In This Issue....From the Editor: Expeditions
My First Winter Trip in Antarctica
Canadian Animal Assistance Team in Pond Inlet
Sledge Dog Memorial Fund Update
In the News
Book Review: Dog Days on Ice
Behavior Notebook: Transitions
Product Review: The Tick Key
Tip: Flammable Food
IMHO: The Next Great Thing
Navigating This Site
The Tick Key
by Mark Hamilton
Tick borne diseases such as Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are significant health hazards for humans and animals. Mushing south of the tree line puts both the musher and the dogs at risk, as ticks are active even during the winter months. Sue and I choose to keep tick removers close at hand; we have one in the medical kit in our dog truck and another at home in the dog pantry just inside our back door.
Our most recently purchased tick remover is a product named The Tick Key, and it has proven to be our favorite. Why is it our favorite? First, it works, and it's really quick and easy to use. Second, it's durable, made from a single piece of sturdy aluminum, neither flimsy nor breakable as with plastics. Third, it's available in five bright colors: Green, Blue, Orange, Purple and Red. So if you drop it somewhere, it's easier to find.
To remove a tick you simply put the large part of that odd shaped hole in The Tick Key over the area where the tick is attached. You slide the remover toward you while lightly pressing the remover against the skin. The tick slides into the thin slotted area of the hole. Just about the time you start trying to be careful to get the tick all the way to the bottom of the slot you realize that the tick, including its head, has already been detached from the skin. And that's exactly how it went for me the first time I used The Tick Key. The tick was attached to a feral cat that was not especially tolerant of my handling. I was alone with the cat and one of my hands had to be used to restrain the cat. That tick was removed – head and all - on the first try, and I didn't get scratched or bit.
As some of the trails we run are narrow and wind through underbrush where ticks can reside, this fall I began carrying The Tick Key full-time on my person. For security and convenience I mounted it on a fly-fisherman's "retracto" which I clip to the watch pocket on my jeans. The Tick Key hangs inside my right side pocket where it is easily reached. The "retracto" has enough cord length to allow me full arm extension, so my Tick Key is easy to use.
The Tick Key costs $5.00 USD plus $2.50 shipping within the United States. For other countries, contact the company through their website, by email, by phone: 203 228-7923 or by traditional mail at: The Tick Key, 50 Altair Avenue, Plymouth, CT 06782 USA
Is there a useful product you'd like to tell everyone about? Email your experience to firstname.lastname@example.org or snail-mail it to Mark Hamilton, 55 Town Line Road, Harwinton, CT 06791, USA.