Late last night, when I had been asleep for a short time but others roamed the house, I suddenly smelled something awful. It burned my nose. I sleep near an open window–only open a crack last night, which was windy and wet, but nevertheless open–and I've smelled skunk in the neighborhood before, but never this strong, never this acrid.
It burned my nose.
That's an important fact in this case.
Pure Luck appeared on the scene and I said, "Did Sam get skunked? I smell skunk."
"No, no. It would be much worse if he'd been skunked. I think there was a skunk in the yard, but I don't think he got skunked."
I went downstairs sniffing everything along the way, rather wildly as one might do when one is not quite awake and has–let the record show–a burned nose on the inside where it counts.
I found Sam under the dining room table, which is the place dogs go when they don't feel happy (except when people are eating dinner, at which time it is the place Sam goes in case food should fly out of heaven and into his good dog mouth). Molly spent her whole recovery from hip surgery under the dining room table, by her own choice, as if it were her crate. Finding him there didn't seem like a good sign, but the only parts of him I could reach smelled okay, I thought.
It burned my nose, please do not forget this important fact of the case.
This morning we arose and took Sam to the vet for a previously scheduled dental appointment. And as we brought him into the examining room, the vet tech said, "Oh, did he get skunked?"
"No, no," we insisted, "although there did seem to be a skunk in our yard or close by last night."
"Maybe he brushed up against something that had been sprayed," offered Pure Luck.
(If it please the court, may I suggest that it burned his nose, too?)
I rubbed the dog, as if to prove he must not have been skunked, and I bent over him, and then I rose up again.
"I think this dog was skunked," I said. "But it burned my nose!!!"
The vet tech nodded, knowingly.
"I'm so sorry to bring you a smelly dog!"
She looked patient, and replied, "Well, it will just be one of many interesting smells."
That burn her nose, no doubt.
In the end, we must plead guilty to burnt noses and general skunk-related ignorance.
And when we got home from the vet's, there could be no doubt that a damp, skunked dog had lately been in our precincts.
I'll be headed out of town this afternoon to join a youth mission trip, already in progress, so the clean-up will be in Pure Luck's hands. I feel badly about that.
If you need the skunk clean-up recipe, this is the recommendation of wiser and more experienced Bernese Mountain Dog owners:
First pat the dog down with paper towels, then make the following concoction.
The ingredients are hydrogen peroxide; baking soda and dishwashing
detergent. The proportions vary according to who you ask, but one recipe I
calls for a pint of hydrogen peroxide; a small box of baking soda and 1
tablespoons of detergent mixed into a gallon of water.
Wash it into the
dog's fur and let it sit for 5 minutes and rinse out.
The spray is oil-based, so the dishwashing detergent releases it from the fur. The baking
soda and H2O2 react chemically to oxidize and neutralize the spray.