the barn in fall

the barn in fall

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Nikita got skunked last night.  I knew it from the first vague whiff, without even opening the back door and being felled by the odor.  It had to be the dog.  We're pretty far off the road and there's not much traffic, so skunks never seem to get hit by cars.  Dogs are about the only other thing that pisses them off. 

Cats know enough to stay away; in fact, cats aren't eager to meet any wild animal unless they intend to kill it.  It's likely one or two of my cats saw this skunk last night and crouched in the weeds, muttering, "Crap, it's you again.  Get out of my territory.  And wash yourself, why don't you?  You stink."  Cats are smart.

Dogs, on the other hand, will dash up to any critter just to get a reaction, the more startled the better.  Sort of a tag-you're-it mentality.  Wonderful fun, if you're another dog.  Not so much if you're a deer or a rabbit.  But if you're a skunk, then you're the one thinking, "Crap, it's you again.  Get out of my territory."  And then you raise your tail and make it happen.

Some dogs learn their lesson.  Mine don't.  So here's what I've learned:  Tomato juice turns your dog pink.  A pink, stinky dog is offensive in two senses.  Vinegar makes your dog smell like . . .well, really bad.  Like pickled skunk.  Whoever came up with these solutions had a light case of skunk odor and a black dog.

I rely on chemicals that claim to neutralize the scent.  Claim, because I've never achieved total neutralization.  They contain hope-inducing ingredients like citric acid and pine oil extract, and "fragrance."  I'll have to trust them on that last one, but I wouldn't call the result fragrant.  After a good dose, Nikita smells like a combination of modeling clay and Old Spice, heavy on the clay.  Not great, but better than skunk.  And she's not pink.

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