Two weeks ago, our dear Beau got skunked! We had let him out for his pre-bedtime ritual under the Redwoods. I was tidying up in the kitchen. I noticed he took a little longer than usual. So, I called out to him. It took about a minute or so but I heard the familiar gallop around the side of the house and up the back steps. He came crashing into the kitchen and straight for his bed, which I had just fluffed and covered with a new blanket.
And then the sonorous mephitic assault permeated the kitchen with such venom, I ran out and called my hubby quickly. He was getting settled in bed already.
“Hon, Beau got skunked!”
We frantically googled remedies, potions, and bath concoctions. No, tomato juice does not work. That’s a myth. Yes, first thing you need to know is “DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, LET THE DOG INTO THE HOUSE!”
Too late! We ran back to the kitchen, where we witnessed our big black lug rolling around on his bed, huffing, blowing his nose, growling at no one in particular, and desperately rubbing his face on his bed.
And so it was that the dog had to be bathed past midnight twice over, with an agreed concoction of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and a splash of dish washing liquid slathered and rubbed on his black frame. The bed had to be placed outside. We gathered the towels. and aired them out on the porch. I had to wipe down the kitchen cabinets, just in case. We opened all the windows in the entire house. Then we had to shower ourselves.
Even as we finally crawled into bed way past midnight, we still kept trying to smell ourselves, our sheets, our hands, everything around us. We were at last, too tired to gag.
What a potent weapon that was! I later discovered that skunk spray is a combination of sulfur-containing chemicals, most notably, n-butyl mercaptan. It has the distinctive ability to not just offend but to physically nauseate. And a human nose can smell it up to a mile (1.56 km.) away, down wind, and can linger up to 6 months. It is also inadequately comforting to note that once a skunk has reluctantly released its chemical defense, it will take up to 10 days to replenish enough for a reload.
After several more baths, a frantic call to the gardener experts about luring and trapping, frenzied house cleaning, and sadly, throwing out the previously loved and worn beds, the rank smell is starting to dissipate in the house.
Yesterday, lo and behold, one of the traps contained a dark striped stranger. Could this be he/she? Hubby said it looked very cute. Beau made a tentative approach. We covered the trap with a large box, hoping Beau will not come near it anymore. One would think that he learned from the experience by now. At least, we’d like to think. After all, he still growls at a friend whose dog tried to bite him. And that was years ago.
Thou shalt not re-engage with a stinker, mon coeur! Or we will disown you. Do not be a sucker for abusive encounters.
*Balae – Filipino; what you call the parents of your daughter or son-in-law. I heard from friends that in India, the father of your in-law is a “samdhi” and the mother of your in-law is a “samdin.” Cool!