I was in the kitchen late one evening, putting some things away when Henry streaked through the room like his tail was on fire.
Our house is arranged such that one can stand on the back porch and look out into the back yard. Coming in from the porch, you would enter the back door into a mud room, which in turn opens into the kitchen.
On the other side of the kitchen is a doorway that opens into the dining room, and another door that opens onto the stairwell and hallway. The dining room is between the Study, on the left, and the living room on the right. From the living room you can go back down the aforementioned hallway and turn either right back into the kitchen, or left into the master suite, complete with a bedroom, bathroom, dressing area, and walk-in closet.
Henry visited every one of these rooms during this particular journey through our house. And he managed this tour in less than a minute on this summer evening. Henry not only visited these rooms, but he managed to jump on every sofa, loveseat and chair that these rooms contained.
I had heard some barking earlier, followed by a high pitched squeal just moments before I saw the black streak flash through the kitchen. I had time to turn and watch Henry leave the dining room and enter the study before I got slammed.
It hit me like a wall of odor. Henry had just been skunked! And it was powerful. It felt like a physical force pressing me back against the kitchen cabinet.
“Stop him! Stop him!” I screamed at Wife. Of course she had no idea why I was yelling, or what I was yelling about.
Henry had jumped up onto the love seat where Wife and I spent most of our time in the evening, watching television. He rolled on his back and did his best to wipe the skunk off of him.
By the time the odor wall hit Wife, he had already rocketed into the living room. He jumped onto one chair, then the next, and then the couch, desperately trying to find something that would get the smell off of him.
Wife and I were in hot pursuit. Yelling at Henry, yelling at each other, not sure we really wanted to pick up this skunky dog. We just wanted the smell to go away. We wanted to turn back the clock for five minutes, and call Henry inside. We wanted Henry to go out onto the porch. We didn’t want Henry spreading his scent all over the house.
We were just two steps behind him when he headed for the bedroom. He rolled on the rug, then headed back for our walk – in closet! The good news? This is where we were at last able to corner Henry. The bad news? This is where all of our clothes were hanging!
I carried Henry out onto the front porch, and closed him off from the rest of the house. Then we opened the door, ran the air conditioner, turned on ceiling fans and exhaust fans, and opened any windows that weren’t painted shut.
It was already 11:00 when Henry first blew through the house. We really didn’t want to stay up washing the dog, but we also didn’t want to leave poor Henry out on the front porch all night. So, I hit the computer looking for a magic anti-skunk solution. The word on the internet was that tomato sauce and ketchup don’t really work. The magic formula I found involved hydrogen peroxide (quart), Baking Soda (1/4 cup), and 1 – 2 teaspoons of liquid soap. Mix, rub on stinky dog, wait 15 minutes, rinse, repeat.
We had hydrogen peroxide, but not a quart of it. So our first task was to run to the local grocery store which, thankfully, was open all night.
We washed poor Henry three times, and he still smelled like skunk.
The next morning we put our skunky dog in the bathtub and washed him with a dog shampoo we’d had for years. He smelled much better. The skunk smell was still faintly on him, but there was a great improvement.
The next time Henry met the tail end of a skunk, yes, there was a next time … we went straight to the dog shampoo. It only took two applications, and it worked much better than the secret formula given above.
Henry didn’t learn to stay away from skunks. But we learned how to deal with him when he forgot his lesson.
Oh, our clothes? Wife and I smelled a little skunky for about six months, but the smell eventually left. It was always interesting reaching in and pulling something out we hadn’t worn in a while. Memories of that warm summer evening returned, along with the faint odor of skunk.