Close Encounters of the Worst Kind

This is a true story, the memory of which was triggered by this Morguefile photo that is featured in Roger Shipp’s Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner. So apologies in advance to Roger, as this is not a flash fiction tale, and it does not fit within his suggested 200 word limit. But I think this story may be worth telling.


The incident took place maybe around fifteen years ago when I let our dog out in our backyard dog run for his last bathroom break of the night. He apparently smelled something that required him to go investigate.

Hearing his exciting barking, I hurried over to see what had attracted him and saw that he had cornered a skunk and the skunk was not a happy camper.

Knowing what was about to happen, I reached out to grab my dog to pull him out of harm’s way.

Too little, too late. The two of us got sprayed.

I lifted the poor dog and carried all 70 pounds of him into the house, frantically calling out to my wife, “We got sprayed.” I asked her to Google what to do when your dog gets sprayed by a skunk.

I grabbed a few towels from the laundry room and started to pat down the hapless dog. My wife came back from her Google search saying that we needed to bathe him in a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dishwashing liquid. She also said some sites mentioned tomato juice and vinegar. “But all we have in the house is the dishwashing liquid and vinegar,” she pointed out.

Reluctantly, I drove to the grocery store to get tomato juice, peroxide, and baking soda. The good news was that it was 9 p.m. and there weren’t very many people in the grocery store. The bad news was that those who were there looked at me in horror and moved away from me as quickly as they could. Having just been sprayed by a skunk, I stunk terribly.

Wash, Rinse, Repeat

When I got home, my wife and I bathed the dog in the mixture of ingredients. Twice, in fact. Unfortunately, there was no salvaging the clothes we were wearing or any of the towels we had used to dry the dog. Those were tossed into a large trash bag for disposal.

I spent the next half hour scrubbing myself down in the shower, trying as best I could to get the stink off of me.

Our dog recovered from his skunk encounter, although whenever it rained and his fur got wet, even years later, the faint smell of skunk would return.

21 thoughts on “Close Encounters of the Worst Kind

  1. JT Twissel January 20, 2021 / 4:02 pm

    OMG – right in the line of fire. We’ve had skunk/dog encounters in the backyard but at least I wasn’t involved directly.

    Like

  2. Marilyn Armstrong January 20, 2021 / 6:49 pm

    We too have skunks. They eat the bulbs in our garden. The fence around the dog’s yard is not just to keep Duke in. It’s to keep those other ones OUT. For what it’s worth, Martha’s Vineyard always smelled like “Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road.” There were a LOT of skunks and a lot of cars running them over.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. cagedunn January 20, 2021 / 7:49 pm

    Vinegar in the wash water, but not too much. The baking soda on the fur before the dog goes in the water. A couple of dunks, then the soapy stuff. At least twice. Dry the dog. More baking soda brushed into the fur. Wash again the next day.

    I think it sounds just like washing dead whale off a dog. Yes, personal experience. Never forgotten. Unfortunately, our dog was very happy with the smell of whale and went back next day, despite the high fence and attempt to lock her in.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Stine Writing January 20, 2021 / 8:20 pm

    That is awful. Once also a long time ago we had this little area fenced off for the dog. We put him out but didn’t know there was a skunk in there so we trapped the poor dog in with the skunk! Oh the howl he let out. The smell of a dead skunk in the road doesn’t even come close to a real spray. Luckily, once it sprays you’ve got quite a few hours before it will spray again.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Marleen January 20, 2021 / 9:13 pm

    I’ve never had to deal with that, even though I had a few boys outside a lot of the time and two cats who would kill skunks. The closest I’ve come to the smell is passing by road kill.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Melanie B Cee January 21, 2021 / 5:26 am

    At my old house, I had a dog who didn’t learn not to mess with skunks. We had a deep backyard there, and the wild critters loved to come through (it was a wild place because hubby nor I were not gardeners and the weeds grew and bushes/and all grew out of control. Anyway. Sausha (my dog), first encountered a skunk and got a faceful of spray. She shared that ‘happy’ news with us, who were sleeping as it was 2 a.m. She couldn’t understand the unhappiness that caused and the subsequent tomato juice bath didn’t enhance the experience. We thought she would surely be cured, but nooo. About a year and a half later, she got sprayed again, this time though she had a few white hairs caught in her teeth, so I guess she bit the skunk or at least grabbed its fur. We knew what to do with her that time. The third time she had gotten a bit more wary and only got lightly sprayed. Man did that dog love skunks!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango January 21, 2021 / 10:18 pm

      Ugh. I guess I’m lucky that it only happened once.

      Like

  7. Irene January 21, 2021 / 7:53 am

    Ugh! My dog went through that horror once; I did not get sprayed, but when he got in the house, he had a panic attack and ran up and down the house, spreading the stench! There was a lot of washing to do for sure. His groomer said the tomato juice remedy is a myth that only masks the odour temporarily, but then it gets uncovered, making it worse. A line of products that really saved the day (and the dog, and the house) was Nature’s Miracle, with enzymes that neutralize bad odours and remove stains, safe even on carpet, and they also have a specific anti-skunk shampoo for dogs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango January 21, 2021 / 10:26 pm

      A skunk encounter is something neither man nor beast should have to experience.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. leigha66 January 22, 2021 / 12:37 pm

    Oh no! What a terrible experience. Luckily the dog we had growing up never went after them, and they stayed out of the area. Surprising the smell would resurface that long afterwards.

    Liked by 1 person

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