Friday, October 12, 2018

A Biggie Adventure

Biggie is a very attentive dog.  He knows what is going on around him at all times, even if he appears to be sleeping.  For instance, I was in the kitchen doing some dishes and other kitchen maintenances while Biggie was asleep in the living room.  At one point I was wiping down the outside of the refrigerator, rinsing out the cleaning cloth, and continuing to wipe down the refrigerator.  Biggie did nothing.  But the moment I touched the refrigerator door handle, Biggie was under my feet waiting for me to open it.  Somehow he knew when I touched that handle, and he knew I was about to open it.  It didn’t matter that I had been grabbing that handle for the last ten minutes during the cleaning process.  The big difference was that I was about to use that handle to open the refrigerator.  Biggie is like that, and if you have a dog, you know exactly what I mean.

Biggie’s adventures are usually rather benign, but occasionally there is something to write home about.  If I were to tell you that an average day’s adventure consists of sniffing every blade of grass on a walk around the block, or standing in one place sniffing a single spot for fifteen minutes, it would be somewhat boring since this is what all dogs do.  It might be a bit more interesting if we went to the park and he chased a squirrel or two, but again, this is what all dogs do.  Just about anything I could come up with to talk about concerning Biggie is what all dogs do, including his brief encounter with a skunk.  Almost all dogs encounter a skunk at one time or another, but unlike chasing a squirrel up a tree, some of these encounters can be rather memorable.

Last night Biggie walked over to the front door and scraped his back foot.  Then he walked over to where I was sitting and placed his nose against my leg for a moment before walking back to the door.  This is a signal to me he wants to go for a walk, so I decided to take him out (believe me when I say it’s better than deciding not to take him out).  When I opened the door Biggie ran over to my wife signaling he wanted her to join us.  Okay.  So all of us stepped outside together.

Now, usually when Biggie goes outside, he is wearing a harness and leash, but this time I decided to forego the hassle, since he doesn’t run away except to inspect something nearby.  Even then he will come back the moment we call him.  Besides, I was going to make this a quick whiz in the yard.  As we stepped onto the porch, there was a rustling in the bushes along side of the house, and Biggie ran over to inspect.  I saw a flash of something black and white, and my first thought was of the neighbor’s cat that Biggie wanted for a friend, but then I saw it turn around and the tail raise high into the air.  Biggie had just come face to tail with his first skunk.  Biggie froze, the skunk ran away around the corner of the house, and there was no doubt that skunk left something behind.

Although Biggie took the full force of the blast, my wife and I were peripheral casualties.  My wife immediately picked Biggie up and carried him into the house for a bath, and now the entire house has been transformed into a skunk’s den.  Oh well.  I mixed up a batch of anti-skunk-odor dog wash and Biggie got a bath.  My wife got a bath.  I got a bath.  Our clothes are hanging outside in the fresh air, although they may need to be burned.  And our house…  Our house has every window open and every fan on.  And the smell outside the house will insure no solicitor comes to our front door for a while. 

This morning Biggie altered his morning walk to include the infected area around the house where he thoroughly marked his territory.  Again on a second walk, he double marked his territory.  This is Biggie’s house, and skunks aren’t welcome.

What is it about dogs and skunks?  Growing up in farm country, every dog I knew had managed to spend some time in a tomato juice bath in a futile attempt to diminish the effects of the encounter with a skunk.  I have never known a dog to win the battle.  My friend Frank’s dog once thought he had managed to become victorious, but in the end he was the biggest loser of all, along with the entire neighborhood.

Chunk was a solid dog, much like a pit bull, and he was very curious, as many dogs are.  About three or four blocks away from the block where Frank and I lived across the street from each other was a small area of scrub oak trees on a piece of land not yet cleared for new housing.  This was a great place for my friends and I to go and pretend we were hunters or something.  Usually one of the guy's dogs would join us, and on one fateful day it was Chunk who was the chosen one.

Chunk was doing Chunk things when I heard Rick or Mike or someone shout something.  About that time I saw Chunk running down the street towards home holding some object in his mouth.  Behind Chunk were several skunks giving chase.  Behind the skunks was Frank frantically chasing after his dog. 

I know once a skunk releases his stuff, there is very little left for a second shot, although very little goes a long ways.  And the skunk in Chunks mouth had reinforcements not far behind.  I’ve never experienced anything quite like this before or since.  People were coming out of their houses for several blocks and fanning the air as they looked around for the source of the problem.

Chunk ran for several blocks before releasing his captive, and then he went into hiding not fully realizing his location was easy to sniff out.  As quickly as he would find a good spot, someone would chase him away.  The problem was he would leave behind strong evidence that he had been there.  For a couple of days Chunk broadcast his adventure around the neighborhood before returning home.  As for the skunks themselves, it seems they informed the neighborhood for several weeks they were not to be disturbed in the future. 

Well, Biggie’s encounter with the skunk hasn’t really taught him anything, and I do not believe for one second the skunk thinks it is over.  I just hope the house airs out in the near future.  And Biggie will definitely be on a leash from now on.