Friday, October 10, 2008

Don't It Always Seem To Go

It was bound to happen. On some level, it is nearly unfathomable it hadn’t happened before now. Big, active dogs. Country living. Close proximity to nature and her many creatures. To quote the Joni Mitchell song, “Don’t it always seem to go/ you don’t know what you’ve got/ ‘til it’s gone.”

One thing we won’t have an opportunity to miss anytime soon is the lovely bouquet d’skunk Emmett and Trinity introduced to the family this morning as we were trying to complete daily hygienic rituals and zip off to work.

What does one do in this situation? Although I find K’s olfactory hyperbole with regard to skunk odor to be quite amusing, when said odor comes bounding in the front door attached to two loveable, large dogs, what is one to do? Emmett and Trinity clearly took direct hits to the face. Upon entering the trailer, they each began a painful series of snorkel maneuvers across the living room floor, butts high in the air, faces rubbing across the carpet whose overall aesthetic value is improved by adding a scratch-and-sniff feature.

I like to think of myself as a responsible person. I have a responsibility to lead by example and show up to work “on time.” I have a responsibility to look after the safety and overall welfare of the animals. I have a responsibility to keep K in at least a minimally habitable environment, until the house is completed. The introduction of one pissed-off skunk threw all of these responsibilities into a calamitous mental and emotional train wreck.

Not having any easy answer, I decided to take a shower. Whereupon I was joined by Trinity. How miserable does a dog have to be to ask to get into the shower with you? And how weird to you have to be to allow it, 10 minutes post-skunk spray? I tried washing her with the Hy-Lyt dog shampoo that was handy just outside the shower, and the result was a Trinity that smelled like wet dog, skunk and flea shampoo. I was able to wash out her eyes and face with enough water she quit exhibiting signs of distress. But the overall affect for the odor in the trailer was non-extant.

Having refreshed myself with an invigorating shower, I decided to clear a bunch of my clothes (well, o.k., t-shirts) out of the trailer, in case the odor became so pervasive it infiltrated the dresser drawers. I set the clothes I intended to wear to work that day out on the front porch. I turned on every fan available in the 14x 50 foot space we call home. Not knowing what else to do and seeking to bring order from chaos or at least escape the horrifying smell overtaking our living space, I headed out to work.

Here is the list of attempted antidotes and a very unscientific review of their effectiveness:

Tomato juice; didn’t try it, but thanks for asking; the chemical explanation I located on the Internet explains that the poison from skunk spray paralyzes some sinus nerve endings and tomato juice works on others, so the skunk smell doesn’t go away, you just quit smelling it. I have meetings to go to. I have an office where my presence is required in way that does not make others vomit upon entering. I don’t need to not be able to smell, I need to not smell.

White vinegar; I read that I was to boil a pot of white vinegar on the stovetop, simmer it until ¾ has cooked off, and then open the place up, turn on fans, and the odor would be escorted out by the vinegar. It smells like we have opened a pickle factory here at MisFit Farm. The smell of overcooked vinegar is seething from the walls of the trailer, which greets you just before you get knocked off your feet by the smell of skunk as you cross the trailer threshold.

Krebaum’s Formula; A chemist, Paul Krebaum, wrote an article in 1993, proposing that the best remedy for neutralizing skunk spray is to apply a wash consisting of ¼ c. baking soda; 1 Qt. hydrogen peroxide; and, 1 – 2 teaspoons of dishwashing detergent. This chemist was not fooling around. This stuff works. Unfortunately, it only works on the part of the dogs not close to the eyes or face, so while we have managed to de-skunk 7/8 of each of the dogs, there is still a very stinky 1/8 that likes to kiss, rest on my shoulder, and be rubbed. Also, I can’t figure out how I would apply this solution to the entire trailer.

Neutroleum Alpha Concentrate; Underneath the bold letters announcing the exotic and effective-sounding name of this product, purchased for top dollar from the Vet college here in our fine state of KS, is printed in tiny, fading letters, “Odor masking formula.” Never mind.

Despite my under-functioning at the time of the event, we have all survived the great skunk attack of 2008. We have learned important lessons about the chemical composition of skunk spray, the likes of which we had never before entertained. Additionally, we were given an opportunity to offer another quality product analysis and endorsement for our faithful readership.

Oh yeah, and K submits the following as proof of my undying love for Trinity, skunky face and all.

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