The problem with skunk spray is, once you have the smell of it in your nose, everything smells skunked.

Yeah … not so much about flowers.

Take this morning. Around 3.00AM Argos woke me by blowing in my ear. Usually he just stands next to my bed and s.t.a.r.e.s at me while breathing softly on my hand. He’s trained me well; even though I fully expect to sleep through the apocalypse, I faithfully stagger out of bed and let him out to do his thing while I bumble around in the dark until I find someplace appropriate to sit down and do mine. Then I let him back in and we go back to bed and the night continues as usual.

This morning, apparently, the need to go out was urgent, hence the ear treatment. And this time Flurry, the Hubbit’s English setter, went too. A few minutes later I was in mid-bumble when the Smell wafted through the house. No wonder they’d been in a hurry to get out. We had a visitor.

I said something profane (I’m trying not to say fuck in here because it’s tacky and unimaginative, so just apply the profanity of your choice – it’ll work fine) and rushed to open the door. Argos and Flurry rushed into the house and rushed around in circles, Argos shaking his head vigorously. I said another profanity (or maybe it was the same one) and grabbed him, and got some kind of oily substance all over my hand. I kicked him outside and grabbed Flurry. By now my nose was well and truly skunked and I had no idea whether or not she’d been sprayed. I didn’t feel any goop; however, full disclosure, it’s possible that some of the goop on my hand was transferred to her. Or maybe not. I still didn’t have my contact lenses in at that stage, and between skunk spray and three o’clock in the morning my senses may have been blunted.

This is my first actual encounter with a skunk, and I hadn’t the faintest idea what to do. However, I’d heard that tomato juice came into play when one was dealing with a skunked dog. We do have some tomato juice, but what was one to do with it? Pour it over the dog? Throw the can at the skunk? Add vodka and swallow?

Sometimes life demands a bloody Mary.

I woke the Hubbit, because this is what I do in moments of crisis. I didn’t like waking him, mind you – not because it bothers me to disturb his beauty sleep (which doesn’t work, by the way) but because I’m not speaking to him at the moment, owing to the fact that even the best of Hubbits is sometimes an asshole. That’s all I’m going to say about that; I provide the information purely for context – which in this case is that I was sufficiently discombobulated to swallow my pride and ask for help.

The Hubbit started rambling about hydrogen peroxide, so I went off to look for some. More context: about six weeks ago when I was frantically trying to finish my novel before the PNWA writers’ conference I realized that it was imperative that I reorganize all the pharmaceutical, toiletry and random shit supplies in the bathroom, so I emptied about half of them into boxes, which I dumped in the tub. I then realized that I was procrastinating, and went back to the book. So looking for hydrogen peroxide involved tipping out boxes and scrabbling through crap in the tub, while using profanities.

I found an old bottle that had about a half inch of very old (in other words no longer functional) hydrogen peroxide. While searching, it occurred to me that maybe I needed to empty the tub in order to wash Argos, and I was halfway through doing that when it occurred to me that one might not want skunk residue in one’s personal bathroom. So I went to ask the Hubbit, who was still rambling about hydrogen peroxide and was pissy about being interrupted. I explained for the second or third time that we didn’t have any profane hydrogen peroxide and what about tomato juice? He got more pissy and said the tomato juice thing was an old wive’s tail, and started reading from an internet source on his phone that explained scientifically how hydrogen peroxide worked and why tomato juice didn’t.

I headed out into the dark and windy predawn to find hydrogen peroxide. The Hubbit, ever helpful, texted me directions for how to use it when I had it, and went back to bed. I found some hydrogen peroxide at the little gas station store a few miles from our home, and bought up their entire stock. This is a country store; the assistant didn’t even blink … and as I was leaving, with a completely straight face, she wished me a lovely day.

Back home, I set myself up in the only outside place that wasn’t in the throes of a gale – the far side of our workshop. I mixed up the solution as directed and applied it generously to Argos, who explained that he didn’t like that and would prefer me to stop, while yanking my arm out of its socket. The instructions said to let it stand for ten minutes, so I waited for fifteen then dragged him out into the gale and profanely hosed him off. I stuck my nose up close … relief; he no longer smelled skunky.

I can’t help it … I love this dog so dang much, I’ll forgive him anything!

We went back inside and … oh my word. Gahhh!

Flurry was on the bed, cuddling with her daddy, and – now that my nose had had a chance to recuperate – it was clear that while she didn’t get a direct hit, she definitely qualified as collateral damage. Well, she’s the Hubbit’s dog; he can deal with it. I don’t care any more. My home will forever more smell of skunk, but it doesn’t matter; my nose is now permanently disabled, which means I never again have to invite uninteresting people to dinner. (Interesting people, aka my kind, take the occasional whiff of skunkiness in stride.)

I’m going back to bed. You please have a lovely day on my behalf

Have you, or anyone near and/or dear to you, ever been skunked? Did the smell ever go away or did you happily adapt to life as a social pariah?

Author: Belladonna Took

Well into my second half-century and still trying to figure out what to be when I grow up. Born South African, naturalized American, perpetually at risk of losing my balance and landing ass-first in the Atlantic.

10 thoughts on “Skunked”

  1. I used to live in large town next to a vacant 3-acre lot. Trapper, our Irish Setter used that spot to stretch his limbs and as his toilet. That is, until, one warm August (coincidentally) night he encountered a skunk.

    We used tomato juice – in the bath tub, I think? He was rather distressed by it all and began to shake violently, so we dried him off in front of the fire. Oh joy. Nothing like hot, damp, smelly skunk-dog on a humid summer night.

    If I remember correctly, the tomato juice had some effect (but don’t quote me), however for months afterward, if Trapper got wet, the skunk smell re-emerged.

    Eventually, the stink wore off. As I trust it will for you, and in more ways than one (vis-Ć -vis the Hubbit.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gosh, yes, it’s entirely possible that he’ll pong again when he gets wet. I take him down to the river to swim several times a week, so I guess I’ll know soon, won’t I? Flurry was more distressed than Argos … I just hope next time they’ll leave the damn skunk alone! We have one that wanders through every week or so, and usually I can tell he’s out there so put dogs out in the enclosed back yard. But I guess I was truly asleep this morning!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Skunk is one of them things that qualifies for as many ‘sentence enhancers’ as the imagination can dream up. And you get bonus points if you create new words or creatively combine old ones in a new configuration while dealing with the stench.

    I’ve had (2) skunk encounters (well, 3 if you count the eldest son running over one in MY car). The first one was a day before my first wedding…a hole in the foundation under the kitchen, an overactive dog, and the dread black & white ‘kitty cat.’
    Yea…the family still give me occasional shit over the smell in that kitchen…even though decades have passed.

    The 2nd encounter was less smelly. I heard rustling in the area we stored our trash prior to collection day. I opened the back door of the house, fully ready to chase off a stray dog, cat, coon, or whatever was digging in the bins – saw a black&white striped tail sticking out of the tipped over can, and carefully backed into the house.
    I’d clean the mess AFTER he was done with it, thank you!

    And my car? The eldest took it down to the car wash and scrubbed the stench out from the undercarriage. It had faint eau-de-skunk fragrances for the next couple of months.


    1. I don’t really mind the smell when it’s faint. Sometimes driving down a road one catches a whiff of it, and it’s almost pleasant – not in the sense that one wants more of it, but it’s sort of green and wild, if you know what I mean. But up close? Ugh!

      That must have been quite the wedding!


    1. That’s the one I should have gone with, for sure. Because right now, nearly 12 hours after The Passing Of The Skunk, either everything still reeks, or my nose is still misfiring. Shoulda bought vodka.


  3. One sprayed outside my window just as I was going to bed a couple of weeks ago. I left the windows open and slept on the couch, returning to breathable air a few hours later. šŸ™‚


      1. Argos spent quite a bit of time on the front stoep rubbing his face on the mat in front of the French doors… Undoubtedly, a lot of the oil got wiped off and is now resident in that mat.

        Liked by 1 person

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