Saturday, July 26, 2008

An Aromatic Evening or, Adventures of Oji the Varmint Hunter

One of my oldest friends was in town last night, so we got together for some supper and a long overdue reunion. It's been about 3 years since we last got together, and ironically, that meeting was also here in San Antonio. Andre just got back from Saudi Arabia, and we had a good time comparing notes about our respective times there. Melody had had a long, hot day at a unit barbeque, and was a bit too tired to join us for supper, so after Andre and I finished eating, we came back to the house to visit for a while.

After a short tour, we adjourned to the back deck with a cigar and a beer, and we all just chatted for an hour or so. Oji alternated between wandering between us all for love and wandering around the back yard.

At one point, Andre said, "Do you smell a skunk?" Sure enough, there was a faint odor of burning rubber skunkiness. I took a look around, but saw nothing. The smell seemed to be fading, so we thought that maybe it was in the neighbor's yard or just passing by. We relaxed a bit, and continued our visit.

Then, out of the corner of his eye, Andre saw what looked like a little cat. A little black and white cat with a fluffy tail. Only, it wasn't a cat at all...the skunk came to visit, and was just poking around the flower beds. At first, Oji didn't see it, and I tried desperately to get his attention. That only brought him to a place where he did see it, and he went into "Hi! Welcome to our yard! Can I sniff your butt?" This is appropriate behavior among dogs, but not so among skunks, apparently.

At this point, it was becoming pandemonium. Melody and Andre were yelling, "There it is! There it is!" I'm hollering at Oji, "Oji!! COME!! Leave it alone!!" Oji is curiously following the skunk around, trying for a sniff...My main fear was twofold. First, we just got Oji a bath, and it cost us about $25...we weren't going to get our money's worth at all! Secondly, skunks carry rabies, and I was more afraid Oji would get bitten or scratched.

I tried desperately to distract Oji by grabbing his tail, but it barely got his attention. He was fixated on the cute, furry little visitor. At one point, the skunk turned to face him, and started advancing toward him, and that's when I really got scared for our dog. I grabbed his collar, and then the skunk turned, and let loose. It got Oji in the face, and he stopped being so curious. I lunged back up the steps to the deck level, stumbling, skinning my elbow, and finally getting my footing. Oji jumped up right behind me. I don't know where the skunk went.

We made our way inside, and I grabbed the towel we've been using to wipe his feet, and wiped his face with it. The pungent skunk smell got pretty thick in the house. After I wiped his face, we worked our way to the front door, got Oji on the leash, and took him outside for an immediate bath. He kept trying to rub his face on the carpet...not something we really wanted him to do.

Once we got him outside, I got the hose ready, and Melody grabbed the shampoo. Oji kept rubbing his face in the leaves and wood chips, still trying to get rid of the smell. Skunk juice is pretty oily, and I'd gotten it on my hands as well trying to clean Oji up. It took a bunch of scrubbing to get him cleaned up.

Fortunately, Andre was there. He's a pretty big guy, and was able to hold the leash up so that I could get in and scrub Oji up. And, fortunately, the only place that the skunk seemed to spray was just on the tip of Oji's snout. He didn't get a real dousing, didn't get it in his eyes, and best of all, didn't get any bites or scratches.

About 10 minutes of washing, and Oji was pretty much done. He still has a little bit of skunkiness if you get really close to him, but it could have been much, much worse.

We've ordered some skunk repellent, and I'll spread that around the house once we get it. Hopefully, that will send the little critters packing. They certainly are cute, but we've already got our own cute critter...don't need any others for now.

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