Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Skunked again! Third time's a charm!

This "Perry la Perra" post is the first one that is actually about Perry la Perra! Otherwise this blog serves as a potpourri of topics that do not fit neatly into any of our other blogs.

Our Perry is a 17-pound Miniature Pinscher  (Min Pin) - a bit bigger than average. Min Pins were originally bred to kill rats in barns. Our Perry spends a lot of time outdoors trying to catch small animals. Since we got her 5 years ago she has killed countless moles; two groundhogs; and one squirrel. We don't know how many times she has tried and failed to catch any of these animals, but we do have an exact count on the number of times skunks have gotten the best of her:

that would be three.

We were not complete strangers to the dog/skunk mix the first time Perry got sprayed; we had experienced it once before with our previous dog, Clover. Unfortunately for us with Clover's escapade, and Perry's first spraying, we had trouble containing the dogs when they first entered the house, and they managed to make the whole house stink. Be advised that it takes several weeks to completely clear a house of skunk stench once it's been contaminated, filling every pore of everything porous.

Our first attempts to remove skunk stink from dogs were only somewhat successful. We had been advised to keep hydrogen peroxide and baking soda on hand during skunk season, so we were prepared with both, and bathed the dogs with an H2O2/NaHCO3 solution - we used a lot of both, and the combo was really fizzy too! It still took a few weeks, however, for the dogs to be completely smell-free.

Shortly after Perry's first encounter she happened to have an appointment at the vet, and I mentioned the skunk (although I didn't have to, her pungency was evident). The doctor told me to try Dawn dishwashing detergent (original formula) as a final step to the bath. We were given the opportunity to try the new 3-step formula about 2 weeks later. Fortunately for us on that occasion the spray was an "indirect" hit, and we also were able to prevent the dog from running all over the house before we got her into the tub, and thus kept the entire house from becoming an odoriferous dwelling. This time the smell was gone within a few days.

Earlier this month Perry took her third hit. This time we were at our recently purchased, and newly furnished, beach house, and we were in the yard with her when she chased the pole cat. We were able to stop her from going any further into the house than the enclosed back porch, and sent her back outside. We did not yet have any peroxide in the new house, although we did have Dawn and baking soda. We started by hosing our cur down, and slathering her with Dawn. After a second hosing, James went out to get some hydrogen peroxide, and was lucky enough to find it in a spray bottle. We wetted her thoroughly and then rubbed in plenty of baking soda to finish. A thorough rinsing followed. She was not a fan, especially since it was a bit chilly.

We were pleased to discover, though, that the stench was completely eliminated when we let the dog back in the house.

To sum up
To eliminate skunk smell from a small dog you will need:
  • Dawn dishwashing detergent
  • A spray bottle of hydrogen peroxide, with more to refill as needed
  • A box of baking soda
For best results bathe the dog with the Dawn first (use a lot) in order to remove as much oil as possible. Then follow up with a mix of peroxide and baking soda.

Sic Semper Tyrannus
Perry is vindicated with her toy skunk
Pam somehow got this perfect image of our huntress and her vanquished toy (stink-free) skunk. James was taken immediately back to his fourth-grade class in Virginia history. Google "Virgina state seal," he exclaimed, and then Pam saw the statement that Perry clearly was trying to make.
Thus Always to Tyrants

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Desde El Coche Ach Gretel

A student asked me yesterday whether our old car had a name and I said no. But I was not thinking clearly. Somewhere along the way, I started calling it simply El Coche (The Car). This was the subject line of numerous family emails, whether it was to report where I had parked it so that Pam could retrieve it later in the day or to pass along "medical" information about the latest repair.

Our 2004 Saturn LW300 was our first station wagon, and it was the last Saturn station wagon sold in southern New England. I know this because on the day we bought it -- after about 90 seconds of shopping -- other dealers were trying to get it from our friends at Saturn of Raynham. (Since disbanded, as GM turned its back on the entire Saturn experiment with modern business practices.)
When I took this, a certain song by Sinead came to mind, though in our case the parting was on good terms.
It was our second new car purchase, the first having been a 1993 Saturn SL. (Most people were aware of SL1 and SL2 in those days, but the SL was a graduate-student special that could not even afford a digit.) We got more than a decade and more than 200,000 miles out of each.
Nobody who saw El Coche had any doubt that it was ours, and this window was often a conversation starter. We put a bit of our identity into this car, and did not mind the repairs it required in later years.
Of course it would be irresponsible to cover the right-side window with stickers, but we did have just one, reflecting our preference for good coffee over evil coffee. When photographing this sticker, I decided there should be one "group photo" -- however oblique -- of El Coche with his replacement.
I don't want to trivialize genuine grieving -- of which we have had some in our family recently -- with mere nostalgia, but I noticed something interesting when I took this photograph. I apologized to the tow-truck driver for interrupting the proceedings, but he stepped back respectfully, and his manner reminded me very much of a respectful funeral director.
I seriously doubt that Gretel will ever bear as many stickers and other markers of our family Gestalt as El Coche did, but I noticed that Pam did already make this minimalist statement on the new (to us) wagon.
And now we have a different song, this one by Janice, stuck in our heads pretty much all the time.