Monday, October 8, 2012

Skunked (Pupper le Pew)

This is Rollins. Our 2-year-old Yellow Lab. He is very handsome, and he knows it.
This is a skunk. Not mine and certainly not handsome.
A couple weeks ago on a mild September evening after the sun had set, these 2 met. And because of that chance meeting we have the story of the night Rollins was sprayed by a skunk.

It was roughly 9pm, give or take a few minutes. I was in the kitchen and my husband (Bobby) was in the bedroom. Rollins was also in the bedroom and started growling and barking out the window. He does this on occasion and whenever we look out the window we never see anything, and never quite know what he's barking at.

(Please note the image below is not even remotely to scale or at all accurate in terms of what our house actually looks like, but it gives you an idea of where things are.)
We decided to let him out, so Bobby put his collar on him and Rollins sprinted out the back door clearly keen on getting whatever creature was lurking in the darkness. I had tried to ask Bobby to check around the side of the house (where the skunk is on the drawing above) to make sure there wasn't anything there before Rollins went out. It's hard to see around the side of the house, especially at night and I was worried about him chasing whatever creature was there into the street. But Rollins was not to be stopped, he was on a mission.

Since Rollins literally took off off the deck I ran outside as well to make sure he wasn't going to run into the street. When he's chasing something, he has no concept of where he is. He is a retriever after all. Because it was dark I couldn't see what was on the side of the house. But by all the barking and growling Rollins was doing it was clear that he had found something. Bobby was in the yard going after Rollins to get him to come back onto the deck. Rollins is actually a pretty well behaved dog and listens most of the time, so back to the deck he came and stood with me while Bobby assessed the situation.

I asked him if he could see anything and he said, "I think it was a skunk." And instantly I'm thinking, "Oh, (expletive), I hope he didn't get sprayed." He was standing right next to me and I didn't smell a thing, I thought we were in the clear. Then I bent down and took a whiff. Yep, it was a skunk, and Rollins got sprayed. Skunk 1, Rollins 0. It was late, it was dark, everything was closed, what do we do? Google of course. Google always has the answer.

I stood on the deck with Rollins to keep the smell out of the house while Bobby Googled on his phone and ran down the options. I remember tomato juice being a remedy when I was a kid. I knew we didn't have any tomato juice so I was hoping there were other options. There were. We decided based on what we had on hand that giving him a bath with his own shampoo was the best option.

Before bathing him we checked his eyes and ears and they appeared to be fine. Apparently skunk spray is actually an oil, and it can burn the eyes and cause blindness. Rollins was good. Google also said to wipe down the sprayed animal, Rollins in this case, with paper towels to try to get some of the oil off before it soaked into his skin. We did that and then into the tub he went.

Rollins loves the water. He's a big fan of the pool and loves the hose, but he hates being in the bathtub. I wish I had taken a picture of how pitiful he looked while standing in the tub soaking wet. He was not a happy camper. We (Bobby) ended up giving him 2 consecutive baths with his regular dog shampoo and it did the trick. However, there was no remedy for the skunk smell that permeated the house. The smell was everywhere. Because the bedroom windows were open, and the incident occurred outside the bedroom windows, the smell had worked its way into the house. It was awful. We turned on all the fans, lit all the candles we had and opened all the windows. In the morning it was much better.

As for Rollins, he didn't smell the next day, but if he gets wet, even now that it's a couple weeks later, you can still smell a little bit of the skunk on him. But only if you're close to him. We read on Google that the smell can stay on animals that have been sprayed up to 2 years, so the sooner the situation is address the better. Since he was wearing his collar when he was sprayed that also stunk of skunk. We left it outside on the deck for a few days and airing it out completely got rid of the skunk smell. The towels we used to dry him off, and the clothes we were wearing while we bathed him were all also rid of the skunk smell after they had been washed.

We haven't seen the skunk since, but then again, I never saw it to begin with. I will say, I now do a quick check of the yard before I let him out at night, just to make sure I can't see, or smell anything. And now, when Rollins barks out into the darkness at what I think is nothing, I do a quick scan to see if there's anything there. Just in case.