Sometimes, I wish Shadow was as smart as his fictional counterpart Doodle. I especially wished that last week, on the first warmish day after a long winter. A bright sun shining. The promise of spring in the air. The prospect of a long, leisurely walk. What could go wrong?
Normally, when we start out on a walk, I have Shadow on leash. But I decided this would be a good day to work on reinforcing him off-leash, because the snow had melted and the mud dried to the point that we could walk over to our favorite field rather than keep to the road.
So we set off down our driveway, Shadow cheerfully vacuuming up treats for being at my side, when suddenly he raises his head and takes off across our dirt road to the neighbor’s yard. Seconds later, he’s frantically rolling in the grass, pawing at his face. Too late, I see a skunk trotting away, tail high, smack in the middle of the neighbor’s yard. In broad daylight.
What? Skunks are supposed to be nocturnal. Later, I will read that, while normally nocturnal, skunks will sometimes come out during the day to look for food, especially in the early spring.
Now my exercise plan changes from walking to Bathing the Dog, in itself a form of aerobic workout.
In the last Skunked episode, I jumped online and learned about the peroxide formula that is supposed to chemically change the oil causing the odor. But at that time we had only a tiny amount of peroxide in the house. So Instead, we foolishly bathed Shadow with dish detergent. That set the smell so effectively that multiple baths later, alternating shampoo, tomato juice and detergent (poor pup!), we realized that the only solution would be a haircut. A very short haircut.
But at least we have learned from our mistakes. This time, we have quarts of peroxide in stock. I make up a few gallons of the solution and a couple of treatments later, my spouse, a man with a sense of smell to rival a dog’s, declares Shadow to be odor free.
But if Shadow were only like Doodle! Here’s what happens in Dog-Nabbed when Doodle sees a skunk in the woods:
“Another time, the stench—there’s really no other word—of a skunk assaults my nose. I lift my head to see one waddling to the creek. I cornered a skunk once in my service dog days. Not a good experience. Let’s just say, Lesson Learned. I watch it from my hiding place without moving.”
Okay, wishful thinking. I suspect for Shadow the lesson will never be learned. So we’ve restocked our supplies of peroxide and baking soda.
In case any of you have a calamitous skunk encounter, here’s the formula, developed by Paul Krebaum. It works. And it’s cheaper than the commercial skunk deodorizers on the market, which can be a good thing if you happen to have a big dog with a long coat.
Who happens to be Lesson Impaired when it comes to skunks.