Monday, June 13, 2011

Scratch and Sniff

It's hard to believe that such angelic cuteness could ever turn into the thing of horror that you will see later in this post, but it is true. Ever so sadly true...

Wednesday night I had both Tiggy and Cousin Clancy out for a sleepover. Tiggy was here because she is a very effective whiner, and Clancy was staying for a few days of dog sitting while his parents took off on a short trip.

Poor Clancy. He is a town dog. He has to stay inside the house except for quick trips out to do his business. In the winter, this isn't much of a problem, but in the summer, there is nothing he loves as much as a visit to his Auntie's house in the country. There he gets to run to his fat little heart's content.

This visit was no exception. All three dogs were having a great time charging around the grassy fields. Finley enjoyed having company that wasn't his Aunt Jackie, a border collie who finds nothing as irresistible as Finley's wildly bobbing ears, and in typical border collie fashion, will hurl herself at them at a dead run. Finley finds a dangling dog to be a serious impediment to loping freely. So it was nice to have stolid old Clancy visit for once.

Clancy had come back to the house a short time before, a little worn out from so much freedom. As I was painting and the girls were, I don't know, being girls, I suddenly smelled a whiff of skunk.

"Uh oh! Smells like someone got into the skunks."

The divas replied airily, "Oh, that's just Clancy. He was a bit skunky and it smells stronger because he got wet in the ditch."

That sounded reasonable for about a 1/2 second, but the whiff of skunk grew so rapidly strong that I knew it was not due to an old, stale spraying. We looked out the window in our door to see this horrifying sight waiting confidently for entrance.

I opened the door a crack and shoved two wildly protesting divas out armed only with a bottle of shampoo and a stack of towels. They washed the muck off him, but there wasn't much that could be done about the smell. After he was bathed, I tried to have him in, I really did, shutting him in the living room and propping a closet door in the opening. But it was no use. The smell was so fresh and sharp it didn't even smell like skunk. It burned our eyes and smelled vaguely of onions.

I finally made him a bed out in the pump house and shut the door. The next morning wasn't as bad. Finley now smelled only of skunk, and I've found I can tolerate that. My old dog spent her youth in chasing skunks time and time again, so I guess I grew up used to it. Thankfully, Anika didn't get sprayed, and of course, noble, upstanding Clancy was in the house at the time.

A few days later, Laura and I went for a walk---it's nice to get some fresh air once in a while!---and we saw a sad answer to the puzzle of why Finley was both soaked AND sprayed. Evidently, he decided that skunks were a worthy enough prey for his exalted hunter's bloodlines. Translation: It's the only thing slow enough for him to catch so far.

On the bright side, my other hunter has been active too, to much more socially acceptable results. Poppy is a ferocious mouser, but doesn't catch for hunger. Oh, no! She catches for PRIDE. And it's somewhat of a contest between Laura and myself to see which one of us Poppy loves best. With the loser being the best loved one, of course. The other morning, it was Laura that was loved best. Right on her pillow. I can't gloat too much, because Mr. Skunky loves ME best all the time, follows me everywhere, and has to sleep snuggled up next to my face at night. But for a moment, things were sweet, very sweet.

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