Saturday, March 10, 2012


Our world is filled with beautiful animals and obnoxious smells. Sometimes the two are entwined. Skunk is the best example of this dichotomy. Even the scales of justice are out of kilter in this matter - Lady Justice is blindfolded. Her sight thus impeded, she sees no beauty and must weigh skunk findings based on smell. One day, you, too, may have to weigh the facts, although you'd rather run away with everyone else.

There are mildly undesirable smells, like souring milk or stinky diapers and unpleasant smells like the Koi pond gone scummy. Chemical and burning smells are often powerful and overwhelming - and so is skunk stink. It is hard to appreciate the beauty of a sleek and shiny, black and white skunk when its repulsive odor invades your olfactory senses - a problem everyone deals with at least once in their life.

After one whiff, skunk smell is cataloged in some mysterious brain cells which allows people to recognize the unforgetable odor on every new encounter. How quickly we forget these beautiful animals are quiet and solitary, mind their own business and don't interefere with people. They eat insects and field mice, making human life more comfortable. A skunk's defense system is to stand its ground by posturing in a threatening manner before spraying - which doesn't work with automobiles! Being early risers, they begin roaming highways and byways in the wee hours. When they play 'chicken' with motor vehicles, they often lose, leaving their beautiful dead carcass befouled by their own distinguishable (and lingering) aroma to mark their foolishness.

"Hold your breath," is the command of one traveler to another when recognizing skunk stink. While that works for a few moments while traveling, a car-and-skunk or dog-and-skunk encounter requires a different resolve. Once sprayed, nobody will come near you, your dog or your car. Your spouse doesn't want the vehicle near your home as children and dogs run as far away from you as they can get. You are shunned!

There is hope. Here is a simple and easy recipe to use on clothes and inanimate objects: Stir together one quart of peroxide with one small box of baking soda and add one teaspoon of dish detergent. Spray or pour on skunky area. This will not hurt cars or grass. For your dog/animals, douse and soak in a mixture of tomato juice and vinegar (one large can of juice with one cup vinegar). For people, Compassionate Action Institute recommends using Carbolic soap and water followed by a lot of rinsing in clear water.

Living at the edge of a preserve, skunk are regular visitors. They are quiet, slow and graceful neighbors. Their right to exist here is not challenged. Just once in twenty years did we have to holler, "Skunk" because my beautiful black and white cat wanted a closer look at the visiting skunk. (Perhaps she thought it was her cousin come to visit...)

I still think skunk are beautiful animals. So, it is my job to simply respect them and to appreciate their true beauty....

What is your skunk experience. Tell me. I'd like to know....

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