No summer would be complete without it. Having been through it several times before, I have learned that tomato juice, even in copious amounts, does little to alleviate the smell of fresh skunk juice.

No summer would be complete without it.


After waving goodbye to one of my grandsons Sunday evening, I went back inside to answer a ringing phone.


In the meantime I had completely forgotten that my dog Tanner the Terrible was still out and about. As a rule I try to bring him in the house before the mosquitoes begin to bite, as mosquitoes are the culprits that cause heartworms in dogs.


As soon as I put down the phone, it immediately rang once more. This time it was the neighbor who lives above me asking if I had seen any skunks lurking around the yard. She claimed that her house reeked of the smell of skunk.


While still on the phone with her, I stepped outside and began sniffing the air. At first I couldn’t smell anything that resembled skunk juice; that is until Tanner came running towards me with his tail between his legs, smelling to high heaven.


As I opened the door to escape the horrible odor, Tanner, who was also trying to escape the same horrible odor, pushed past me and raced into the house. Running through each room, with me in hot pursuit, I finally cornered him, grabbing him by the collar, which just happened to be the exact spot where the skunk seemed to have deposited his entire supply of skunk juice.


Pushing Tanner down the basement stairs and slamming the door shut, I raced to the bathroom and tried without success to wash the stench of skunk from my hands. By this time, I smelled as bad as Tanner did.


Having been through all of this several times before, I have learned that tomato juice, even in copious amounts, does little to alleviate the smell of fresh skunk juice.


Digging through my address book I found the recipe for a solution that is purported to work much better at getting rid of the smell of skunk. The recipe calls for one quart of peroxide mixed with a solution of ½ cup of baking soda and a large squirt of dishwashing detergent.


I remembered right away that I had used up all of the peroxide in the house, having cut the bottom of my foot earlier in the summer, and since all of the stores in town were already closed, I headed for Jessica’s house across town to borrow some.


Now my car smelled like skunk juice. This stuff was like the creeping crud!


As I came to a stop in front of Jess’ house and rolled down the window to retrieve the bottle of peroxide she was holding, she jumped back 3 feet from the curb.


“Nan” she cried, “I could smell skunk even before you rolled the window down! It’s really bad!”


“Ya think?” I replied sarcastically. “You should be in the car with me!”


Racing back home, I ran into the house and mixed up this strange concoction in a bucket, along with some warm water. I decided I was not going to bathe the dog in the house. Tanner was going back outside.


Opening the basement door I called Tanner, who I suspect knew what was coming.


After turning on all of the outside lights, lest Mr. Skunk might still be lurking in the vicinity, I grabbed Tanner, putting another leash around his neck. Pulling him outside I began alternately squirting him down with the hose and scrubbing him with the soapy solution.


Of course, each time he got thoroughly drenched with hose, he would shake his entire body, depositing even more of the skunk residue onto me. I don’t know who smelled worse; him or me.


After drying him off with an old beach towel, I dragged him back inside and once again pushed him down the basement steps, slamming the door behind him.


By this time I couldn’t stand to be near myself. The smell was so bad that my eyes were burning.


Opening all of the windows and the screens in the storm doors, I headed for the shower and then 20 minutes later headed back once more. Even after two lengthy showers I still imagined that I smelled of skunk juice.


All night long I kept waking up to that horrible smell that by this time was in my nostrils to stay.


It’s been 24 hours and three showers since Tanner’s close encounter of the first kind with our resident skunk. My friends and family have assured me that I am now skunk-free, although when I turn my head a certain way I still get a faint whiff of skunk perfume.


The house has been sprayed with Lysol and Fabreeze; Tanner was banished outdoors the entire day, and for the time being, my windows and doors remain open.


Tanner being sprayed by a skunk was not one of the top ten items on my summer bucket list, but I suspect that it could very well become an annual event in the Murphy household. 


I’m not looking forward to it one little bit ...


Barbara Murphy writes for the Mineral Daily News-Tribune in Keyser, W.Va.