I had a job as a meter reader
with a large natural gas company,
in southern Ontario.
My first job, a good job.
I had just graduated from high school.
At that time,
Natural Gas meters were installed in people's basements,
slowly being transferred to the
exterior later in the 70's.
For some unknown reason,
meter readers were trusted like policemen.
All we had to do was,
knock on the door a few times,
open the door and yell,
and walk in.
You were welcomed into the house
and led down the stairs,
if no one was home, you just walked in anyways.
People even left a set of keys with the company so we could get in and read it at any time they weren't home.
This is one such house.
I walked up to the door.
Rang the bell!
I unlocked the door,
with the key and walked in.
I went directly to the basement door.
And descended the stairs.
A female dog came to greet me.
Wagging her tail.
Obviously feeding puppies by the look of her.
She was very friendly.
I read the meter and
walked over to the blanket,
to where the puppies were.
The poor little things, came scrabbling to my feet.
Yelping happier than little pigs in shit,
along with her mother.
I bent down to pat them and
realized they were covered in fleas.
Millions of them.
That's when I felt something under my pant legs.
Thousands started climbing my legs.
I am not exaggerating. There were millions.
Hundreds on my hands,
hopping up my arm sleeves and in my hair.
In my face.
I ran outside as fast as I could.
Getting to the curb,
I literally undressed right there and then.
I had been bit, hundreds of times!
After putting my boots and uniform back on and
feeling somewhat comfortable that I had rid them all.
I continued on my way, after all I was at work.
But... I was mad, angry.
I didn't give it another thought.
The bites disappeared in a few days.
I mentioned it to my fellow employee's.
They all got a good chuckle out of it.
This is one regret that has shadowed me,
all my life.
Right up until now writing this post.
Those poor puppies.
That poor poor mother.
What they had to endure.
I should have stepped in to save them.
SPCA didn't have the resources
or the authority to deal with flea infestations
at the time, I don't know if they do now.
They certainly have more power than they did back then.
That is no excuse.
I could have done something.
But I didn't. I'm sure the dogs suffered.
Chances are they probably died.
What can I say?
Regrets, I've had a few...