Friday, October 15, 2010

Bad News.... Skunked Again

I turn twelve the year our family moved to New Jersey from the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio. When we moved into our new home late that summer, one of the first things mom told us was what to do if we got sprayed by a skunk. Half of our 3/4 acre lot was tree, with house and yard in the front half of the property. We played incessantly in the woods behind our back yard, and if we happened to get skunked we were supposed to take our clothes off there in the woods and yell to mom from behind the bushes there. What she was really saying was, "If you get sprayed by a skunk, stay out of the house!!!!!!"

Well, I guess we got lucky. Never got sprayed all those years, though the Browns next door had once gotten a skunk trapped in their attached garage, which became a little dicey. Even that one was successfully extricated without incident.

So, when we moved to a rural property in Northern Minnesota in 1993, the lessons of my childhood were resurrected. I do not recall the time of year, but Susie and the kids had gone to Dallas to visit her sister's family. We had a dog named Lady at the time. For some reason, both dogs and people seem required to learn things the hard way. I had opened the front door to let Lady out to go pee, and she took off running, making a beeline up across the front lawn. It was dusk but I could still make out the black and white trouble she was heading for.

Even though I've since been told its a myth that tomato soup or tomato paste is what you use to clean off skunk smell, at the time that is what I thought to do. I tied Lady up and ransacked the pantry for cans of tomato related products. She hung her head as I globbed all this stuff over her and rubbed it in. After washing her off, it seemed like she didn't smell so bad.

So last night, guess what? Our dog Hobo is a rambunctious, high energy species, half blue healer or Australian cattle dog. She, too, only learns lessons the hard way. And she, too, had her first encounter with a stinky little black and white neighbor of ours who has been coming around a lot lately.

It happened fast. I opened the door to let her out for the last time of the evening. We wanted to hit the hay early because we're al a bit tired and needed a little extra rest. In the darkness I heard Hobo running fast toward the north, barking her fool head off like she often does when chasing a rabbit or sees a deer. Suddenly, no sound and I knew even before the stench came that she met a formiddable foe.

The skunk smell is quite strong when you pass their dead carcasses on the road, but that is nothing like when you have it right there in your house. Oh, yes, that is the bad part. My son came running upstairs from the basement asking what happened. The whole basement stinks. I had gone out front to confirm and Hobo was slinking back to me. Unfortunately, Micah opened the door to see what was going on and Hobo scrambled quickly into the house. She has a habit of hiding under my desk when she has been a bad dog. Note to reader: incense does not adequately cover up a skunk smell in your office.

We did get Hobo back outside as quick as possible... and Micah found the following recipe for cleaning skunk smell off your dog. It begins with the advice, "Forget tomato juice." Hmmm.

Here's another web page on dealing with skunk odors.

Here's yet another page, aptly titled "Help! My Dog's Been Skunked.".

None of the websites mentioned this, but it is most helpful if you have a willing and able son who can take charge with the cleanup. Thank you, Micah.
Note: Soup Can by Andy Warhol. Used without permission until I find replacement image.

1 comment:

milimod said...

Ouch!! Hey, ever notice how similar diesel exhaust and skunk spray are, when you get a whiff of it on the interstate? My husband's aunt and I argued for a good five minutes over what we were smelling en route to a family reunion a few years ago. I let her win because she's over 80. We could afford to argue, of course, because the little patch of "peww" was quickly behind us.