We have a problem. A stinky problem. It's making me crazy.
Each night at dusk a skunk passes through our backyard on his nightly stroll. He's absolutely adorable with his glossy black and white coat, his bushy tail and his shiny black eyes. He sniffs about, looking for grubs, completely oblivious to us even though we are often sitting just a few feet away.
The problem isn't the skunk. It's Winston, our incredibly stupid (but loveable) springer spaniel. How many times does he have to get sprayed before he gets that the skunk is not a squirrel with a stripe? That if he chases it he's going to get blasted with skunk spray, right in the face and up the nose?
Winston's been sprayed 3 times in the past few months, and twice before that. I've tried to train my family to keep the doors closed in the evening, but too often they're left open, and the next thing we know the dog is tearing about, foaming at the mouth, shaking his head and spreading eau-de skunk all through the house. The first time it happened was at Thanksgiving when we had relatives staying with us for the weekend. At the end of the first evening the dog was let out, but before the door was even shut he came flying back in, and the obnoxious smell was so horrid that it caused a young relative to throw-up, right then and there. Then we had throw-up and a stinky dog to deal with. My daugher came home the next day and said the combination of roasting turkey aroma and skunk smell made her want to throw up too. More recently we were hosting a large gathering of people, a volleyball club wrap-up event, but the party cleared out in exactly 5 minutes flat when the freshly-skunked dog ran through the house. More than one guest has let me know that their clothes still stink of skunk.
If you haven't experienced 'fresh' skunk spray, it's a smell you simply cannot believe. It gets into your mouth, permeates your skin, makes your eyes burn. Everyone in the room, everything in the room absorbs the odor and stinks for months. It doesn't matter how many times we wash Winston, in whatever kind of guaranteed skunk-odor-removing solution, he still stinks for weeks, and the smell lingers for months, especially noticeable when he gets wet. At Thanksgiving our house guests reported that when they returned home after the weekend and opened their suitcases, everything in them smelled of skunk.
What to do, what to do??
When I lamented to my friend (and fellow author) Diane Tullson about my skunk dilemma, she replied with the following...
What the heck was the skunk doing in the yard with so many people around? And wouldn't it be out of skunk-squirt by now? I'm thinking you have a bad skunk. A genuine psycho. A serial-squirter. I think you need to do it in. Ah ah ah, I can hear that vegetarian voice crying for mercy, but no, bring in the guns, Shelley. I'm sure about 48+ Deep Cove residents will support me on this. OH MY. There's probably not a can of tomato juice to be had in N. Vancouver. You're probably not ready to laugh about this just yet.
No, I wasn't.
Another author friend, Kim Denman, always a source of the most intriguing facts, gently explained that the only natural enemy the skunk has is the fox. Therefore, to get rid of the skunk, you simply have to sprinkle fox urine around your property. Sounds logical.
But where does a person get fox urine?
The three of us wondered if human urine might suffice, and we made plans.
This is what the next email from Diane said.
Night vision goggles, that's it! Fill the squirt guns with pee, how about? Get a gun, Shelley. Tell the neighbours to stay away from the windows, put on a nose plug, and do it.
Sadly, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Instead, I searched the internet and discovered there are pellets available that are made of fox pee. You sprinkle them around your yard to deter the skunk. Not as much fun as squirt guns, I admit, and certainly not as 'fitting', but I'm on the market for fox-pee pellets. If you know of an outlet that sells them, please call me.