One week ago, I was in my bedroom reading and enjoying the coolness of evening. My husband was working on a computer backup in the next room.  I noticed our dog, Bean, barking in the backyard.  I didn’t think much of it.  She often finds a squirrel very upsetting, lets out a string of dog profanity, and then goes about her business. 

This time, her cursing extended into a full-blown tirade.  I heard my husband go outside and call her into the house.  A few seconds later, the bedroom door opened, and my husband said, “Do you smell anything on Bean?”

I called her over, put my nose on her head, and inhaled deeply.  The stench was so overwhelming that I felt woozy. 

My husband said, “I think she might have found a skunk,” and pulled the bedroom door shut. 

Bean and I stared into each other’s eyes for a long moment.  We silently agreed that the best short-term solution was for me to ignore the problem.  She went over to her dog bed and began the work of licking off the skunk spray.  (In retrospect, letting her lick skunk spray was probably a horrible idea!)  I resumed reading my book.  This arrangement worked for approximately forty-five seconds, which coincidentally, is the exact amount of time it takes skunk smell to permeate every fiber of every fabric in a room.

I bolted out of the room and said, “We have to do something!  I don’t have any tomato juice, but I can give her a bath in tomato sauce and canned tomatoes.”

My husband and I blinked at each other, our eyes now watering from the smell.  

I said, “Maybe we should ask Google if there is a better solution.”

My husband scanned several articles and announced, “Says: tomato juice doesn’t work.  We need hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap.”

Yes!  These are items that we always have on hand.  I began rummaging through the closet looking for hydrogen peroxide. 

Rubbing alcohol – too strong. 

Mineral oil – too oily. 

Witch Hazel (circa 1995) – why did I buy this? 

Not one drop of peroxide.  

Sigh.  My husband drove off to the 24-hour drugstore in the next town.  Bean and I stared at each other again.  I gave her a long lecture that went, “No, no, no skunks.  Skunks stink.  Pee-ew.  Now you stink.  Pee-ew.  No, no, no skunks.”  Bean blinked.  She licked her leg as if to say, “Look, I’m working on it.”

Thirty minutes later, with the house now smelling like it belonged to a family of skunks (how does the smell MULTIPLY?), we were armed with three small spray-bottles of hydrogen peroxide (‘cause apparently, “That’s all they had.”).  I popped off the spray triggers and dumped the peroxide into a bowl with the required amounts of baking soda and dish soap. 

I lathered Bean up and let her sit in the mixture for a minute while my husband removed the covering from her dog bed and stuffed it in the washer.  After thoroughly rinsing and toweling down Bean, her stench had indeed decreased by, I would estimate, a solid 3%.  Sigh.

The three of us gave up and went to bed stinky.  The next morning, we were still stinky.  One week later ... still stinky.


For this Poetry Friday, a handy recipe and a mini ode:


Skunk Stink Remover

  • 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide
  • ¼ c baking soda
  • 1 t dish soap

Mix ingredients in a bowl.  Pour over dog and scrub thoroughly.  Rinse.  Notice no difference.  Wash dog with shampoo.  Notice the smell of skunk paired with the smell of shampoo.  Wash everything in the house that the dog has even stood near, including bed linens, curtains, and the clothes that you are wearing.  Open every window in the house.  Wait one week, maybe two.  You should notice some improvement.


Mini Ode to a Skunk


I sense your presence all throughout the day.

Your fragrance flits upon the evening air.

I drift to sleep and dream about the way,

You dwell within my clothes, my home, my hair.


To get your Poetry Friday fix, visit Jan Godown Annino's blog BookSeedStudio for Jan's planted words, a dragonfly, and this week’s roundup!

Poetry Friday



  • Oh noooooo! But also...hahahahahaha. Love the wry voice you told this story in, and your sarcastic (not quite the right word, but best I can do) poem. It's sad that the directions sound so much like doctor's orders, too. Thanks for all of this! Note: We had to buy hydrogen peroxide recently (not for a skunk eruption, thank god), and it was out everywhere! Wishing you better smelling days ahead!
  • Thankfully, never a skunk encounter. But in childhood days, my sister once fell in an egg pit on the farm where she rides horses.  It had a lot of the same effects of a skunk encounter, along with quite a scare.
  • Tracey, what a story! I didn't realize it could start out slowly and multiply like that. Bean is lucky to have you both there to love him and accept him anyway. Wow! 
  • You had me at "string of dog profanity." I'm so sorry this happened, but also the way you've told it is so, so funny. Skunk spray is sooooo bad. I'm hoping things are smelling better soon and you can get your house aired out. 
  • Yikes. I have to say you rolled with the stenches much better than I would have, and I adore your lyrical ode to the smell. "You should notice some improvement"--hah!
  • Tracey, I know that smell of skunk. When I was a child we drove down country roads and inevitably a skunk got in our way. All I can remember is the horrid smell, pee-yew! You went to great lengths to remove the stench and even penned a poem for a humourous side to your dramatic event. I hope the smell dissipates. 
    • Carol, you are right -- there are so few things that have that uniquely skunky smell that it quite memorable when you encounter it.  Thank you for your kind words.  Things are smelling better these days (except Bean's head - that must have taken a direct hit)!
  • You are a laff-inducing humor writer!
    How you manage to flip this stinky slice of life into a fun pice is memorable. 
    Appreciations for the recipe, too.
    Hoping life brings you bouquets of lavendar or some such, for your next aromatic post.

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