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I Saw Something Nasty in the Woodshed

See the double fold of neck flesh under Bagel's chin? We call that his Throat Butt.

See the double fold of neck flesh under Bagel’s chin? We call that his Throat Butt.

THE SCENE: In about fifteen minutes, a dozen people are descending upon my house for dinner. I love all these people, but I am a nervous hostess. I tend to over-do. I panic. I froth. All my upholstered furniture has cat-shreds on the corners and I have no true gift for domesticity and I am sure this says terrible things about my character. I would say I was at def con 4 except I am not sure how many def cons there are and if they are bad when they go up or bad when they go down.

I better do Old School Trek: I was on Yellow Alert.

Digression: I never understood Red Alert. The captain would order it, and a God-awful, nerve-tearing, WHONK! WHONK! sound would begin. Immediately, a whole slew of panicky looking red shirts and big-eyed yeomen would gallop up and down the corridors of the Enterprise, each in a separate lather. HOW DOES THIS HELP?

All I learned from Star Trek was, when things get bad, I should run in circles screaming until Spock fixes it. (The good news is, I MARRIED a Spock, so at my house this is an effective solution a shocking percentage of the time.)

So, back to the scene: the oven is preheating, the pans of lasagna are sitting on the stove-top, and it is juuust about time to put them in, my house is as clean as it EVER gets. Good? Good. And THEN (cue ominous music) from the backyard, Bagel the Big Dog makes his polite throat-cleary sound that means he has completed his business and wishes to come back inside.

I open the door. Ansley comes in. Bagel comes in. And with them…THE SMELL COMES IN.

The Smell is terrible. The Smell is terrible beyond description.

It is like if there were trolls and trolls had a butt and you had to go live there, in the butt. It’s like if you killed a whole room full of people, stacked a lot of unpasteurized French cheese on the corpses, and then left for a week. It is like if a fart became sentient, did a lot of evil, died, went to hell, rolled in sulphur and then clawed its way back up to earth through layers of poop. It is an oily, biological, pungent, evil ENTITY of smell.

In short, oh my beloveds, it was Skunk.

I have smelled Skunk in passing on the highway, a faint whiff of some poor hapless little fellow who wandered all entitled under the wheels of a noseless truck. ONLY noseless trucks would DARE to hit a skunk. The smell is so…immediate.

And Bagel’s WHOLE FRONT, his legs and chest, his shoulders and the folds of his throat were all sprayed and coated in that OILY, GLANDULAR Repulsifyer. And people were coming in 10 minutes, WHOLE CROWDS. And the Lasagna was not in.

So I went to red alert and ran in circles, the smell SO bad I was gagging on screams with my eyes bleeding. Spock was still on his commute, due to arrive at the same time as our guests.
So I SPOCKED UP and threw money and teenagers and Lysol at the problem. While I blasted all the air molecules with the scent of Fresh Linen, Sam and Maisy got Bagel on his leash and walked him up to PetSmart with my credit card and orders to ask them to FIX it.

kitty skunk

AND IT WAS FINE, except, ya’ll, there is a SKUNK. And he has moved in UNDER THE SHED and Bagel is as stupid as a noseless truck, Lord love him, and even just letting them in and out to pee, Bagel has already re-skunked himself. THAT time we cleaned him ourselves as professional deskunking costs a MINT and it was four gagging hours of my life I will never get back. We used SO MUCH hydrogen peroxide that Bagel is VISIBLY A SHADE BLONDER.

And yet I have no faith that he has learned ANYTHING. Bagel is SO dumb. Ansley gives the shed a wide, respectful birth because she is a genius, but Bagel…He does not associate ANYTHING with, well, anything.

Bagel lives in an eternal NOW. “Oh LAR LAR LOOKY! Thing under shed. Must get thing. Now a Smell is stunged me in my eye. Now a terrible endless bath is happen. HO DE DO! LA DE DA! LAR LAR LAR!” None of these events are connected in his 4 brain cells by even the remotest INKLING of cause or effect.

He WILL go see what that skunk is doing again. And skunks are SUCH entitled animals. They trundle along, secure in the knowledge that HELL RESIDES IN THEIR GALNDS and NO ONE is going to fuss with them.

And yet! I know my dearest, dumbest Bagel—-HE WILL. What do I do? How do I get rid of a SKUNK?

13 comments to I Saw Something Nasty in the Woodshed

  • Jen the Goddess in Virginia

    You’re in Georgia. Ask around. Someone will know a guy who traps critters and then comes back to take them away to live in a beautiful pre-forest-fire-Bambi-esque sort of forest to be named Flower and considered adorable by the other wild animals who also live in said forest. Who would want to come back to your shed and a Bagel after that move?!

  • Call Animal Control — or whatever it’s called in your area. They should be able to trap the skunk and take it elsewhere. That’s what ours does, at least. Good luck!

  • Chris of the Woodwork

    Ah, Animal Control. However, we have found that Animal Control does not trap skunklings on private property, but only on public property.

    We have, here in our fair city, a service called Critter Ridders. They come out and gently trap whatever critter you need removed, then remove it to the forest noted above.

    Of course, it costs real money. Doesn’t everything…including peroxide?


  • Melinda

    Once again, weeping with laughter at your story-telling. We have had raccoons safely removed from our neighborhood by a “guy.” I would find a “guy.”

  • First, Mrs. Jackson, thank you THANK YOU for the morning laugh! I really needed it today! It just so happens that I can repay you for the laugh! I KNOW what to do about skunks because we have to keep them away from our TURTLE FARM!

    Second, I happen to be married to the Alabama Turtle Farmer. Yes, he’s the same one who has been in the news this past week for his reunion with his Nurse Kathy from 1973. Yes, I am the wife who started a search on FB for her husband’s first love. He has wanted to thank her for over 42 years. https://gma.yahoo.com/social-media-campaign-reunites-man-childhood-nurse-215917139–abc-news-lifestyle.html?soc_src=mediacontentsharebuttons&soc_trk=fb&fb_ref=Default

    Most importantly, on the turtle farm, we have to trap and get rid of all kinds of critters like skunks, possums, raccoons, etc. One raccoon can raid 60–SIXTY–snapping turtle nests in a single night. Since we hatch and sell the baby turtles, these varmints are literally taking toy-shopping-money from this Gramma’s bank account! I have three beautiful Grandangels to spoil so we can’t have that!

    Thank goodness! We have found the solution! Skunks are attracted by the smell of CINNAMON! You can get a spray from Wal-Mart for under a dollar (96 cents?) that is a cinnamon, store brand spray. You need a live trap, too. You can get one online or from your local Co-Op or Gander Mountain. Spray the trap with cinnamon to attract the skunk and to cover the smell of human. You can also add something to eat inside the trap. They LOVE LITTLE DEBBIE (no store brand, cheapies) Honey Buns!

    You will have to make a choice about what to do with the skunk after it’s caught. If you want to relocate it to somewhere else, DO NOT bring it to the turtle farm. NO! If you have a frenemy, that would be a good location. If you want to move it, you will need to put some food in the trap that is laced with some kind of meds to get the skunk to sleep until you can take it somewhere else. You might check with your vet.

    Of course the other option is to “relocate” the critter to the hereafter. That is a very personal choice to be made between you and your friend. I am betting your pups would vote for permanent relocation to the Hereafter! ;o)

  • I had two dogs (smart dogs! I swear!) who loved skunk smell so much they would engage the skunk, run in the house all happy and dripping skunk spray, and then, after 60 hours’ worth of scrubbing, would run back out to the spot where the skunk overspray had created a biohazard zone on the shrubs and grass, and they would roll and rub and repaint themselves with skunk. And run back into the house all happy and ready to contaminate every household surface with the glorious smell of skunk.

    My solution for skunk removal requires a husband and a .22, and may not be appropriate for town use, but it is effective and permanent.

  • Jenifer

    While I can’t help you with the skunk removal other than to call a vermin person to come remove it… I CAN help you with skunk SMELL removal as we do this a few times a year here (Labs + Wooded acres = skunk smell).

    1 Quart hydrogen peroxide added to 1/4 cup baking soda and 1-2 T. Dawn dish detergent. As soon as you add the peroxide (add that last), mix it up good and then immediately get it on the dog and scrub it in down to the skin. Instead of pouring it over the whole dog at once, I usually get a measuring cup and pour it on in parts while someone else (husband) scrubs it in. Let it SIT for 15-20 minutes while you do the stern talking and “why would you be so stupid as to stick your nose up a skunk’s butt…Again?!”, rinse, then do a quickie wash again with just Dawn. Smell GONE (and it should not take you four hours!!). Usually the only stink left is on their nose – I don’t know why that body part is so difficult to get totally stink-free but it normally fades by the next evening.

    Good luck with the removal! Yikes.

  • Amy-Go

    I have a .22. And no warm friendly feelings about skunks. Just saying.

  • Therese

    So, um, how was the lasagna?

    And did you buy Costco lasagna but slip the frozen slabs into your own casserole dishes so it looks like you spent hours on the creation? Not that I’ve ever (admitted to having) done that…but I hear it goes over impressively. 😉

    “Pee ess.” I also hear that skunks do not like lights in their dens, so if you slipped one of those workman lights under the shed and left it on, the skunks should give up and move. Hopefully before the light overheats and burns down the shed. (Although that would also get rid of the skunk problem, right?)

  • Peggy in Tulsa

    I was going to suggest throwing mothballs down under the shed. Except you would get to smell THAT stink for the rest of the year. Yecch. We have a person in town called the Skunk Whisperer. He comes and removes said stinky animule in a humane, gentle way and takes it off to a farm! in the country! …or so I am told….

  • Karen from Md

    You could lure it out with a hapless cat that accidentally got a white stripe painted on her back. At least that’s what I learned from cartoons.

  • ebethnyc

    LOL once again. your description of the smell had me shaking the headboard w/silent laughter. Teddy, my 10 month old (kitty) had… toxic gas along the order of what you described.

    and is there a way Scottspock could fashion a thumbs up/thumbs down thingy for the comments? several here I wanted to “Like” in face place parlance.

    good luck w/all the little stinkers.

  • Shanley

    Lights. When a skunk considers living under my back deck I put lights under it. I have a super bright rechargeable flashlight that I put under there all night. It’s rechargeable so I can do it again the next night in case they were out dancing.