Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lily Got Skunked!

Lily has got her routine down to a science. Every evening a few minutes before 9 pm, my husband gets his shoes on and takes Lily out for her nightly walk. Sometimes she has fallen asleep in her chair next to me in the living room, but the minute she hears him stir, she's up hanging over the back of that chair looking down the hallway expectantly. He calls her and she runs! This routine ends with her receiving 3 or 4 'cookies' and going into her crate.

Promptly at 11pm, I turn off the tv in the living room and it's her cue to get excited about the next step in the evening's festivities, her nightly run. We live out in the country, all our neighbors know Lily, and she has a standing invitation to go across the street and play with Sasha, the black chow. So these nightly romps can last up to a 1/2 hour or so, and if it's longer, I go outside and listen for the tinkling of her tags, which actually sound more like cow bells and whistle for her to come home. She always comes in like a bullet, all out of breath and happy to be able to run around before settling in for the night.

This night, however, was different from the norm. She went out the back door as usual, went around the side of the house, turning on the automatic flood light and I heard her race to the empty lot next door. It's at this time I take my ambien for sleep. It takes about a 1/2 hour to kick in and I enjoy the mellowed out feeling until I"m ready to retire. As I'm sitting at the computer, I smell the distinct fragrance of a skunk. Not too concerned, because we get that smell often as there are feral cats running around the neighborhood, and the state part is just across the creek from us. Tonight though, the smell seemed extremely pungent, and the first few stirrings of apprehension started to appear in my gut.

Within minutes though, I hear Lily's tags clinking as she runs toward the back door. I go to open it, hearing her tags jingling louder and her panting as she bounds up onto the back porch and through the door..........and my fears were realized. The stench was nauseating and she bounded through the door straight into the living room.

I went after her, half expecting to see the skunk hanging out of her mouth, but thankfully I was spared that. If you've ever smelled a dead skunk on the side of the road, or one that has let loose somewhere nearby, that's bad. But the smell of fresh spray on your dog is way beyond that. My mind went rushing (as fast as it could with my ambien in full swing), and oh, did I mention that my daughter was asleep and my husband was out of town?

"Tomato Juice" I said out loud...that's what they recommend! Never mind that I don't drink the stuff, don't have it in the house and the stores are all closed, and even if they were open, I was in no condition to drive. So I sat down to think, think....what could I use? I briefly thought about the pot of spaghetti sauce with meatballs I had in the fridge. But would it work? should I pick out and save all the meatballs first? Or let her eat them to try and distract her from the fact that I was dousing her down with an italian meal. Then I remembered the bloody mary mix I got for Christmas but never used. I ran to the liquor cabinet, found it and realized it was clammato flavored....Just what I needed, a dog that stinks of skunk and fish. My last resort was a tube of sundried tomato paste. I could have cried. But by this time I was so tired I almost didn't care what she smelled like, and suddenly, she didn't seem to smell 'so' bad anymore.

Now, she sleeps on our bed, down at the foot on my side, although when my husband is away she likes to sneak up and sleep on his pillow. I ordered her back down to the foot, turned the fan in the window on so it would blow across the bed and out of the room and we went to bed.

In the morning, the full reality of just how bad she smelled hit me full force and my daughter wanted to stake her out in the empty lot next door. Before I hit the stores for the tomato juice, I decided to use good old google to see how much tomato juice you need for a 40lb dog, or if there were any other methods that might work better. And I found one, miraculously that I already had the ingredients for in the house. It was actually developed by a scientist based on the compounds in the skunk's spray. It consisted of 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda and a teaspoon of liquid soap. I mixed it all together, used the hose to wet her down and scrubbed her with a microfiber cloth with this concoction. And it worked. Like a friggin' charm! Your supposed to let the stuff sit on her for 10 minutes and let the oxygenation lift the smell out and the soap cleanses it away. Or something like that. So I let her run around the yard until it was time to rinse her off. Just don't get it in their eyes or ears. I used the cloth to wipe her face down and clean out her ears. Needless to say, we are stocking up on the giant size bottles of peroxide, because I have a feeling, knowing Lily, that she is not deterred by mere stench. She certainly isn't deterred by our two cats that claw and hiss at her when she chases them.

So that is my saga with the irrepressible Lily. I'm sure there will be more. She just has that look on her face.

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