Happy New SKUNK

Recently I’ve been enjoying the local wildlife here in Oakland. When the sun is on it in the afternoon, the deck is warm enough to sit out on and enjoy, even at this time of year. There’s some big trees in the yard below ours on the hill, and squirrels, woodpeckers and other beasties do their thing at eye level. Hummingbirds come and go as well – I love them, and our neighbours have a feeder which you often see being used (you fill it with a nectar-like liquid, and the birds drink from little plastic flowers). On the larger side, the road up to our place has warning signs about deer, and there are coyotes up in the hills as well. Sadly you sometimes see dead deer and raccoons by the road, but the coyotes soon make them go away.

Unfortunately, this also means that more unwelcome critters are around as well, as we found out yesterday. When the alarm went off, I jumped up with a spark in my eye and spring in my step as usual, pulled on my sweatpants, grabbed the torch and took Gordon for his morning constitutional. We got up onto the trail that runs behind our house, and I (stupidly) let Gordon off his leash so he could go and do his business. In the semi-darkness, he sniffed around, then suddenly he growled and set off after something. Before I could react, there was a scuffle, and I saw a shape – a black and white striped shape.

Gordon suddenly stood still, shaking his head and snorting. Oh, shit.

That morning, the first day back after the new year, before going to work, I soaped and rinsed Gordon five times. Before that, I ran down to the supermarket and bought bottles of contact lens saline, which got squirted in his eyes out on the deck – we weren’t letting him inside quite yet. The neighbour texted to say “I hope that skunk didn’t get Gordon” – she could smell it. The guy in the supermarket smelt it too.

Once I’d rinsed his eyes out, I grabbed him at arms length (as far as possible – he’s now 26lbs) and put him in the tub. Five soapings and rinsings later, we thought it was mostly gone. We limited the rooms he could get in, put sheets over the other stuff, and dashed off to work – I was able to catch the last bus across the bridge, and Cassie only arrived at work two hours before her colleagues, instead of the usual three.

Our excellent and highly recommended dog walker Drake (of Real Dog Adventures) arrived to take G out later that morning, and told us the house still really smelled, and G was smelly too. We must have got used to the smell. The other dogs on the walk all wanted to get in his face and sniff him, something which he is not into at all.

I took the bus to work as usual. When I arrived, I hung my overcoat by the door, and told the receptionist what had happened, and to let me know if she detected anything. Ten minutes later, she said my coat had a distinct whiff. I had to pack my coat into a trash bag for the day, and the journey home in the evening.

Cassie and I both did some research at work, and we found the following recipe:

  • 1 Quart 3% Hydrogen Peroxide solution
  • ¼ Cup Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Dawn dish soap

We mixed the stuff up, used it as a shampoo on Gordon (which he didn’t like – another bath?!), and then washed it off. Then I washed him with regular dog shampoo, left the suds on for five minutes, then rinsed. That seemed to help a lot, but there were a couple of spots I missed, which I will attack tonight. Because it was late, and Gordon was still damp, I blowdried him, which again he’s not keen on, although I think he kind of liked getting his undercarriage aired out. I’ll repeat the special wash tonight.

When I lived in San Diego, the area I lived in wasn’t that great, and you would often smell skunk. The thing was, you didn’t know if it was an actual skunk, or someone smoking skunk, which is strong weed named because of the similarity in smell. I would have to close all my windows during the day to prevent the smell (and the neighbours) from getting in. The problem with that was that when I returned in the evening, the air conditioning controller would say it was 95°F in there. It would take the whole evening to cool down. Oakland is a lot better than that, even with the stinky wildlife.