A dog, a skunk -- run for cover.
|Last week, my dog had a close encounter of the worst kind -- he made a far-too-close acquaintanceship with a skunk. After I was done hollering at him and trying to stay up-wind of the embarrassed animal, I realized I needed to deal with the smelly problem.
I left the skunk-sprayed German shepherd in the yard where he rolled repeatedly in the grass and dirt, rubbing his face and body vigorously against any stable object or unwary neighbor in his vicinity. Inside, quick phone calls to groomers and/or veterinary clincs produced reluctant quotes ranging from $100 to $150 to wash and deodorize the mighty hunter. Even worse, none of them had time available to handle the job for several days.
Faced with such a catastrophe, what is a dog-owner to do but attempt the horrendous job on her own. My first task was a quick trip to the grocery store for a large quantity of tomato juice and a smaller quantity of apple cider venegar. I brought home four large cans of tomato juice -- the generic type.
My farmer neighbor agreed to allow the use of his cattle tank as a bathtub. He expressed gratitude that his house is upwind from the water tank.
Since I'm also the owner of two teenage sons, I enlisted their unwilling assistance at this point. On command, the unhappy shepherd leaped into the tank which we had filled with water to the point where it just reached his belly. Next, we applied the tomato juice generously to his coat, rubbing it thoroughly into his coat and massaging it into his skin. His unhappiness increased.
At this point, we decided that the water was a mistake. We removed the dog from the tank and applied the juice to his legs and lower body.
According to my trusted dog book, it is necessary to leave the juice on the dog for at least one-half an hour and perhaps as long as two hours. This presented a problem immediately -- what do you do with a dog covered with tomato juice that still smells pretty terrible?
We found a short piece of cord and tied the poor outcast to the railing of the front porch. Told to lay down and "stay," he lay quietly on the grass. His sorrowful brown eyes seemed almost tear-filled.
Skunk spray is oil-based and heavily alkaline and can best be neutrialized by an acidic solution. Tomato juice is the most recognized of these liquids.
After an hour, we relented and returned to the lonely dog. Back in the cattle tank, his jaws opened in a doggy smile as he panted. His morale seemed to be on the mend. A thorough rinse with a hose removed the tomato juice from his coat.
Fortunately, the weather was scorchingly hot so we had no fear of chilling him. Next, we applied a generous amount of dog shampoo and washed him thoroughly from nose to tail, top and bottom. After another rinse with water, we applied a final rinse of apple cider vinegar mixed half and half with water.
We rubbed his coat with some old clean potato sacks until most of the moisture was out of his fur. Unfortunately, he still had a certain woodland aroma, although it was considerably improved over what had been before. We released him into the fenced backyard to think things over. We went inside to meditate about the experience also.
To our great relief, when the dog was dried, the odor seemed to be pretty well under control The dog was also relieved and most happy to find himself tolerated near us once again. He still had a certain embarrassed look.
My trusted dog book tells me the odor of skunk is very tenacious. While the treatment has removed most of the problem, it is likely that if our friend gets wet during the next few weeks, we will immediately become aware of it.
Also, some dogs apparently do not learn from one experience with the four-legged forest fumigator and ultimately receive additional lessons in peaceful co-existence. Hopefully, this will not be the case with my bright, intelligent and friendly German shepherd.