As far back as I can remember summer holds memories of the many visits we would make; travelling to Battle Creek, Michigan, to see Auntie Bev and Uncle Avon. We would tour the Kellogg’s factory and my brother and sisters, and I were so excited to come home with miniature boxes of our favourite cereals (frosted flakes were mine, in case you wondered). We spent many fun days by the Lake in Sarnia with Auntie Betty and Uncle Reg, and if we were lucky, we would visit the children’s animal farm. The perfect treat to end those visits was Auntie Betty’s fudge, and cheese straws. Such a treat in fact, friends who’d previously sampled these delights would ask if we brought any back with us.
We also played host to several visitors during the summer months; friends and family from as far away as England would come and stay. Although not the queen, that is whom one would expect to see on our doorstep; in-depth, detailed cleaning and various d.i.y. projects were carried out prior to the arrival of our special guests. Everything had to be perfect! We planned activities and showed guests what fun we could have in Ontario. Sights included Niagara Falls, the CN Tower, Ontario Place, The Canadian National Exhibition, The ROM (Royal Ontario Museum), and we were proud to take our friends for a tour of Uncle Tom’s Cabin – just minutes from our home. We used the ‘special’ plates, glasses and cutlery, and we knew we could look forward to roast potatoes, Brussel sprouts, Yorkshire puddings and little juice glasses of either tomato or apple juice. Some kids might turn their noses up at some of those menu items – those were my favourite meals.
We enjoyed our visits and visitors and continue to speak of highlights from each of the joyous times spent together. Everyone was welcome. Well, almost everyone. Living on a farm, in rural Ontario, we did have a few stray dogs show up on our doorstep. I was thrilled my parents, however, not so much. Hunters would lose track of their dogs or even more sad; people would drive out to the country to abandon them and leave them to fend for themselves. I wanted to keep them all.
Fast forward a couple of decades to the present week; The night before last, I found myself pleading with an unexpected guest to make their exit. I didn’t have a problem with Pepe – Henry was inhospitable, and made everyone feel more than a little ‘uncomfortable.’ Henry stood right behind Pepe and barked, and barked up this poor, cute little skunk’s tail each step he took. Henry made it clear this guest was not welcome. I did not see him when I first turned the backyard light on to send Henry and Reese out to do their ‘bedtime business.’ The skunk, who had two very tiny hints of white – like two ‘pinstripes’ on either side of his suit tail, was polite and incredibly tolerant – a complete gentleman (or, perhaps a lady). Pepe (or Pippa) only made a scene (or in this case a major scent) at the appearance of my husband wielding a garden broom back and forth in the air in an effort to distract Henry. Henry let out a quick yelp, as the spray and possibly claw, or tooth came in contact with rude dog’s face. The skunk took full advantage of Henry being distracted. Reese was feeling anti-social, or perhaps she just knew better than to join in.
I carried my stinky dog through the house and plopped him straight in the shower. Although gagging with the force of a full body spasm, I managed to work the plumbing and start rinsing away the skunk oil/spray while my husband googled what we should do next. Of course, as our wise trainer later pointed out – skunks spray AFTER the stores are all closed. We did find a solution online. A solution of peroxide, baking soda and washing liquid (see reference below). Being careful to avoid eyes, mouth and ears (although I’m sure the skunk did not), my husband set about scrubbing the offensive odor out of our soggy, smelly, sad looking little dog. Because we couldn’t use the solution around Henry’s eyes, we did flush them in case any of the skunk oil came in direct contact and Henry was too surprised to squint defensively. We did notice a small scratch on Henry’s nose which we are monitoring. Although there is much debate about how often to vaccinate against rabies, it should be done at least once, every three years. There is no treatment for Rabies. In order to prevent worry and possible suffering, I vowed to get back into the habit of scanning the garden before opening the door, and putting Henry and Reese on their leads before stepping out to do their ‘bedtime business.’
I contacted our veterinarian and scheduled a checkup, and after a second bath this evening using a shampoo specifically for this very special occasion, Henry has stopped rubbing his face on the rugs and seems more like his normal, full-spirited self.