October 25th, 2021

Getting skunked a real stinker


By Al Beeber on October 2, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

I’m sure many of us have been skunked in one game or many over the years but a couple of weeks ago, I got skunked in a completely different sense.
It was actually the dog who got it but the whole house suffered as a result. And the smell of skunk up close is far more powerful and rotten than I’d ever thought imaginable.
The odour of a dead skunk in the road cannot match the overpowering awfulness of that smell on dog fur after a close encounter.
Fortunately, I guess, when my German shepherd Rio got nailed, the skunk was on the other side of the fence.
By the odour lingering the next day, I suspect the animal was hanging around the garbage can in my driveway. I’ve since learned a skunk has been wandering the neighbourhood and may live under a shed in a nearby alley.
Rio is a night owl who regularly stays outside and awake for much of the night.
His sharp ears have alerted us – and everyone else on the block – to car prowlers and other unsavoury nocturnal activity for years. Everyone knows Rio’s bark and they know he doesn’t do it for entertainment.
Unfortunately, he didn’t bark when a licence plate was stolen off a vehicle in the driveway in broad daylight earlier this week so I’m thinking his hearing might be selective.
I wish his nose was selective becasuse with the skunk, his curiosity prompted him to wander off the deck where he was snoozing and do some investigating. Suddenly, he came bounding into the house, reeking like burned rubber mixed with death.
The smell was indescribable. It literally took my breath away and running outside didn’t help because the whole yard reeked from the skunk’s release.
I’ve never smelled anything so rotten, and that includes the time in Ontario I accidentally left a minnow bucket in the trunk of my car for two hot and humid days.
And Rio of course did what he always does when he comes inside the house – he plopped down in one room then moved to another, then a third, eventually settling beside the sofa where I’d gone to escape him to no avail.
A late-night online search suggested pouring vinegar into bowls to get rid of the smell in the house.
It was too late to head out in search of dog shampoo so that remedy had to suffice.
And it helped wherever Rio wasn’t but loyally laiying beside me for the rest of an agonizing sleepless night made what little remained of the night insufferable.
The Scentsy things that were lit in a few rooms didn’t do anything except make the darkened house look like perhaps some cult ritual was happening.
The next day, I stopped at one pet store where I was told skunks have been a big problem in the city this year. There, I bought a special shampoo and on a break, drove home and gave Rio a sponge bath.
Bathing a German shepherd is a dangerous thing to do in my experience and Rio wasn’t up for it at all, snarling and trying to bite when I lathered the shampoo all over his head, back, legs and chest.
The quick fix did help because upon walking in the door, I almost vomited when I got close to him. After the shampoo treatment, I could actually somewhat tolerate him.
After work, I went to a different store to see what else might help and voila, there was a special spray called Skunk Odor Out that you apply to fur then rub on with your hands so it penetrates deeply to do its magic on the skunk smell.
My son and I did this and in a short time, Rio was actually pleasant to be around. A few extra spot applications and he was back to his usual self, at least odour-wise. I’ve noticed he hasn’t prowled the fence much since, thankfully.
The vinegar really worked in the house except for the places Rio laid, like on my robe, some jeans I had on the carpet and the carpet itself. But the skunk spray worked magnificently on those, too.
I have a weak stomach to begin with and that skunk smell was almost too much to handle. I’ve rarely seen skunks over the years, most recently when a family of them walked around McMaster in front of me and underneath a vehicle by the home of a guy I graduated high school with.
A few years ago, a former neighbour had a bunch living under his front step and spent a lot of effort convincing them to leave.
So to have a mishap with one came as a huge surprise.
But I won’t be caught unprepared again.

Follow @albeebHerald on Twitter

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