Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Oh, for the Luvva Pete, I Don't Believe They Did This...

... again!

funny pictures of dogs with captions

And to think, as I was going to bed last night, I was griping about the smell of wood smoke in the air from the nearby wildfire.

As the above frame from "Ihasa Hot Dog" gives away, we had a skunk incident last night here at Ft. Harrington. Mrs. Fort let the dogs out to do some business, as they requested, at about 2am. Kelsey then lit out into the darkness like a bolt toward the chicken run, with his faithful lieutenant Jax close behind him, and rotund Emma waddling along as quickly as she can behind them. Shortly thereafter, yelps from the dark. Shortly after that, the stench of skunk, mildly reminiscent of burning tires but orders of magnitude more revolting.

Kelsey, first to trouble as always, got a face and chest full, butt-blank ("point blank" just doesn't work in this context.) Jax got a little all over, and Emma was blessed with just a coy hint of an emetic perfume.

Since this has happened before -- at least four times before -- we were prepared, and all three got an immediate sponge bath of our current best remedy. It's a no-particular-ratio mixture of water, white vinegar, and baking soda that cuts the stench a lot, though not entirely. The mixture has advantages over other remedies: it's cheaper than commercial enzyme-based deskunkers, and it's made of stuff we always have on hand anyway, unlike our veterinarian's skunk bath of choice: Massengill douche. Contrary to legend, tomato juice doesn't work at all, and just leaves you with something else that you ultimately have to clean off your dog.

More effective than tomato juice.

Our vet, by the way, isn't shy about recommending over-the-counter human personal hygiene products in place of prescription veterinary remedies. At her suggestion, for example, we always have some Vagisil in stock to treat Emma's frequent ear-canal yeast infections.

As I say, this has happened before. The first time was three years ago, when skunks first moved into the hollow to take advantage of one of our neighbors' habit of leaving food outside for his cats. Unfortunately, the people who had to deal with that first episode were not Diane and me, but her sister Carolyn and brother-in-law Mel, who were doing us the huge favor of caring for Ft. Harrington while we were in Ireland. Lovely.

Carolyn still has a fondness for Kelsey, albeit from a distance (they live in Oregon), which may make it easier. She read here recently about Kelsey's favorite park, and sent this along the intertubes (the three pictures in it were taken nine days ago) :

Kelsey in the Park
verse by C. J. Meeks, photos by S. Harrington

Was there ever a dog so full of his doggieness as Kelsey in the park?
With plenty of room for a dog to run and jump and bark.

There are other dogs here in Kelsey's park.
So just so they know that Kelsey's been there he leaves his doggy mark.

The look on his face pleadingly begs, "Please, can't we stay until dark?"
"If not, please, won't there be another day in the park?"

That's really sweet, Carolyn. Thank you.

Mel and Carolyn with Kelsey when he was very, very young. Ft. Harrington, October, 2000.



Mike said...

Third skunking I've heard of this week. Fortunately, the only dog involved that I have to deal with in person is granddog Puck, who got the peroxide/baking soda/dishwashing soap treatment fairly quickly and didn't smell bad at all the next day when I saw him at the dog park. When I actually petted him, I could tell, but even just a few feet away, there was no discernible odor.

In your case, don't forget that skunks do serious damage to chickens. Tell the story this way: Kelsey took one for the girls. And the spaniels were his backup. Thank them for their bravery and sacrifice.

Sherwood Harrington said...

Kelsey always takes one for anybody, Mike, whether he has to or not. That's just the way he's wired, as I'm sure you've figured out over the years.

The chickens are doubly hard-cased in at night to protect them against an even more formidable predator: 'coons. They spend the night in sturdy, pre-fab rabbit hutches which, in turn, are inside a securely wire-fenced, enclosed run.

But that doesn't keep Kelsey from protecting them, because he only knows about the predator and the protected, not the grade or extent of wire between the two. And the spaniels only know about their captain, not the veracity of the information he's acting on. So they do what their sense of duty tells them to do, too.

I'll stop here before a too-easy Iraq analogy pops up... or maybe it's already too late for that.

At any rate, we thank all three of them all the time for lots and lots and lots of stuff.

ronnie said...

Skunks seem to be everywhere these days. Just this morning there was a CTV news story about a population surge of skunks in North Van. It seems a virus may have taken a heavy toll on the raccoon population, allowing skunks to explode (so to speak). I got guite a chuckle over your vets' products of choice. Smart vet!

Dann said...

I got to the analogy before you typed it.


Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

Washing 3 dogs at 3AM or so?? How in the world to you keep them all at hand for washing, and not have at least one running around spreading the aroma? Must have been a job. I'd find a long nap in order today!

Sherwood Harrington said...

ronnie, she is a very, very smart vet. Unfortunately, she is also a bit hard to work for, it appears, since her entire staff has changed in the lat two years, except for a vet tech who reminds me of "Pierce" in Zits.

Dann, the times Kelsey makes me think of service men and women are too many to count. His mindset is earnest and unflinching, and I am so damn' glad that I have him on my local version of the wall that Col. Jessep so famously ranted about in A Few Good Men.

Ruth: zzzzzzzz... snort, snerf, pfbllt... zzzzzzzz....

Adam said...

Umm... this won't happen next summer right?

I gotta tell ya, the thought of a walk of shame to the checkout counter at Jonnie's Super, Massengill in hand....

worse sensory experience than the smell methinks.

Sherwood Harrington said...

Oh, don't worry about what checkers at Johnnies think about your purchases, Adam. You should worry about the checkers themselves.

This is one of the more famous of them in the past few decades:

But not to worry for next year: it seems that the felonious murder aspect of grocery checkers has moved a little farther down the valley now, to Ben Lomond:

(The suspect is the brother of the current chief of the the Boulder Creek fire department. Keep that in mind next summer.)

Adam said...

I'm beginning to think I'll be spending five weeks in one long Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode.

Sherwood Harrington said...

Could be, Adam. Surviving is pretty simple, though, if you just follow the lyrical encouragement of the Psalms:

"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for I am the meanest sonofabitch in the valley."

(Psalms 23:4, pretty liberally translated.)