Skunk spray smells much worse, especially if it’s permeating your living space. Let me give you a little background before I tell today’s story. We live near what surely must be a skunk migration area, and are now somewhat used to the smell. We still aren’t fans of it, though, and perhaps it’s because we rarely get a break from the scent. In fact, I’m not sure you can travel through the valley on any given day without smelling it once or twice or more. One of the biggest things I miss about living in other places … the smell of green or rain and not much else. I’m used to rural smells, and even kind of like to detect a very light tinge of manure in the air now and then, but it seems there is less to balance things out here. I mean, in other places, you don’t smell the pigs or the cows until you’re very near them. Trees seem to block the dairy air reasonably well. In the South, honeysuckle and jasmine were common scents in the warmer months. Skunk sprays were a rare, unwelcome accident. A skunk on the road was to be avoided, not something to target fixate your car towards.
There are worse scents to be found, even locally, although that’s a matter of opinion. Unfortunately sometimes the wind blows them our direction. Most of the sources employ a number of people. I guess skunks do, too if you consider animal control and products to deter skunks or remove their calling cards. I have even met people that weirdly like the smell of polecat, as they’re known in other locales, because “it reminds them of Cache Valley”. One was a German lady that had never smelled skunk before living here. It was a novel thing for her. She travels the world and lives in other places most of the time, but every year she visits and likes to catch a whiff while she enjoys the gorgeous mountain scenery. Personally I love it here, too, but the high skunk population is part of the “pros” column when it comes to advantages and disadvantages of moving elsewhere. By the way, we might have to leave for work, so I’ve been trying to make my peace with our potential migration … and while this recent incident could have happened almost anywhere in The States, I think the odds are exponentially higher here. The cons look a bit smaller on days like today at least.
So now that I’ve explained all that, here’s what happened …
My dog wanted out at 2 am this morning. I have been thinking we need to cut back on letting her in and out so much since it’s tampering with our limited sanity. Unfortunately I’m not the best at enforcing my own ideas, especially if they seem like rules. Besides, dogs can do a nice job of deterring critters that might otherwise get into places we’d rather not have them. I could do without having raccoons living under the roof again. I decided to be nice and let her out for a sniff one last time before we called it lights out. She’d already been out not long before, and I really should have denied her request. Let’s just say, she got a nose full, and so did we.
When I opened the door to let her back in, the aroma of skunk perfumed the yard as it often does … only this time, my dear puppy was near the bushes, frantically rubbing her face in the grass. My assumptions were confirmed, although luckily it didn’t seem she’d been sprayed at full strength. Though I never saw it, I imagine the skunk was in the bushes when it sprayed and perhaps the branches diffused things a bit, thankfully. She does have a medium to longish white coat, and I’ve never been so thankful that it sheds so easily. I’d even have been tempted to shave her, but the hair on her face is pretty short as it is, so I don’t think it’d help. I remembered once seeing a skunk smell removal product for pets at Wal-Mart a while back, thinking we might one day need it. Wal-mart is open all the time, and there are two in town. Of course after we piled in the car, already tired, in hopes of picking up such a product … neither store had it in stock and nothing else was open. Yeah, that’s just how our luck goes most of the time.
Keep in mind this is an indoor dog, and our town is working on noise ordinances that include barking dogs and related fines, especially for those running loose. I also love my neighbors, and like us, many of them have chickens or other small animals that bored dogs don’t play nice with, so letting her run around unattended isn’t an option. We’re on a main road, and even if she stinks, I don’t want to see my dog run over … though some might consider it a mercy killing in this situation. She has a tie-out cord, but it gets caught on everything, and her barking about it would wake the neighbors (as if the roosters crowing isn’t enough). Our attention-spoiled dog does not like to spend much time away from her people, either. She barks to be let in, louder and louder until her wish is granted. We have no outside kennel, and no money to build one she could not escape from.
This dog also really hates baths, and tried to run away from us when she realized her torture was far from over. Honestly, I’d planned to wash her earlier, and I would have been pretty annoyed if I’d done a good job only to have this happen. See, procrastination has an upside, too! That’s my new excuse, by the way. We ended up bathing her with what we had … baby shampoo. Baby shampoo contains citric acid, which many others recommend for reducing skunk smell. Some even say to wash your dog with soda pop. Wait, people drink something that can possibly remove skunk smell???
Unfortunately, we’ve been heavily avoiding and cutting back on the fizz, so there was none in the house to try. I suspect it wouldn’t have done that much, though. I’ve also heard some combination of peroxide, vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and tomato juice can help … but googling revealed that most remedies could only do so much, and at best, you’d probably wind up with the smell of skunk mixed with whatever you used. Weirdly enough, the baby shampoo did help temporarily, but not enough to prevent me from associating it with skunk smell from here on out. Some people claimed a product called TECNU would do the trick, but I’ve never seen it before. Hopefully while J is out running errands today he can find something better than what we already have on hand. Surely the farm & outdoor stores have something.
Honestly, it could be worse, but I still feel like everything in the house, including us, stinks! I think it may last a while. Good thing our carpet is raggedy and old, so I won’t be sad if we have to strip it out. This, after washing the dog, ourselves, and our clothes … and keep in mind, we and the house did not get sprayed directly! Skunk spray is powerful stuff, and it can spread to other things pretty easily. I’m glad the weather is warming up. We can at least air things out and there are plenty of excuses to get some fresh air during the day while those black and white striped kitties are less active. Hopefully Pepe Le Pu will avoid our place, too, but I’m not holding my breath … OK, maybe I am, for obvious reasons!