Close Encounter

It was a lovely morning for a walk as we set out last Sunday morning. Part of my routine is to circuit the barn on our way west, just to make sure all is as it should be. Well, on Sunday morning, it definitely wasn’t. A small, black and white, looked-like-a-cat was on the south side of the barn next to a freshly dug pile of dirt. You can’t just move into our yard without so much as a hello so I ran over to check out the newcomer. That was when I discovered it wasn’t a cat, but a very unsociable, straight-from-hell, toxic-gas-spraying beast!

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The face of a happy dog looking forward to a morning walk.

 

It turned as I ran toward it—I assumed to run away—and I was looking forward to a good chase when the animal’s tail went straight in the air and a nasty, yellow stream hit the left side of my face. The smell was bad but the burning in my left eye was excruciating. I ran back toward T who’d just come around the corner of the barn to see what was happening. I thought she might go after the creature that had attacked me but she just clipped the leash on my collar and we were running toward the house, away from the dispersing cloud of gas.

I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that it was a skunk that I encountered. It was my first experience with one so I had no idea. Logan thought it was hilarious, having had his run-ins with them more than once as a young dog. One time it happened when they were out camping with the horses and he had to ride home in the front part of the horse trailer where the tack usually goes. The tack got to ride in the truck. I guess I was lucky it happened at home where they had stuff on hand to help me.

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Logan’s still laughing.

 

So, anyway, once we reached the yard, T called for Nollind to come and help and then took me to a grassy area away from the house. I rubbed my face on the grass again and again, so many times that my lip was bleeding, but it just kept burning. I was sure relieved to see Nollind coming with a bucket full of remedies. I knew I could count on my people to know what to do.

The first thing they did was rinse my eye a few times with saline and that helped a bunch. The burning subsided. The direct hit to the face meant the spray was fairly localized, but it also meant it was hard to clean off without hurting me. They first tried a store-bought deskunking solution with written instructions to avoid the eyes, nose, and mouth. They applied it as carefully and as thoroughly as they could and let it dry. I was hopeful.

It helped some, but the smell was still pretty bad and I wasn’t allowed in the house. T did some research on products that could be used on my face and tomato juice was at the top of the list. It was nicer than the skunk product but I’m not a big fan of tomato. Too bad bacon grease didn’t take out skunk odor! When they rinsed it off I smelled kind of like a skunk in a tomato patch.

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It’s a little redder than the rest of me but I think it makes me look younger. What do you think?

 

The third and final solution was what they’d used on Logan all those years ago, once they got him home from the campground. It’s also not recommended for use on the face but we were desperate by this point. They were very careful, I did my best to keep my eyes and mouth closed, and we got the job done. A quick eye rinse after and I was just fine. It burned less than the skunk spray. The magic concoction? A mix of peroxide, baking soda, and a little bit of dish soap. If ever you need to get rid of skunk smell, here’s the recipe.

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I think all the peroxide bleached my face. I’m sure it wasn’t this white on Saturday.

 

I don’t notice it much anymore but, apparently, I still smell at close range or when I get wet and I’m told this could last for a month or more. As long as I’m allowed in the house and people still pet me, I’m okay with being a little stinky.

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I thought a swim in the canal would help but the water just brings out the smell.

 

As for the skunk, that pile of dirt was what he’d dug out from under the barn to make a den for himself … or herself. And, yes, he/she is still there. T and Nollind have tried a number of things in and around the den that are supposed to repel skunks but, so far, it keeps returning. They’re wondering if there might be babies in the den. I hope not, because as long as the skunk is there, Logan and I don’t get to go anywhere near the barn. They’re being silly, really, because it’s not like I’d do that again. No way. Next time I’d grab him before he had a chance to turn around and lift that tail!

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Please Fence Me In

I never thought a freedom lover like me would be happy to be fenced in but, turns out, at this stage of my life, it’s a good thing. I’ve mentioned in other posts how old age has me wanting to be outside all the time. Problem is, where we live, outside is a very big place and not without hazards. Until recently, nobody was too concerned about me wandering off on my own a little. I was independent and capable. But now I don’t hear so well, I can’t run very fast, and I’m certainly not up to fighting a coyote or badger or other such wild creature I might run across.

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First day in the new dog yard.

 

Truth be told, I’m not really inclined to wander much these days and am quite happy to just hang in the yard so they really don’t need to worry about me. Problem is, thirteen years of sneaking off at the first opportunity has created a certain amount of distrust in my people. I get it. I probably wouldn’t trust me either if I said, “Hey, don’t worry, I’ll stay right here where I’m safe.” Uh huh.

In my youth, I could run for miles, and did, every chance I got. Now it doesn’t take a lot of space to keep me happy. A few good den locations, a bit of green grass to chew on and lie in, a shady spot, and I’m content. Oh, and a house. I do like my dog house.

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Daytime deck and nighttime house.

 

So this year, in my fourteenth turn around the sun, Teresa and Nollind built me a yard. I like to think of it as my retirement home. It means I don’t have to stay in the house when I don’t want to and I’m let alone to do as I please when I’m outdoors. The best part? I get to sleep outside under the stars at night (although I usually prefer my doghouse).

And, yes, it’s also safe, and although the safety part is mostly for the comfort of my people, I’m probably just as happy to not tangle with a coyote, or a Ford pickup. I actually had a close call with a skunk a couple of nights ago. It was outside my fenced area but close enough I needed a deodorizing bath.

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One of my under-shrub dens.

 

So how big is “Logie-land”? Well, they used about five hundred feet of fence wire to go around it so probably about a third of an acre or so. Not a big piece in terms of the whole property but big enough for this old dog, and so much bigger than the little temporary corral they put together for me last fall when I was needing trips outside in the middle of the night. This new area wraps the whole house which means I can come and go via either door and hang out on both decks. There are treed areas to explore, good places to hide bones from Chico, and I just generally feel like I have a domain to patrol and protect.

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The bone I managed to bury well enough to keep from Chico for three days.

 

When I first joined the van Bryce household, I could escape from a 6-foot-high chain-link dog run, until they put a top on it. My new fence is just four feet high and I can’t even imagine going out over the top. But, other than yet another reminder that I’m not as young as I used to be, I’m okay to stay on my side of the fence, soak up the sun, sleep in the shade, and enjoy my retirement.

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A shady, grassy bit of heaven.

 

 

 

 

Pop Goes the Pooch

Shhh…mum’s the word. If it gets back to Logan that I’ve written this post, I may have to enter the witness protection program and you’ll never hear from me again.

Shhhh_Shhh_Shhh - FunnyAnimalSite dot com

Shhh …  (photo compliments of funnyanimalsite.com)

Well, here goes …

The first time it happened was in the car last summer. We were headed to friends for dinner and suddenly, there it was, a turd on the seat, flattened because Logan had been sitting on it. He acted like he had no idea where it had come from but there were only two of us in the back seat and I knew it wasn’t mine. Some wet wipes and a hosing of the Soggy Dog seat cover later, all was well. I wrote it off to “shit happens”.

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The Soggy Dog Seat Cover has been a life saver.

But, then it happened in the truck on another outing and it was messier, not the dry-ish turd pancake of the previous time. Even before the smell drifted to the front seats (and smell travels quickly) I had alerted T and Nollind by whining and trying to climb up front with them. “Help! Help! He’s done it again!”

Since those two incidents, there have been many an emergency roadside stop and clean up. Remarkably, we made it all the way to Arizona last winter without a problem but weren’t so lucky during Logan’s every-second-week visits to the vet in Blythe. Afternoons seem to be the most dangerous time to travel. It’s like his digestive system is almost ready to push something through but not quite, at least not until his travel nerves kick into gear.

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Happy travellers … but always on alert.

It’s a bit like traveling with a jack-in-the-box. The little handle goes round and round, round and round, the creepy music plays, and you wait, and you cringe, and you wait some more, knowing what’s coming but not quite sure when. And then, all of a sudden, POP!, the vehicle fills with stink and T & Nollind go into emergency mode: finding the next spot to pull over, evacuating the vehicle, grabbing the clean-up kit. At these times, I just tuck myself into a corner as far from the offending deposit as I can until things are under control.

It’s happening all the time now, even in the house some nights. Crazy thing is, I don’t think he can do anything about it. Not sure if he’s lost sensation, control, or both but, as much as T and/or Nollind try to take him outside and give him as many opportunities as he needs before a trip or before bed at night, when he’s gotta go he just does. No bark, no whimper, no asking to go outside.

It’s put a bit of a damper on our excursions. In fact, he hasn’t been in the car since we came back from Arizona other than to go to the vet for his Legend injection every two weeks. There have been four such trips and, surprisingly, only one with incident. Despite my love of going along, I wasn’t sure I wanted to partake in his trips to the vet, but T has been kind enough to let me sit up front and stay out of the danger zone.

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Me in emergency-lock-down mode.

Lately, T has been taking me on some short outings, getting Logan used to the idea of being left home alone. She doesn’t want me to miss out because Logan is becoming more difficult to take places and not able to walk more than 20-30 minutes. I’m glad of that. I like my old buddy but I do enjoy a trip to town or to the dog park now and then. There’s even talk she and I might get out hiking beyond our little prairie neighbourhood now that the snow is gone and the weather warmer. Kananaskis, Drumheller, Cochrane, and Wyndham-Carseland are just a few of the destinations she’s mentioned.

It’ll be sad to go adventuring without Logan, because I know he hates to miss anything, but I guess that’s just the way it has to be. At least we’ll still have our morning explorations of the farm’s back twenty and evening wanders to the wetland.

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Morning walk around the farm.

Maybe by the time it’s my turn to write again I’ll have a tale to tell from one of our spring excursions. Until then …