Sunday, March 5, 2006

The Skunkinator

(Originally posted on Sunday, March 5, 2006 by Tim)

Each of our dogs has his own distinct personality. TY is our smartest dog. You can give TY a new set of commands and he can often figure out what you want from context. He?s also quite good at knowing when resistance is futile. As an example, you can tell TY to ?Get in the bathtub? for a bath, point to the bathtub, and he will do it. He is also very good at communicating what he wants. Examples here are staring attentively for hours at the object of interest, general wining, and barking incessantly at the door when he wants to come in. While the title often gets passed around, this can often make TY our most annoying dog.

TY has recently found a new activity to earn him ?Top Dog? on the annoying list. Last Summer, the dogs got sprayed by a skunk in the back yard. TY and Modi took the big hits while Sam was ?relatively? skunk free. Through the process of multiple baths and lots of swearing, we learned that the following recipe works best for getting the skunk out of the dog.

Skunk-away Shampoo
1 liter 3% peroxide (the peroxide you buy at the store)
3 tablespoons baby shampoo
3 tablespoons baking soda

Mix all ingredients together. Wet the dog down in the shower and apply the shampoo mix liberally with a washcloth. Be careful to avoid the dog?s eyes (and yours too) as the peroxide will sting. We?ve found that this works best if you wash the dog right after skunking has occurred. What you get out of this process is a dog that smells not half bad. The drawback is that you can?t adequately get their face so the back end of the dog smells better than the front end of the dog for a change.

So dogs got skunked for the first time last summer. This isn?t too bad when you consider we had been here a year at that point. Maybe the skunk wandered into the yard, the dogs surprised it, and it and they both learned their lessons. Yeah right.

Dogs got skunked again about three weeks ago. This time, Sam and Modi got hit hard and TY escaped relatively unscathed. We thought, ?TY is the smartest dog. Maybe he learned to avoid the skunk last time.? Ahhh, it was not to be.

Last week, TY comes into the house with something in his mouth. This has happened before. The grossest thing we had seen so far was the night (he always brings this stuff in at night) he brought in a rotting mouse carcass heavy on the maggots. Well, this time he comes in and clearly has an object in his mouth. He knows we don?t like him to bring in anything that isn?t a toy, so he usually has some guilty body language about him. Cat notices that he?s got something and the ?DROP IT? subroutine kicks in. After a couple ?drop its?, he drops a roundish, black and white furry object on the floor. Have you guessed yet? A skunk head! What a great toy mom! Can I keep it?

Needless to say, TY hasn?t had a glorious week of us throwing the skunk head for him in the backyard. It was very quickly bagged and filed (circularly).

The next day, however, TY came in and smelled a bit skunky. Thinking that he had been sprayed again, we sniffed around him to try and figure out where he had been hit. The process went something like this?

Sniff, sniff, back of the dog OK.
Sniff, sniff, middle of the dog OK.
Sniff, sniff, head of dog a little skunky, did he get hit in the eyes?
Sniff, sniff, OH, IT?S HIS BREATH!

After this process, I definitively explained to TY that he would not be allowed to sleep on my pillow that evening! (It?s Modi?s spot anyway)

The following day, I managed to get home from work while it was still light out. I went out back to throw the ball for TY and look for skunk parts. About 10 feet from our lawnmower shed, I found a skunk tail with some glands attached. Now this smelled so bad, that after I bagged it and put it in the trash can out front, the whole front yard started to smell of skunk. Thank God we have tolerant trash men.

It?s warm today. I can?t put it off any longer. I?m going to have to do a thorough search of the back yard for the rest of the skunk. We?ve found the front and the back, but the middle is still missing. Thankfully, TY hasn?t come in smelling of skunk since I disposed of the tail. I just wonder, how much of the middle of the skunk is in TY?

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