Thursday, October 20, 2016

Skunked



I am one of the few people I know who doesn’t mind the smell of skunk.  That was until recently when my dog got skunked in the back yard.  There is a big difference between the far-away, just passing through smell of road kill and having an up close and personal experience.  Wow, it gets right into your pores.

The first time it happened the weather was still warm and the windows all open. The overpowering smell of skunk permeated not only the dog, but all the rugs, curtains, and bedding. We took the dog to the groomer who gave her a special bath ($55) and began washing everything in the house.

We also called a pest control company who came and told us that it would cost $900 for them to set traps for 5 days, with no guarantees.  Thanks, but no thanks. We went and bought a trap ($35)  and got all sorts of advice about what to bait it with.  Every night we put out the trap at dusk and got up at dawn to an empty trap.

Unfortunately one morning we let the dog out before the sun was fully up and yes, she got skunked again. And this time, really bad.

Photo Oct 04, 2 27 10 PM.jpg

We left her in the garage until we could get an afternoon appointment with the groomer. (another $55) Fortunately we could walk to the groomer because putting the dog in a car was not an option.  The shop is in a small strip mall and I was not there 5 minutes before we heard fire sirens and the firefighters telling everyone to leave the premises.  Apparently my dog’s odor was so strong that someone in another shop thought they smelled a gas leak.  Yeah, not too embarrassing.

Home again and we began doubling our efforts to trap the skunk.  Apples, peanut butter, marshmallows, cat food.  We began trying them all and in different combinations.  And then one morning we looked out and saw the trap door was down.  Of course we had no idea what to do next because we certainly didn’t want to get skunked ourselves.  So slowly and carefully we approached the cage. (We couldn’t see in it because we were told to cover it with a garbage bag before putting it out.)  Martha tried poking at it with a very long stick and was convinced that we had caught something weighty, as opposed to the occasional chipmunk we found. But when I looked from a different vantage point I saw something with a long white snout.

Yes, we had caught a possum.  A possum with very nasty looking teeth.

Photo Oct 07, 2 29 22 PM.jpg


Honestly, we don’t understand why this is happening. We live on a very busy street in a very suburban setting, with a totally fenced yard, with a dog.  Why any wildlife makes our yard a home is beyond me.

Anyway, there was no way either of us was going to pick up this creature, or lift the trap door to let him out.  So another call to pest control to have the possum relocated. ($162)  

And the saga continues. Every night we set the trap. Every morning we look, both hopeful and terrified that we caught something.  As the days get shorter and the nights longer, my dog is confined more and more inside the house.  In fact, we are all being held prisoner and we are not very happy about it. Plus the house and yard still have a faint odor of eau d’skunk.  It’s impossible to get rid of.

Anyone know a skunk whisperer?  




12 comments:

  1. oh my! I guess we were lucky - while it was totally gross - our method of excavation was much better. I guess between the three of them they took care of it themselves. Well really two of them - cause Elliott wouldn't bother. But - I hope you get the culprit soon. It rained last night at our house and the smell came back again on our dogs... ick... not pleasant...

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  2. My dog apparently just wants to sniff it's butt. Can I hire your dogs? I'm sure it would be cheaper to fly them out here than what we're going through now : )

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  3. Of course, I'm one of those people who is happy to have critters around - raccoons, possums, skunks, etc. and yes my cats have gotten skunked - one very badly - and I live in the big city - San Francisco. Also near a city park. I hope your skunks can keep on but also your pup alone and/or visa versa. :-) I'm so happy when wildlife can keep on - given all that's going on in the world. Every time I see a skunk or raccoon hit by a car, I think... some other skunk or raccoon's mom! I know, I'm not helping! I just see how endless development is... I see the artic ice caps melting. Etc. You know... less wilderness, more melting. Sad! So... again... I hope skunkies leave your pup alone. And that little possum... hope it can wander away. We have this amazing rabbit - a HUGE one - Siamese markings - that shows up in the yard from time to time. Obviously, someone's pet. Or escaped pet. or something. It's not a wild type rabbit. Our cats leave it alone. It has dug a tunnel and shows up in our yard and checks out the compost pile and noses around to see what's growing. So far, no cows or horses or wolves or deer or bison have showed up. That would be pretty shocking, lol.

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    1. I have spent my whole career protecting open space, which is why it is so frustrating to me that this skunk is choosing my suburban yard to settle in when there are thousands of nearby acres of wild lands to wander. And BTW - the possum was relocated out in the country.

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  4. Critters. Ick. No thank you. Here's to a resolution sooner rather than too much later.

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    1. Sooner would be much appreciated.

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  5. A bath of tomato juice on 3 ocassions. That's my story.

    Are skunks like raccoons? Loud music and bright lights s send them scurrying.

    Sending you πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•
    Love
    kj



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    1. The groomer did a remarkable job with skunk shampoo. And yes, we are now trying to make our yard less welcoming. Although we can't figure out how we will know if (they?) left.

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  6. You have a basement, right? Rather than a crawl space? My work friend had a huge skunk problem where they kept trying to get into the crawl space under her house. If you keep any hidey holes (under the deck, perhaps?) buttoned up tight and don't provide food, shelter or water for them maybe they'll stop visiting.

    Poor pup!

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    1. We think it (they?) are under the deck and yes, I am in the doghouse because I have not yet put a skirt around the deck. We also think the fruit trees and berry bushes might be attracting but I don't want to get rid of them. If my dog could just leave it alone I think we could all live together peacefully.

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  7. I've never smelled a skunk but from what others are saying I should count myself lucky:)Do they need to find warm places for the winter? If so, is there any point in proviging a 'skunk house' well away from you and your dog to keep the critters happy and therefore away from you:)

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    1. I need to research the winter habits of skunks. But no, I am definitely not providing them formal housing : ) We are still counting on the relocation program.

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