Skunk Dog (October 2003)

Mom was working on her Pizza Party quilt. It was about half past midnight and we were finally going to bed. She let me out one last time, and I took off for the back fence lickety-split. Well, there was a new friend in the yard, so I went right up to him and said hello. I have met many nice friends in the back yard and I like them all. The squirrels and birds are fun to watch. We have insects that I try to catch with my mouth when I pretend I'm an alligator, and we have rabbits. The rabbits leave raisins on the lawn and I love to roll on them because they make me smell very nice. Mom doesn't think so and every time I perfume myself she hauls my sorry carcass right into the tub for a bath. (She can be so annoying at times.)

Well, my new friend smelled as if he had rolled in something quite spicy. I was trying to place the source of his intriguing aroma (Burning tires? Molding onions? Spoiled sushi?) and went in a little closer for a good sniff. I thought he was being very accommodating to turn around and lift his tail, but when I stepped closer, he squirted something on my head! What had smelled so interesting before was now all over me, and it was way too much of a good thing! I tried to get it off, but no matter how much I rolled, I was still quite potent, and all covered in wet grass clippings for my effort.

Mom is a lot dumber than she looks. I came in through the garage and all she noticed was the grass clippings stuck to my fur! I hopped up on my little grooming table and she started brushing them out. It's times like this that I really wish she could speak dog. I mean, I'm trying to tell her what happened and she asks me if I rolled in onions! Pa-LEASE! We don't HAVE onions in the garden! (She really needs to get out more.) I was trying to explain the subtle differences between the various perfumes we DO have outside and she looked at me with those cute little eyes of hers. She was totally clueless. (Humans are fun to play with, but they have the brains of a pre-paper trained puppy, if you know what I mean.) To be honest, she's usually smarter than this, but she was sleep-deprived from all that quilting.

After she massaged the smell into my fur trying to get the wet grass clippings off me with the brush, SHE LET ME INTO THE HOUSE! She muttered something like she was too tired to deal with it (huh???) and she'd take care of me in the morning! Jeezle Pete! I just stared at her from behind my personal cloud of stink. I was beside myself. Actually I wished I could have been next door to myself, I stank so badly.

Mom went up to bed, so I decided on a plan of my own: Rather than stay in one place and have the stench burn a hole in the carpet and then eat through the floor beneath me, causing me to fall into the basement, I stayed up most of the night wandering from one room to another. As soon as I stood in one place too long and the cloud of smell caught up to me, I moved on. I don't think I laid down the whole time.

Mom's nose must have been temporarily disconnected. It was working better in the morning. She came downstairs and threw me outside. I heard much vacuuming and cleaning amid exclamations of "What an idiot I am!" and "I can't believe I let him in the house!" Then she covered the bathroom floor with old towels—the international sign for "we're going to have a bath."

As all dogs know, it is preferable to stink to high heaven rather than go freely into the tub. I weigh a good 70 pounds. Mom is a strong woman, for a human female, but she can't lift 70 pounds of dead weight (with fur) over the lip of the tub. She is obstinate, however. First, she got my front paws over the edge. Then, she got behind me and tried to lift my rear end up and over. I employed the infamous "Lead-Butt Misdirect." (Transfer all the weight to your back tires, so to speak, with a standard, self-directed "sit" command. While the human focuses attention on your hind end extract your front paws from the tub.) If the human can indeed raise your rump off the ground (that is SO funny to watch), all they succeed in doing is pushing you against the side of the tub for a slippery U-turn. Simple. Works every time.

Then Mom got into the tub and attempted a traditional Collar Tug. (See? They're such puppies!) That was easily derailed with another sit, reinforced with a Front Leg Lock. She could pull all she wanted. My head wasn't going anywhere. And if my head wasn't going into the tub, neither was I. Simple physics. Mom left the bathroom. I was victorious, if highly odiferous.

Then Mom stripped down to her birthday suit, jumped in the tub, put a dog biscuit between her knees, and gave me a COME command. Naturally, I obeyed. (I am, above all else, a Good Dog.) Before I knew what happened, she grabbed my collar with one hand and used the other to imprison us behind the impenetrable, plastic shower curtain. (I just can't figure out how those work!) This is probably the human equivalent of locking ones own keys in the car. I should have seen it coming. But, as the poodle down the street says, "Se la vie!" I fought the good fight, and accepted defeat like a man, with my tail between my legs.

As the water began to fill the tub it was apparent to both of us that the bath had come none to soon. Water magnified my aroma ten fold. A vigorous scrubbing with my doggie shampoo proved disappointingly ineffective. Mom's shampoo, even in copious amounts, was no better. Neither were the Clorox disinfectant wet wipes, the soap scum remover, or Jennie's shaving gel. I was a veritable bouquet of odors, the most pervasive being "Parfume de Skunk."

I was exiled again to the back yard while Mom went shopping for ingredients to make an anti-stink potion her friend found on the internet (1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, 1 teaspoon Dawn liquid dish soap). The directions said to make only the amount you need and not to store this concoction. Good idea; it would probably blow up! Talk about an invigorating bath! Try to avoid the eyes if possible. If not, rinse thoroughly.

The potion worked wonders, although several return trips to the tub were necessary as the aroma continued to ooze out my pores for several days. I don't think I've ever been this clean in my whole life! And, I've gotten very used to the tub. Now I jump right in as soon as I'm asked. When we're done bathing me, Mom showers while I sit or lay down in the tub and wait patiently. I can shake on command now (BEFORE stepping out of the tub) and rather like being wrapped nose to tail in towels like a mummy while Mom dries off. Just please don't tell the other dogs.