Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Adventures of a Curious Dog and a Stealthy Skunk - A Weekend at the Family Farm

It is high time for a little personal tale and a good one too, so here it goes.........

This past weekend, my husband, our dog Cinnamon, and I took a little trip four hours south to the family farm. My parents bought a thirty acre farm on the edge of my hometown a few years ago. I now refer to it as the family farm even though we are not farmers of any kind. My parents really just wanted a serene place in the country to retire. With a few fields, a barn, and a couple of ponds, it is a really beautiful place for them to live and for us to visit.

My dog, Cinnamon, especially likes the family farm. She's as Irish Setter with a lot of energy and a nose for hunting (even though she would not hurt a fly). Normally she is able to roam with supervision through the fields, but this weekend there was a little damper on her frolicking fun.

When we arrive at my parents on a Friday evening, we usually spend an hour or so chatting and catching up. During this visit, my parents told us about a skunk that had dropped by a few times over the last couple of weeks. My mom has a stray cat that she's taken in, and apparently the skunk likes to feast on the cat's food by the front porch. Just after dark, my parents had seen the skunk come around to eat. Apparently it isn't afraid of much of anything and takes its time browsing around the porch and front yard. The cat is smart enough to avoid it, but our poor dog Cinnamon was not.

We went to bed on Friday night with that skunk on my mind. I knew that we would need to keep Cinnamon on a leash at dusk and after dark when skunk likes to roam. As usual, Cinnamon woke my husband and I up about 6:30 a.m. to go outside to the bathroom. My husband usually has morning duty so he finally roused himself to take her out. I briefly thought about the skunk, but I was too tired and sleepy to open my mouth and remind him to watch out for it - after all, what are the chances of an encounter? Apparently, the chances were very, very high!

As my husband describes it, he took Cinnamon out the front door off leash to do her business. She headed straight for the shed which is a hundred yards or so from the porch of the house. My husband Stephen could see a small critter in the distance that she was trying to chase after. This wasn't unusual because Cinnamon likes to chase everything from my mom's cat to the squirrels to the birds. She never counted on the fact that a skunk has no understanding of being chased, and the skunk is what she was headed for this time. It did not run as she expected, but rather it stood its ground. She had the courage or stupidity to bite the side of its butt, and well, you know the rest.....the skunk sprayed her directly in the mouth - yes, the mouth!

We actually feel very blessed that the skunk did not get its nasty smelling spray all over her coat nor did it spray a lot. It just squirted a little directly into her mouth because she had lightly bitten it on the butt. Then the skunk must have took pitty on her because it scurried off into the field. Cinnamon was shaken to say the least. She choked a little and spat a lot trying to clear the stench from her mouth. Afterward, we wiped her down and gave her a lot of breath mint dog biscuits. It was really just her mouth and head that stank terribly. A few days later now, she is doing much better. The smell is almost gone, and I don't think that she'll be on the chase for skunks anytime soon - lesson learned, hopefully!

The skunk certainly won this weekend, but Cinnamon is resilient and ever curious. In honor of the stealthy skunk, I have posted some photos of what I found when searching Etsy for handmade skunk items. Skunks certainly are cute when you don't have to smell them.

8 comments:

  1. Oh no! Poor Cinnamon. I'll bet she learned her lesson.

    I try so hard to keep my cute little white poodle inside and clean, but deep down she is a huntress and will chase (and try to eat) anything that moves. We've joked about having to open a little hospital in our backyard for all of the frogs and lizards who lose their limbs trying to escape from Lilly the Killer Poodle.

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  2. This sounds SO exciting to me!! We have no skunks here in Ireland and I know that my small old terrier sould just love to catch one.

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  3. I think its hysterical that you searched for skunk items on Etsy and found something. Sounds like quite the incident! Great blog, fun to read. :)

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  4. Sounds like quite the incident. I think its funny that you searched Etsy for "skunk" items and you actually came up with something! Great blog...fun to read.

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  5. Awwwwwww, poor Cinnamon!! But yes, those Etsy skunks are ADORABLE! I used to volunteer at a wildlife rehab place, and we had a cute little skunk who was unreleasable, so she got to tour schools, etc. and educate people about skunks :)

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  6. Oh goodness. The trusty hydrogen peroxide with baking soda and dishwashing liquid solution would not have worked on your poor pup's mouth...but should she ever get sprayed on her coat, it's miraculous. (I would suggest keeping the supplies at the farm at all times!) Ask me how I know after ten years of country life with multiple dogs! (The first thing I do for myself when the skunk smell hits is to put some patchouli oil right under my nose.)

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  7. Great story I can’t imagine what that must of tasted like for poor Cinnamon. My son’s dog caught a possum this weekend. It was as big as him The dog is only about 15lbs. He was unhurt but the possum had a few bite marks. He wasn’t sure what to do with it because it looked injured. But after he went inside with the dogs it ran off I guess it was playing possum.

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  8. Great story, Shalana. My Golden likes to hide horse poop in her mouth when she is loose. Will carry it forever until I realize it. No doggy kisses from her for a while.

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