I was sitting in front of the computer working on a blog and it occurred to me that I hadn’t seen one of my little dogs, Richie, the only male of the trio, for a couple of hours. Now it is not unusual for him to find something of interest out in the garden but he usually checks in from time to time just in case there is a handout of some sort that he doesn’t want to miss.
I put on a jacket as it was 45 degrees outside after the first of the cooler weather had blown in. My indoor/outdoor thermometer showed that it had dropped down to 35 degrees overnight, not too far off freezing. Seems a little early for frosts in Austin, Texas as I usually associate late December for that to happen.
Anyway, I went looking for the dog and did at least 3 tours of the yard. My real concern is that he will take it into his little doggy head to dig out under the fence and get on the road or lost in the woods that back up to my property. I have an electric doggy wire surrounding the property which I know he has run into a couple of times as he is always very wary when he gets close to it. My problem is, that because he is a Dachshund, he is low to the ground and therefore the wire also has to be low. If the wire happens to come into contact with grass or plants, it grounds out and is not effective. Luckily, Richie is working on the memory of having hit it a couple of times so he doesn’t know if it is working or not and would rather not find out.
There were no signs of him having dug his way out and so I checked all of his usual hang outs where he “thinks or maybe hopes” the rats and mice will be like under the workshop, under the deck or under the hot tub. I could not find him and no amount of calling brought him out in the open. When he is sniffing out something, he tends to have selective hearing.
Finally, I checked under the shed where I keep the mowers and power equipment to see if by chance, he might be there. When Rich is on to something or thinks he is onto something, he growls and whines making considerable noise and that is what I heard as I approached this particular shed. Only if he has cornered a ‘Coon or Possum or is chasing a squirrel, things that move and he can run after, does he usually bark. Sometimes very loud as goes after the unfortunate animal although usually, ‘Coons are more than a match for him and he sometimes comes off the worst.
I stood by the shed and called for him to come out as I had no idea what he had cornered and I was not about to lay down on my belly to get eye level with whatever it was. After a couple of minutes, he came dashing out and immediately headed for the grass and plants to roll and wipe his head and eyes on them. I figured that it was a skunk as I could smell the “sweet” odor that skunks use for defense and as I looked down by my feet, this big ole skunk followed Richie out from under the shed. I don’t know who was more surprised, me or the Skunk but both of us took off in opposite directions or at least, I did. Maybe the Skunk was just turning around to unload on me. Richie could have cared less now that the Skunk was out in the open as he was too interested in getting the spray out of his eyes and had his fill of the Skunk. Me. I just kept moving in the opposite direction as fast as I could move and it was a race between me and Richie to see who could get out of range first.
We got up on the deck and I immediately went inside and closed the doggie door as I didn’t want Rich in the house until I could clean him up. I got on the computer and googled Skunk and pretty quick, came up with a recipe to clean him up, (By Margaret H. Bonham – Part of the Dog Grooming For Dummies Cheat Sheet).
Combine 1/2 quart hydrogen peroxide, 1/8 cup of baking soda, and 1 teaspoon liquid dish washing soap in an open container. Draw a tepid bath and put your dog in it. Apply the solution liberally throughout your dog’s coat and suds him up well (to the skin). Avoid getting any solution in his eyes…..
The first problem was finding the necessary ingredients and although I know that I have Hydrogen Peroxide around somewhere, of course I could not find it so I had to jump in the car and drive to the nearest HEB to make my purchases. Luckily, with Rich shut outside, I did not have to put the cats in their room for their own safety. I spent a grand total of $1.16 cents on Peroxide and Baking Soda and it probably cost me more for gas to drive the 4 miles there and back than I spent in the store.
When I got back, Richie was sitting in the sun and looking really dejected and feeling sorry for himself. He wagged his tail when he saw me. He did not know what I had in store for him as he hates baths. Dachshunds and water do not go well together. I had pre-prepared the mix above and with towels and shampoo at the ready was all set to grab him and commence the battle. Just as I was about to run the bath, I noticed that the screw stopper was not in the bath drain and remembered taking it out when I did the bath re-model. I had an idea where it might be and after searching for 15 minutes or so, managed to locate it.
Now we were all set. I picked up Richie and contemplated on taking off his collar but decided that I might need it to hold him in the bath, so left it on. Carefully, lowering him in the water, which only came up to his belly, I wetted him down and applied the pre-mixed solution onto every part of him and began to rub it in. He actually was very good and did not struggle after he recognized we meant business and his fate was already sealed.
Ten minutes later after a succession of treatment, showers, doggie shampoo and more showers, we were all through and he was standing on the toilet cover as I dried him off. Luckily, Dachshunds have a smooth coat and dry very quickly and as most dogs do, when I put him on the floor, ran around in crazy circles shaking from time to time as if to shake off the very memory of the terrible injustice that he had just been through.
The next thing was to try to get the smell out of the house which meant lighting scented candles all over the place. I still noticed the smell and realized that my clothes and me were the culprits. Next stop was the laundry room where I stripped off to nothing and quickly started a load of laundry. Grabbing my shoes, I headed for the shower and for the second time in a few hours was standing under the water, shampooing my head (I have barely enough hair to wash) and soaping down my body. With a completely clean set of clothes, we were all set.
I gave Richie (and the other two) a treat for being so good and headed to the computer to write the story. I have to say that cleaning up after a skunk and Richie encounter was not what I had planned for today or come to that, any other day either.
The one thing that I still haven’t figured out about the whole incident is why Richie didn’t bark when he was going after the skunk. I can usually tell when he is facing a live animal because his barking is very excited and non-stop, probably part of his attack as he tries to scare whatever he is after. He has had run ins with ‘Coons and Possums on an ongoing basis. He even had a go at a couple of snakes, both around 6 feet long but of the harmless variety until I called him off to let the snakes glide away and if a Buzzard happens to fly circles overhead, he chases up and down the garden at top speed barking wildly. He loves to chase Squirrels even when he knows he can’t catch them. He has managed to catch 3 of them but they came down to get water and were not quick enough to get back into the trees. As far as I can tell, this is the first Skunk that he has tried to do battle with. Hopefully, it is his last if he has learned anything from today’s encounter.
Richie just went back out about 15 minutes ago and I went out to find him or rather to see where he had gone. I noticed that he steered well clear of the shed. I need to block up the hole that they use but not until tomorrow. I want to give anything that may still be under there, time to get out overnight. I figured that Richie is smart enough not to want to tangle with that skunk again especially for getting sprayed and the indignities of losing out to a Skunk. Or maybe it was the thought of having to take another bath that is keeping him away…