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A Skunk Tale

| 3/23/2012 9:38:25 AM

Traci Smith headshotSeveral weeks ago on a Wednesday night, after getting home from work and finishing up the chores, I went inside to start supper. Maggie and Boone, our dogs, decided they wanted to go out, so I let them out. A few minutes later, I heard them barking, which is normal, but this was a different bark.

Seconds later – and I mean seconds – I smelled what I thought was a gas leak. Deciding the dogs would be OK for a few minutes, I started looking for a leak. The smell was so strong, it was hard to breathe. Needing fresh air, I went to the door and walked outside. Turns out the “gas leak” was actually a skunk – in the yard, chasing the dogs. Before I knew what was happening, the skunk turned and sprayed again, this time hitting Maggie. Luckily, Boone didn’t get sprayed.

Maggie and Boone
Our loyal and mischievous Labrador Retrievers, Maggie and Boone. 

I have never seen a skunk chase a dog, let alone two 100-pound black Labs, so I was pretty sure it was rabid. I hollered for the dogs and got them in the house. Bad idea, I know, but I didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t want to take a chance of them getting bit by a rabid skunk. So, now, in addition to having a tough time breathing, my eyes were watering, I felt sick, and I had both dogs right beside me, letting me know they were protecting me. You’ve got to love their loyalty!

Leaving the dogs inside, I went back outside. No skunk in sight. The only sign of it was the lingering smell. Well, you can’t shoot a skunk if you can’t see it, but you can trap it – if you’re lucky. We weren’t lucky. We set a trap, but never saw the skunk again, although his “perfume” stuck around for about a week and a half.

I didn’t think the skunk had got close enough to the dogs to bite them, but I didn’t want to take any chances, so I called the vet the next morning and told him what happened. He checked their records, and they were up to date on their rabies vaccinations, but he had us bring them in for a booster anyway. He chuckled when I told him Maggie had been sprayed, and then he gave me a recipe that I will always treasure.

4/19/2012 8:05:00 PM

We had an English Shepherd that went after a skunk in Dad's scrap iron pile and pulled it out by the tail and killed it, the whole time the skunk was spraying her. It was a long time before we could get around her.

4/9/2012 5:23:00 PM

Well, I certainly appreciate this timely piece! Our weimaraner Kaiser had a close encounter with a skunk in our backyard the other night, and promptly ran through the doggy door rubbing his face on the rugs, carpet and then our bedding in the bedroom! My husband immediately put him into the shower, and then removed the rugs to the patio. I returned home early the next morning and also thought there was a gas leak. My husband then informed me of Kaiser's mis-adventure. It's been a week since he was sprayed and I have washed everything I can with baking soda, but the smell is still lingering. I was considering using Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning this week. On the testimonials it says that they are successful in removing cat urine, so maybe "eau de skunk" as well? Anyone have experience with that? Thanks for the de-skunking recipe!

3/25/2012 2:36:25 PM

Traci, welcome to the GRIT blog community. I'm already looking forward to your next post. I've only had a couple encounters with skunks both were not connected with any spraying. My wife discovered the odor of skunk spray that gets into a car when traveling down the highway can be eradicated by lighting up a regular sulphur based match. We always carried them in the car and she would bring them out and light one up and blow it out after the sulphur burned away and the smell would be gone. Well, the sulphur smell would linger for a time but it was much less pungent than the skunk smell. :0) Have a wonderful skunk free day.

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