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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!




Eat, Prey, Love

The title pretty much sums up my main drives in life. And, no, I didn’t spell prey incorrectly. You could almost add sleep to the list but it’s not really a drive so much as something I do to fill the gaps between the other things.

If you’ve been reading our blog for any amount of time, you know that I love, love, love to eat, just about anything. T and Nollind often joke that if I stop eating, they’re going to rush me straight to the emergency hospital. Ha ha. But they probably have a point. When we’re on the road, I’m just that much closer to the snacks because we’re in close quarters all the time.


Sharing pork rinds (chicharrones) with Nollind

Now I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t agree with feeding dogs people food. Whoever you are … please stay away from my people. Don’t talk to them. Don’t give them any crazy ideas about not letting me clean up scraps or share their popcorn. Don’t try to assist them in mending their ways. Things are fine just the way they are. I’m fine. They’re fine. Zip it.

We moved from Quartzsite to Wickenburg on Monday. T loves the desert here—the variety of cactus, the mountains, the bird life. Nollind loves the many back roads and trails to explore in Fang.


The saguaro are huge here!

But what’s the greatest thing about Wickenburg for a dog like me? Other animals—coyotes, rabbits, some kind of squirrel-like critters—all chase-able and therefore prey. They leave their scent for me to find, the coyotes sing in the afternoons and evenings tempting me to join in, and the rabbits regularly race across our path. My heart beats faster just thinking about it.


See the rabbit? Me neither.

With eight years of chasing things under my belt, I’ve mostly given up on rabbits in general, and the rabbits here at Vulture Peak are almost as big as I am. And fast? They are gone before I get to the end of my 16-foot leash. We’ve had a lot of freedom at our last couple of stops, but there’s some concern here about the combination of rabbits and cactus so our off-leash activities have been curbed somewhat, especially mine.


Having yet another thorn pulled from my paw.

My third drive, and this is also a big one, I’m a lover. In juxtaposition to my killer instinct is my cuddle instinct. Whether at home or on the road, there is nothing like cuddling up close to one of my people, and when we’re travelling, it seems like there are more opportunities than at home. They stay in bed a little longer in the mornings, stay in more often in the evenings, and take more naps than they do at home. All great cuddle-ops for me.


Morning lie-in with T.

The plan is to stay around Wickenburg for another ten days or so. The weather has turned fine and the barbecue is out, which makes me hopeful for more meals like last night’s steak. The rabbits, although enormous, may become complacent about my presence and give me a fighting chance. (I know … Sure, Chico, dream on.) As for getting enough love? There’s always a healthy supply of that no matter where we are.

Until next time … chow! (And yes, I spelled that correctly too.)


Resting up for the next meal, chase, or cuddle.