3 a.m. Burrowing further under the covers didn't help. The air was being sucked from the room. I hear John closing the windows. What is that smell? Oh, no! My mind is saying, "Get up!" My nose is saying "Get further under the covers." Gagging and coughing, I drag myself out of bed.
"Skunk, one of them's been with a skunk!"
"I think it's coming from outside. That's why I closed the windows," John says.
"No," I point to the offending dog. "It's Cinnamon. She stinks."
The pungent odor is taking over the room. Cinnamon looks justifiably embarrassed. I stagger by her and make my way to the kitchen. "Please, Lord, let it be in there."
I pull open the cupboard containing all the dog stuff and there it is. Skunk Off. A very small bottle but maybe enough to get us through until morning. My poor Australian Shepherd is now trying to rub the smell off onto the carpet.
"John, grab her. We'll never get it out of the carpet."
He does and holds her, leaning as far away as he can. I pour the precious liquid onto my hand and rub it over her wet chest and side. I rub it on her muzzle and the top of her head. The acrid, rank odor immediately dissipates. Still stinky but manageable.
When I got to work the next morning, at the Veterinary hospital, Cinnie was still smelly and really depressed. We used Summer's Eve body wash, great for getting out skunk smell, then a vinegar/water rinse and one more bath of Summer's Eve. Within minutes of her bath, she was back to her wiggly butt, happy self. The poor girl thought she was in trouble until I gave her the bath. Funny thing is, she was never in trouble. She loves everyone and unfortunately, everything. She probably went to say hi! And got skunked. If we're unfortunate enough to have that skunk return, she'll probably do it again.
And you know what? This is one of the things I love about her. She knows how to live in the moment, to forgive, to try to make friends again even if it didn't work out the first time. This is a dog who was locked in a garage for the first year of her life. When we first brought her home she was frightened by all the new noises, people, and places but she greets each and every day with an enthusiasm and joy I stand in awe of. She knows that life is worth living every single second of every single minute. And I'm right there with her. Even when it gets stinky!
Susan J Donetti
Lives in Northern California with her husband, two dogs, three cats and one horse.