Shelby Got Skunked

Why can’t dogs and skunks be friends?
By Julia Kamysz Lane, July 2009

Last night, after a long work day, my husband and I finally sat down to dinner at 9 p.m. Just as we eagerly lifted a forkful of food to our mouths, Brian wrinkled his nose and said, "Do you smell skunk?" And then in unison, our eyes wide, "WHERE'S SHELBY!?!"

Ah yes, it’s that time of year again when our Pit-Bull mix, Shelby, goes skunk hunting. We live on a fenced half acre, but that doesn’t deter skunks from sneaking onto our property and burrowing under the old chicken coop. Shelby is an amazingly persistent hunter; no matter how much she is sprayed, she goes for the kill.

As soon as I opened the back door, whew! There was no mistaking the skunk bomb in our yard. Shelby darted past us into the house, frothing at the mouth and desperate to find a rug or comforter to wipe her snout and take away the sting. Brian immediately grabbed her and lead her to the bathtub. I searched for a bottle of Nature’s Miracle skunk remover but couldn’t find it. We must’ve used it up last year. So I settled for the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide recipe on the Internet. No matter what solution we use, we have yet to find something that completely removes the odor.

Over the years, when I share my Shelby skunk stories, people tell me theirs, too. My absolute favorite is compliments of my friends, Dave and Rosie. Their property backs up to a wetland area, so they use an invisible fence to contain their American Eskimo Dog, Shadowfax. One evening, around dusk, Rosie glanced out the window just to check on Shadowfax and was shocked to see her running up and down the property line with her new friend, a skunk! I sure wish Shelby would make friends like that - clearly, it's not in her nature.

Has your dog ever had a run-in with a skunk? If so, have you discovered the best solution to get rid of that smell?


Julia Kamysz Lane, owner of Spot On K9 Sports and contributing editor at The Bark, is the author of multiple New Orleans travel guides, including Frommer’s New Orleans Day by Day (3rd Edition). Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Poets and Writers and Publishers Weekly.