Thursday, March 22, 2007

Skunked! A new solution

We've been racing around every morning since springing ahead. The early morning darkness is lulling us into needing that extra 20 minutes of sleep that is the difference between a leisurely morning and rushed frenzy.

With the middle school bus at the corner, Ryan grabbed his shoes from the garage and yelled, "It smells like crap in the garage!" (dripping with his typical teenage hyperbole).

I opened the door for the dog and was overcome, I mean literally blown backward, by the scent of skunk. Riley (our 3-year-old lab) just looked up at me sheepishly.

Patrick almost vomited on the spot, Ryan grabbed his backpack and hauled tail to the bus stop and I, still in my PJs with only half a cup of coffee down, realized that my day would not entail any kind of creative work. So I locked Riley outside and with Patrick heaving, jumped in the car and drove him to school (with the windows down to ease his reflux).

As I got back in the door, Danny was screaming about how much work the dog is, how she's trashing our house, etc. But he had a director's meeting at 8:30 and couldn't stick around to help.

I still had to get Michael up for school and, thankfully, he listened when I told him I had a mess to deal with Riley and could he please, please, please get up quickly.

Our attached garage goes right into our family room. The odor was floating into the family room and I felt as if it was pervading the entire house. While Mikey ate breakfast, I Googled "dog sprayed by skunk" and "eliminate skunk odor."

The tomato juice recipe, I had heard, stains the dog's fur. Riley is a yellow lab (actually almost white) and so this was not an appealing solution. Instead I found a homemade recipe involving large amounts (and potentially combustible combo) of peroxide, baking soda and dish detergent. (See recipe/instructions below.)

Outside in the driveway, I grabbed my traumatized pup and began scrubbing around her neck and shoulders. It was hard to see a spot where she got hit and I'm thinking she was maybe only misted instead of receiving a direct hit. Once I used up my supply, I traipsed into Walgreen's for rubber gloves, oodles of Febreze, dog shampoo and more supplies for my deodorizing mixture.

For the next hour, I scrubbed Riley—first with more peroxide mixture and then giving her an all-over bath. She was miserable, but so was I. She kept running away, trying to hide behind the front shrubs, but somehow we managed to get her cleaned up and dry enough to finally go in the house.

Inside I sprayed Febreze in the entire house, unsure if it was actually in the house or just in my nose. I sprinkled the carpet with Febreze carpet deodorizer (that Riley walked through and got all over the wood floor). I started my vacuum and of course the belt blew. I had no backup belt so it was back to the store.

My sister-in-law told me that her mother-in-law recommended setting out bowls of apple cider vinegar to absorb bad odors. So I also bought a gallon jug of apple cider vinegar. Amazingly, that worked very well.

It was a long, exhausting day yesterday but today the house smells nice again -- very linen-y, which is my favorite Febreze scent. It reminds me of clothes drying on the line. Riley is slightly less traumatized, but still a little skittish.

For what it's worth, here's the recipe for de-skunking:

2 bottles of peroxide
1/4-1/2 cup of baking soda
1 T. Dawn dishwashing detergent

Mix in a large bucket and let foam. Wearing rubber gloves, use cloth to scrub affected area making sure to keep out of eyes, nose and mouth. Let stand for 10 minutes before rinsing. Apply again until odor dissipates. Bath entire animal as usual.

Don't let mixture sit since it can explode!

1 comment:

K-Oh said...

God, I hate skunks. My dog hasn't been hit in a few years-- we seem to have far fewer skunks-- but it used to be a frequent disaster. My husband's theory is that a recent influx of chipmunks have driven away our skunks. Very implausible, but who knows?

Glad to hear about the apple cider vinegar!