelled algae. Aren’t they pretty?

Take the food-grade DE, and sprinkle it around all your pets’ bedding areas (using a sieve or a sifter to help spread it finely). If your cats frequent your personal bed space and have free roam of the house (which is likely, as most cats get to do whatever they want), then you will want to launder your own bedding, and you will want to sprinkle the DE around your carpet as well. Don’t worry. You can literally eat this stuff and it will not harm you.

Also, after the dew dries, you can sprinkle DE around the foundation of your home. Do this frequently during all warm-weather growing seasons, as it must remain dry to be active. A sprinkle outside each day for a few weeks will help out considerably. Last—douse those cats with DE! Rub it in their fur, and do it frequently. Remember that fleas have a long life cycle, and eggs can still be hatching two weeks after the last flea is gone. Finally, one word of caution about DE is that you should try to avoid breathing in the dust it creates, as it is an incredibly fine powder.

Melaleuca alternifolia is the botanical name for the tea tree. The oil has many medicinal uses, and is a staple of all non-toxic home.

Melaleuca alternifolia is the botanical name for the tea tree. The oil has many medicinal uses, and it is a staple of all non-toxic home.

So, what about the tea tree oil? Fleas and ticks don’t like tea tree oil, so as a matter of good practice, dedicate a spray bottle to a mixture of water and a few drops of tea tree oil per each cup of water—then spritz the cats with it after their DE treatment for continued control. Do this every day– especially if your cats don’t like the spray bottle, just so that I can get a little poetic justice on the feline world. You can also spritz tea tree the mixture on your outdoor thresh holds to help prevent fleas from coming in the door uninvited. At the very least, it will make a wonderful smell to invite your guests who are welcome.

I hope this helps, Desperate.

Do let me know how you fare.

——-> Remember to send me a message if you would like your question answered!

I check my “Other” folder each day.

Woof :)

About adamaecompton

just a three-legged rescue dog, bloggin about critical citizenship, the environment, and all sorts of literacy.
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One Response to Ask Ada: Answers on Raising Kids and Killing Fleas

  1. Hillary O'Carroll says:

    Dear Ada,

    Thank you for the words in the first question answered.
    I needed them tonight.

    And perhaps I’ll need the flea advice too someday, though I hope not.

    Love from me and Ru.

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