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Skunked

Check out this story from a GRIT reader about the day a skunk crossed the path of a girl and her puppy.

| July/August 2020

skunk
Photo by Flickr/GoToVan

I grew up on a 70-acre farm in central Ohio. We had cows, chickens, horses, and a mule team rescued from an auction. I have such fond memories of my childhood.

On my sixth birthday, I was elated when my parents gave me an adorable 3-month-old fox terrier. I pondered what to name him as the pup licked my cheek and I stroked his head. Suddenly, the puppy jumped from my lap and raced to the front door. As soon as I opened the screen door, he sprinted across the porch and chose Mom’s flower bed as his target. In less than a minute, he raced back to me and dropped a poppy flower at my feet. I named him Poppy. While my folks put a wire mesh fence around the flower patch, I played with Poppy and was pleased when he responded to his new moniker. 

One summer evening, Poppy and I had an encounter with a skunk on the way to secure the chicken house at dusk. Skunks love chicken eggs. When the skunk crossed our path, Poppy began barking and the skunk retaliated by spraying him. “Poppy’s been skunked,” I screamed, and we raced to the house.



Mom de-skunked Poppy with a mixture of baby shampoo and baking soda, rinsed him three times in tomato juice, and then followed up with a warm water rinse. She sniffed his fur and said, “I believe there’s a little bit of magic in tomato juice. I can only smell a hint of skunk odor.” Poppy no longer smelled of skunk. He joined us in the kitchen for breakfast. I scooped Poppy into my arms and giggled, “He smells like a salad.”

I’m relieved there were no more skunk encounters. Even though it was never needed again, Mom always kept tomato juice on hand just in case.





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