NE HIC SVNT MEPHITES!

21 Feb

Now to those to whom I’ve complained–OK whined–about not having a cold winter or snow this year,  it’s not just ’cause I can’t go snowshoeing.  Though I still think Mother Nature is taunting me with these half inch snowfalls!  More than a few of you have said how great it hasn’t been cold (saves on heating costs) or snowy (saves on shoveling or plowing) but PEOPLE, there are consequences to not having a normal winter.  While I am as concerned about Global Warming as any sensible person should be, that’s not what I’m getting at here.

You’ve heard the expression “Here be Dragons”?  Apparently it comes from very old maps when no one knew what lay out in unexplored territory and Latin was the official scientific language.  Hic svnt dragones is what was written on the margins of those old maps.  It basically meant Beware of Monsters!  And no, I’m not worried about dragons or monsters.  What I am worried about it is the SKUNKS are out and about waaay too early.

It seems skunks are usually pretty dormant during this time of year, not hibernating per se, but certainly not out and threatening.  I don’t have anything personal against skunks, after all they eat insects that are mostly pests to us humans but I have dogs.  And I have too many stories about my dogs regarding skunks.

Kaya was my first dog as an adult.  It was also my first personal encounter with the eau de skunk!  We were working nights at a home for dual-diagnosis adolescent boys (still got the scars to prove it).  It was in one of the old “cottages” left over from the wealthy of the Gilded Age so it was kind of out in the woods.  I let him in and immediately noticed the smell.  There wasn’t any ketchup, supposedly the remedy for skunk emergencies, so I grabbed a #10 can of tomato paste… I mean how much of a  difference could it make?  Me and a friend took him into the bathroom, plopped him into a tub and proceeded to give him a tomato bath. It was going OK until he shook.  Let’s just say it took all night to clean up what looked like a murder scene!  At least Kaya never bothered another skunk as long as he lived.

And then there was Apricot Sara, my soul dog.  She deserves a post of her own and will get one.  Suffice to say she never did learn about the cats with the large white stripe down their backs!  Her last encounter was a doozy!

Elizabeth and I had been out and about all day, arriving home sometime after 7pm on a Sunday evening.  We let Sara and Zelda out back and Nisha, one of the cats slipped out as well.  When Nisha came to the door we of course let her in.  She was in extreme distress and started to roll and rub herself on the dining room rug.  It was soon apparent why.  Somehow she’d been caught in the crossfire between dogs and skunk!  Have you ever tried to shower 2 skunky dogs naked?  Like I was gonna make any of my clothes smell like that!  Fortunately Elizabeth took on Nisha.  It was a long and terrible evening!  When I bathed Sara it became clear who the ring leader of this escapade had been.  I actually had to wash her tongue… that’s how close she’d been to the weapon end of the skunk!  Not that I’m a big Amway fan (public service announcement here) but their LOC is the best I’ve ever used to deal with a skunking.  We keep some on hand at all times.  Way, way better than ketchup or tomato paste.  Take that advice from someone who’s had more than her fair share of encounters.

So back to the not having a proper winter and the “Here there be Dragons” stuff from before, we put a warning post it up on the back door, much, much earlier than in years past.  Ne hic svnt mephites… Let there not be skunks here!

Zelda

Please don't let it happen again!

Thanks Debs for the Latin!

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