Sunday, June 14, 2009


Aubrey and I were weeding. I was harvesting lambs quarters and amaranth from the carrots as I weeded, Aubrey was hoeing the corn. Suddenly, Carly gave two sharp barks and the scent of skunk filled the air.

“Oh, rats!” I said. I jumped to my feet and raced in the direction of the smell, calling Carly’s name.

“I don’t think that was rats.” Aubrey said, grinning, as she followed me.

Carly looked intensely happy when she trotted up to us, the odor of skunk a thick fog around her. Aubrey clipped a leash onto Carly’s collar; I headed for the computer.

I found four recipes for skunk smell removal online. The first, tomato juice, we had tried in the past and hadn’t been impressed. First because it took a lot of tomato juice, second because tomato juice is really hard to get out of dog hair, and third the combination of skunk and tomato smelled worse than just plain skunk. It could put you off tomato juice for life and I like tomato juice.

The second recipe called for one quart of hydrogen peroxide, one cup of baking soda, one teaspoon of dish detergent and one cup of water. I only had a pint of hydrogen peroxide, but we mixed the solution and donned rubber gloves. Aubrey and I rubbed the liquid into Carly’s fur while Carly shivered at the end of her leash, trying to stay as far away from us as possible. We rinsed her with water from the outside faucet; she looked pathetic. We sniffed her from head to toe – still an odor of skunk, but perhaps a little better.

The minute we released her, Carly shook – all over us – and then headed for the edge of the woods where she rolled – joyously, in the grass where she had met the skunk. When she returned to us, she stunk as bad as she had to begin with.

We leashed her again and moved on to the fourth recipe – organic apple cider vinegar and water. Our apple cider vinegar wasn’t organic, but I figured it would work just as well. And I was tired of messing around, so we poured full strength vinegar down Carly’s back and then rubbed it all over her body except her head. Then, using warm water from the utility sink, we rinsed her off, shampooed her with a citrus scented shampoo, rinsed her again and dried her with a towel.

We discussed the pros and cons of locking Carly in the barn until she was dry, to keep her from reskunking herself, but we figured she would spend the entire time she was in the barn happily eating sheep poop, and the farts that would follow her around for the next several days would be much worse than the slight odor of skunk, vinegar and citrus which presently emanated from her wet fur. Aubrey sniffed her again - declared her to be mostly non-skunk scented - and we followed the dog into the house.

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