After spending the day in the Big City with three of my sons, and after taking in a homeschool group meeting and grocery shopping just before coming home, J. and I were bushed as we got out of the car at 10:30 p.m. to carry in the groceries. We opened the car doors and that's when The Big Stink hit! It's the unmistakable Stink of Skunk. Your eyes begin to burn, your throat gets tight and you swear you can taste it. The dogs had been sprayed. Ugh. They looked ashamed, as though they both were wearing the Cone of Shame around their necks. [interruption thought: If you haven't seen the movie, Up, you must. Dug, the dog in the movie, could talk, and I'm sure if my dogs could have talked last night, they'd have said, "We're really sorry Jody, we love you, really we do! Please, can we come inside and sleep on our rugs? Please?"] The dogs knew they had been naughty to play Chase with a skunk. The whole garage reeked like skunk and of course, the dogs did too. Instead of sleeping in their cozy mud room, Jessie and Sue spent the night in the stinky, dirty garage, and I hope they had plenty of time to think about what they had done to deserve it. Oy!
I spent the morning cleaning the garage. You must first know that ranch garages are not the same as town garages. They are far dirtier because there is no street to drive on. Only gravel and dirt around. Also, a garage is someplace where things from the barn accumulate. Things like cow insecticide, Bloom and Grow calf feed, calf milk replacer powder, firewood. Of course there are other things that I'm sure town garages have like golf clubs, weight machines, garden tools, an extra refrigerator or freezer and a car. I moved a lot of stuff out of the garage and put it back where it belonged in the first place, and then I proceeded to use the snow shovel to break up the hard mud on the floor that comes in on the car tires. I poured a couple of gallons of hot bleach water on the floor and scrubbed it with a broom and then swept it out as best I could. Then I ran the string mop over it with some more clean water. After it dried a little, I did what every good housewife ought to do -- sprayed a nice mist of lavender water around the entire garage. At least it'll be sweet smelling for a little while.
After it warmed up after lunch, it was time to bath the stinkers. It has been so cold lately that bathing dogs outside is really not the best idea, but today it was perfect on the front porch with the sun shining down hard and warm. I have a concoction that I have used many times on the dogs for just this purpose and I will gladly share the recipe with you just in case your darling dogs run into a skunk.
1 gallon warm water
1 quart hydrogen peroxide (3%)
1/4 c. baking soda
1 t. Ajax or Dawn dish soap
Mix it all together. Before using, wet the dog down well. Then pour the solution over the dog, little by little, scrubbing here and there as you pour. Let it stay on the dog for 5 or 10 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with warm water. It is amazing how well this solution works. I have even used it on the garage floor when we had skunk odor in there from a walk-by skunk shooting. I always, always keep one or two bottles of hydrogen peroxide on my shelves just in case there's a skunking. It happens here more than I like.
The poor dogs, really think they've been bad when they have to be tied up and washed. They are ranch dogs, after all, and that means that they do not get bathed as regularly as town dogs do. They enjoy smelling like wet bull manure or dead deer carcass or like musty, mousy grain bins or cow afterbirth. I can live with most of these smells, especially since our dogs are Outdoor Dogs and don't spend much time inside, but skunk odor, no way!
After their baths, Jessie and Sue were released and I gave them all of my cheerful "Good Dog" cheers, and they had the best time shaking off all the excess water and and chasing each other around, rolling in the snow scratching their backs, rubbing their heads into the snow to dry off and to get some of the clean smell off of themselves. This really is the funniest thing and I always smile when I see them enjoying themselves so much. They go from shameful tail-between-the-legs to sheer happy Snoopy Dances in minutes! As a good housewife, the lavender mist was brought out again; I lightly misted the dogs' backs and necks. It won't last, but I tried.
Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails.
~Max Eastman, Enjoyment of Laughter
P.S.If you're a dog lover and have never read a Hank the Cowdog book by John Ericson, you're really missing out. Go to your library now, check one out, and read it aloud to your kids. Don't forget the Texas drawl. You'll get a nice "ranch flavor" as you read.