Only in this episode, nothing got actually got killed, but maybe we learned a lesson about the dangers of killing? One can only hope.
I was out for an evening with a couple of my girl friends and was coming home late – way past my bedtime. I let both dogs out to do their business before bed and didn’t even bother leashing Maggie, figuring they know the drill: pee and come back in.
Moments later I heard a couple high pitched barks from the far corner of the yard- I opened the door and called the dogs. Maggie came right in. Nothing from Suzie except I could hear her tags clinking and jingling over and over in that far corner. “Suzie. Suzie. SUZIE! COME NOW!” Nothing but some more jingling in the distance as though she is rolling around on the ground. Hmmm. This is a very typical response from Maggie- the not coming the minute I call- but not Suzie. Dread begins sinking in.
I decide to load the dishwasher while I wait, knowing she will appear any second. And sure enough, a forlorn little face shows up at the patio door and the second I opened the door it was very clear what had happened.
Amazingly in my 12 years of being a dog owner, this is our first skunk incident. But incident it was. The poor bitch got sprayed right in her face, which must have hurt like crazy because she’s been scratching her eyes because of her seasonal allergies and has open sores all around them. Poor thing!! Of course she reeks and is in pain and is frantic to come inside. And yes, it happens to be a night my cousin is (trying to) sleep upstairs so I feel doubly bad about the yipping to come in but I cannot possibly let her in until I’m ready to deal with the horrible smell.
I quickly google “skunk bath” and find the one that recommends a solution that I actually have the ingredients for. I consider doing this outside with the hose and kiddie pool, but it is midnight now and I can’t see a thing out there. Bathtub it is. I start the water and clear all the towels and rugs out of the bathroom and draw the shower curtain back and cover it with the liner. I’m not taking any risks here. I change into crappy painting clothes that I will happily throw away if they get skunked in this process. I find a pair of heavy duty plastic gloves and put those on. I mix up this solution, grab a leash, and lead in the pathetic reeking victim.
I feel horrible washing her face because of the open sores – but it is clear that’s where she took the brunt of the spray. Suzie tolerated the bath and the very thorough, repeated face washing and the stern lecturing about what we should do in the future if we ever see a critter like that (NEVER GO NEAR THEM AGAIN). She did seem quite apologetic and even more cooperative than usual. I dried her off with the rag towels and crated her for the night (not knowing how bad the smell would still be lingering in the morning).
Naturally Maggie reminded me in the morning why SHE is the one who gets crated every night now (two pee puddles to clean up – the old girl just cannot hold it through the night if she isn’t crated). Suzie smells faintly of skunk when you stick your nose right up to her but not horribly so. I think we’ll do another bath with the solution and see if that solves it. I also think I can officially endorse this skunk bath solution because it did seem to work pretty effectively.
Growing up, our dog Holly used to get skunked occasionally and I remember trying a lot of different things to get her to smell better. I will say though, the advantage to outdoor dogs is that they don’t stand outside whining when they reek. They just reek while still sleeping in the great outdoors as they always do. Not so with an indoor dog who isn’t accustomed to sleeping outdoors (with or without the stench). No sir, indoor dogs require much more immediate remediation of the stench if anyone in the neighborhood wants to sleep.
As it happens, living in the country with killers is great when there is a random chipmunk in your living room or when there’s a mouse with his face in the trap and you don’t know what to do with it, and it is significantly less awesome when there’s a skunk in the yard. Never ever a dull moment at the Little House on the Hill. Although lately I find myself praying for dulled senses.