It was a summer night in the mid-1990s. I was standing on the front porch with my son. It was a perfect night, perfect temperature. I had my arm around my son and we were looking out over the yard at the full moon. Across the driveway in the meadow on the other side of the yard there was a family of skunks. I said to Jonathan, “Isn’t that beautiful?’”
They were walking across the meadow. We took out our binoculars and we looked at the skunks. Then for some reason I turned around and I noticed my dog was outside. My dog Bentley was an overly friendly golden retriever, who lived for one thing, making new friends. I prayed an instant prayer that he wouldn’t see the skunks.
Too late, he spotted them; I saw his whole expression change. He got a big smile on his face, and he thought, ‘New friends to play with.’ He was off chasing four surprised skunks who were not at all pleased to make the acquaintance of a 105-pound-bouncing-fur-ball lunging toward them.
I saw it happen as if in slow motion. All four skunks raised their tails in unison. We heard from the front porch our dog yelp and whine. We saw a gaseous cloud arise like an atomic blast and encircle our dog. There was a slight breeze blowing from the direction of the skunks to our home. Within moments a strange smell encircled our entire house. It was so powerful I can’t even describe it to you, except to say my son was in tears. He said, “Daddy, make it stop.”
I went into the kitchen to get my can of professional strength Lysol. When I was in the kitchen looking under the cupboard for it, my son let the dog in the house. The dog was about as low in spirit as a living creature could be. The dog was very embarrassed and he ran for his hiding place under the bed in the back bedroom. This is my daughter Jennifer’s room. She was away for the week at a church conference.
I thought OK, once he squeezes under the bed, there is no removing him. I closed the door to her room and I thought I would fumigate later before she gets back home on Sunday. My son and I went to bed.
About two hours later, near midnight, a storm blew in. We heard the hard rain and the thunderstorm. Bentley was afraid of thunder. He was crying in the back bedroom and I felt so sorry for him, but there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t let him out. So we went back to sleep. In the middle of the night I awoke again because I started to smell that overwhelming smell again. I turned on the light and in the middle of my king sized bed in between my young son and me was the dog.
I pulled the poor animal outside, and put him on the front screened in porch. The thunderstorm had passed by this time. I thought if he were on the front porch he would air out. But even the next day, he had not aired out. As a matter of fact the smell did not age well at all.
Before I went to work the next day, I called the veterinarian who recommended a product called ‘Skunk Out.’ I poured it all over him, and as I expected, Bentley shook and his fur shed off all fluid. I had a lot more Skunk Out on me than he had on him.
I washed the sheets, shampooed the entire carpeting in the house, and I even repainted one room. We never did fully get the smell out of Jennifer’s. That was where Bentley hid during the worst of it. When my daughter returned from the church conference she said, “Dad, there’s a strange smell in my backroom.” Jonathan and I just shrugged our shoulders acting like we didn’t know what in the world it could be. To this day, we haven’t told her the full story.
Life is funny. Everything can be going well and in a second’s time you meet one of “life’s skunks.” And there’s very little you can do to get rid of the long-lasting effects. You can do a through clean-up, but the smell that lingers requires more: Forgiveness, prayer, and possibly a good sense of humor will help.
Adapted from a story in the Positive Daily Inspiration by Christopher Ian Chenoweth