Saturday, July 2, 2011

Piper v Skunk

Our evenings have been a little hectic for the last (how old is Ezra?) 21 months.  Every night is a struggle to temper chaos as much as possible.  That is why last night was shaping up to be a treat.  Ezra was asleep, the housework was under control, the pets’ bedtime routine finished, and neither Amanda nor I had anything too urgent.  Could it be that we had a few quiet hours alone before going to bed?  We settled onto the couch together to finally watch the Netflix DVD that had been sitting around for months.  Halfway through the first episode of Bored to Death, Piper who was sitting outside started barking.  He was using the loud, forceful bark he reserves for teenagers walking by our house.  Usually I check on the situation to insure everything is okay, but I was enjoying the unexpected cozy, relaxed, and calm time with Amanda.  I did not want to jump off the couch so quickly after settling into this rare opportunity.

The barking stopped as quickly as it started.  We continued to watch the episode assuming the teenagers had passed.  Just as Bored’s main character, an unlicensed private detective, discovered the ex-girlfriend he was pining over was dating the man he had been hired to follow, I turned to Amanda and asked, “do you smell a skunk?  [pause]   Is PIPER still OUTSIDE?”  If Piper had been barking at a teenager, it was a teenage skunk.   Our regular state of chaos had returned.

I thought I did not mind the smell of skunks.  I mistakenly believed the musky, patchouli smell I always inhaled when a skunk passed was their famous defensive stink.  Apparently, that is their normal smell. The foul, odor they produce as a biological weapon smells more like a mixture of sulfur, garlic, and burnt rubber. The smell is terrible and causes your eyes to water and nose to burn.  I now understand why a 5 lb. skunk can cause a 700 lb. bear to turn and run.

Piper is 80 lbs – most of which is fur.  He is difficult to bathe under normal circumstances.  Bathing him at midnight, in our backyard with a homemade potion to remove the stench of skunk is far from normal circumstances.

We did not know where to begin so we turned to the book of answers, the Internet.  The most highly recommended solution we could find to remove the odor was a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking powder, and liquid soap left to soak at the point of contact for at least 10 minutes.  We did this a few times.  We gave Piper two shampoo baths.   Since the hydrogen peroxide mixture is too strong to apply to the head or face, we followed the advice of several websites, and we washed his face with a store bought vaginal douche.

Even with the soakings, scrubbings, douches, and baths the faint smell of skunk remains. The hydrogen peroxide solution worked best, but it also bleached Piper’s black fur.  His back now has several large, reddish spots.  We did not leave it on long enough for him to fully transform into a peroxide blonde.   I’m unsure if the douche really helped that much - I guess he now smells like a skunk in a fresh summer rainstorm.

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