SKUNKS 3: Hey, it was the new girl!

So this story is going to start with a couple of surprises:

  1. We were in Michigan at my grandparents house
  2. Sammy was involved
  3. A skunk was also involved
  4. I make a cameo appearance

Between the end of Part 2 and Part 3 a couple years passed…as did Banshee – at least I assumed she passed her exams since she headed off to college leaving Sammy behind but creating a spot for me in the pack.  I would really have liked to have met her even though I am not particularly fond of other female dogs – but family is obviously different.  I keep hoping she invites me up to her school for a weekend trip.  My Dad told me how when he was a kid he would go visit his sisters at their colleges – the first classes at that level he ever attended.  I figure I could really learn some great new things if I got to go to a couple of classes.  Did I ever mention that Sammy and Banshee got to go to puppy classes when they first joined the pack – which is no doubt why they have such impeccable manners – but they never took me?   I did go to some “socialization” events at the pet store but there were some real freaks attending those things. For example:


However, there were some pretty interesting games we got to play like ring-around-the-rosie (group and duet style):

But there were some creeps there too – coming on a bit strong for my liking:


Without Sammy there, I would retreat to my comfort zone:


Once again I seem to have gotten off track.  So many thoughts flying through my head that it is hard sometimes to stay on task.

So, with no further ado (probably), I will get on to Part 3 of SKUNKS!

On this occasion, as I think I have already mentioned, we were back in Ann Arbor.  And as mentioned in previous episodes, my parents pack the Nature’s Miracle skunk stank (affectionately known as skunk-off) solution where ever we go.  They also learned that once they noticed the possibility of a skunking to get the pups straight in the basement so no lingering odors get ground into the carpeting in the family room (the basement by the way is tiled so this isn’t an issue down there).  So while sitting around one evening they were talking non-stop ignoring our attempts to clue them into the fact that it was well past the time for our evening walk (btw – Sammy is making the same plea right now as I am trying to focus on my dictation!).  Instead of listening to us they just opened the back door for us to take care of our business outside in the backyard.

Much to their chagrin, their conversation came to an abrupt end when that familiar odor wafted through the door.  Leaping into action, our parents corralled both Sammy and I and got us into the basement ASAP.  The gate was closed at the top of the stairs so we could not retreat upstairs – no spreading the stink.

-PAUSE in my narration…Sammy won and we are off for our walk –

-Back now…Sammy is much happier now that he is empty-er.

Once they had us in the basement they broke out the rags and Skunk-Off and started by dosing Sammy around the neck and chest.  I sat on the side curious as to what was going on.  Sammy took exception to this pretty much from the get go.  My parents kept sniffing around trying to locate the exact location of the spray around Sammy’s face.  Each time the wet rag started working on his fur, Sammy would roll his eyes and make a pleading sound – a kind of “why me” defense.  After a thorough once over of Sammy, my parents turned their attention to me.  It was at this point they realized that there was much stronger, more concentrated skunk smell around my chest and collar.  As they increased their exploration of my coat, they heard a faint noise of water being sprayed.  I of course knew instantly what that noise was even with my ears down and tail between my legs as they worked the cold cleaning fluid into my fur.

I should say at this point that since I was still new to the family and it was one of my first visits to Ann Arbor, my parents had me sleep in a soft sided crate that they assembled right outside their room.  Sammy had free reign of the basement during the night and even had the option of sleeping on the bed with them.  He is such a control freak though and is always on guard that he tends not to sleep in their bed – which is fine by me since now that I am trusted in Ann Arbor I get a good half of the bed to myself (shhhh… don’t tell my Grandmother!  I am not allowed on the bed…).

The fact that I had a crate set up for me in the basement is key to this story since the source of the noise was in fact Sammy lifting his leg and peeing on my bed; what good aim he has – killed the bed and inside of the crate, with not a drop outside the crate.  When my parents realize this they started yelling at him while still dousing me with de-skunker potion.  He just glared at them with a look of: “you get it now!  IT WAS NOT ME.”

In short, my cameo appearance in this story really ended up stealing the show so to speak as it was I who was the recipient of the skunks wrath and Sammy was the guiltless spectator of the skunking who was tortured by an inattentive set of parents.  His statement was eventually recognized for what it was…an imploration of innocence.


P.S.  To help you understand the future SKUNKS 4, you need to understand THE PLAN that developed throughout these episodes:s

  1. After SKUNKS 1
    • The Plan:  do not let the skunked dog rub their face on couches or rugs
  2. After SKUNKS 2
    • The adjusted Plan:  bring them to the basement fast (not on the carpet, not near the furniture), and get Nature’s Miracle on them fast.
  3. After SKUNKS 3
    • The revised adjusted Plan: do not bring the skunked dog in the house.  Have 1 person go outside with dog.  Close all doors.  Throw the following outside: paper towels, Nature’s Miracle Skunk-off, 2 plastic bags, and a robe.
      1. person outside to wipe down dog with skunk-off and paper towels.
      2. Throw all towels in 1 plastic bag and tie bag shut.
      3. Take off clothes and place in the other plastic bag; tie, and do not open until the bag is in a washing machine.
      4. Put on robe and proceed to a shower once step 5 is complete.
      5. Knock on the door and insist it is okay to come inside.




SKUNKS 2: That Smell

"Ooooh that smell
The smell of death surrounds you"

Those are lyrics from a song that some of you may be able to identify.  Not that it is necessarily the best song ever written, but when one is discussing skunks it is…well apropos – at least that is what I think.

Mind you, Part 2 of the skunk quadrilogy (or tetralogy if you want to be a stickler for words actually recognized by Webster) – which I will relate to you now, had no participation by yours truly…Ms. Montana the Wonder Dog.  This is another Sammy and Banshee saga.  Before I get into the telling of this tale I guess I should specify that SKUNKS is currently a four part story.  However, since during a recent morning walk in the neighborhood we got a whiff of the little fellers back in action after a long winter off, by the time I complete my retelling of these events their might be a part 5 that you can look forward to (a quick aside: Sam and my parents are hopeful that this ends at part 4…and for those that don’t have skunks in their neck of the woods you’ll just have to trust them on their judgement – no scratch-n-sniffs available in blogs…although that would be way cool – get to work on that Mr. Internet Man – or should it be person?).

With no more delay….

SKUNKS, Part 2

Once again (and this is going to be a common narrative thread through our stories) Sammy and Banshee had taken a trip to Michigan with my parents during football season.  In this instance, Sammy was not specific if the football team also stunk up Ann Arbor but suffice it to say that stinking up of the neighborhood was on full display.

In this particular instance, Banshee woke up with a belly ache, and as all good dogs do when something is bothering us in the stomach region, she got out of bed and threw up the potential offending agents inside her.  Now you might think that such a reaction to what we have eaten would surely discourage us from sniffing said contents.  Well you’d be wrong.  Remember, us dogs have excellent sniffers.  In fact, if what came out did not smell toxic, we’ll go ahead and re-eat it!  Why not!  To quote another great blog when an instance of regurgitation took place by one of my kind: “I MADE FOOD!”  Before you go and get all judgmental on us dogs, just take a look of our avian friends.  Hey, their young THRIVE off of food their parents “cough-up.”

Seems once again I got off track.  In this particular case of the spit-up producing puppy, Dad reacted quickly by trying to get both Sammy and Banshee outside as quick as possible in case one of them was going to repeat the episode.  I should point out at this point of the story that when we stay in Michigan we sleep in the basement.  Therefore, Dad’s efforts included corralling both dogs and herding them up the stairs to the back door.  However, Dad made two mistakes during his middle of the night reaction to the illness of one of his dogs:

  1. He did not stop to clean up the mess that was produced (sub-note to part 1: he did not let either dog investigate if said mess was still offensive).
  2. Before opening the door to the backyard he did not take an air quality sample.

Why is this of issue?  Well, starting with point two, had he taken a moment he would have realized the potential of worse things then a little puke…the dreaded skunk.  Since he neglected this simple precautionary measure that was put in place following Part 1, he released Sammy and Montana into an arena where their natural instincts took over – in other words, chase the little critter moving in the backyard.  In this particular case, since Banshee was a little under the weather, rather than going outside she doubled back downstairs so she could go back to bed and work through her illness by resting – as we all should do…she may have stopped to get a little drink of water from our bowl in the basement but Sammy wasn’t there to report on if this took place or not.  I can tell you from my experience, if there was something unpleasant in our tummies that made us throw up, a little water to cleanse the palate is a good idea.  Anyhow, while Banshee beat foot back to bed, Sammy was doing his best at guard duty.  Unfortunately for him (and the rest of the household), this resulted in him getting a full blast in the chest from our little black and white nemesis…Pepe LePew.


Now for Dad Error #2: Not picking up Banshee’s mess.  Although he was reacting in the middle of the night – which isn’t when he is at his best – he did plan on cleaning up when he got back down.  It may seem like the above paragraph took a long time in real time but in reality it was only a minute or two and did not allow him time to get back downstairs before Mom got up to clean up.  To her shock there was an awful stench in the area of the spit-up.  As any rationale person would conclude, the smell must be emanating from the vomitous mass, and therefore her princess dog must be in very bad shape and in need of emergency veterinary attention.  This deduction, although flawed, was not far out of line but was also quickly dispelled when coming down the stairs was the obvious source of said odor was no doubt the second skunking of Sammy (not to mention a wet Dad who was also confused as to why they were both wet…and was it a skunk?)!

As I mentioned last time, we are always prepared with Skunk Off, which came in handy on this occasion.  A good dousing of Sammy with that stuff and things were back to normal…somewhat…  As they frantically scrubbed the pups and the basement and doused Dad, they turned around to see Grandma in her robe saying “it stinks of skunk!”  It turned out that the smell really got into my Parent’s hair and clothes (and, once again, Grandma’s house and clothes and basement for weeks…).  Although my Parents showered (a couple of times) when they got back home to Illinois the following day, the smell of skunk was still present in their aura.  They discovered this when shopping at Walgreens.  The cashier was too polite to respond in the affirmative when they asked if they smelled (OR maybe she is one of those mutants!) but the woman behind them in line said: “Oh yeah, you smell of skunk!”  They continued on to eat lunch at a restaurant and tried to ignore the looks of the others eating in the establishment.  Not to mention those at work the next few weeks who politely brought collaborative air fresheners for the office to enjoy.

That pretty much ends this chapter of the story.  Before I leave I would just like to remind you that it is a good idea to stop and smell the flowers (roses or any others) in life because around the next corner may lurk a much worse odor!


Good night and looking forward to the summer,



SKUNKS, Part I: Anosmia

Recently I learned that not all people can smell the odor that skunks emit as a self-defense mechanism.  As the statement below documents – these are indeed some lucky souls.

“One in ten people reportedly can’t smell hydrogen cyanide (a poisonous gas), while 12% of participants in one study failed to detect musky odors, common perfume ingredients. An estimated one in 1,000 lucky souls can’t smell butyl mercaptan, the rancid issue of skunks.”

For those who are interested, here is a link to a short article about how you people are weird:

I don’t think us dogs EVER miss an odor.  For instance, one little treat under a bucket and not only did I sniff it out, I was able to figure out how to get it – NO simple dog here!

Now you may be wondering why not smelling the odor of skunks is such a big deal and why I named this post Part 1.  Well, not only are we dogs good at sniffing out scents, we are also good at detecting motion – especially scurrying little movements – and then reacting to these moves by chasing.  Typically, this does not result in any capture of the enemy mostly because of all the fences you people build that not only thwart our pursuit but also gives the little guys a place to climb and or slip under.  Then there are all those trees that around here which I have tried climbing but for some reason haven’t been able to conquer.

Part 1 of my skunk stories was before my time so I am relating the saga not based on my own personal observations but rather what Sammy told me after Part 3 and retold to me after Part 4.

Part 1 takes us back to the days when Sammy was a little guy and was still hanging out with his twin sister Banshee.  The year was 2007 and the twins were left behind in Michigan to spend a couple weeks with our grandparents as our parents went to Montana (the state – not me :)) for a wedding.  They first returned home to Illinois before flying out later that week.  Upon arriving at our home that evening, they got a call from Grandma.  Turns out Sammy was having a terrible fit, crying, rubbing his face on the floor/couch/carpeting/whatever he could.  My Grandparents initially thought he may have gotten into something that caused some sort of allergic reaction or possibly even something posionous.  Well, he indeed got into something – the back end of a skunk.   Banshee was smart enough to go for the front end so came out relatively unblemished.   Sammy, however, got a blast of skunk stink straight in the face – by the way, if you have never been close to such a smell trust me that it is certainly something that makes your eyes tear up (re: Part 3 and 4).

Once she realized Sammy had been skunked she rushed him to the bathroom and gave him a shower and a good scrubbing.  Turns out this isn’t the best way to get the stink out as it removes the natural oils us dogs produce.  Suffice it to say that since then, all subsequent visits anywhere we are accompanied by a bottle or two of Natures Miracle Skunk Off.  Grandma was quite cross with Sammy at this point as not only did the house reek but she was now soaked from the bath.   At this point Sammy probably did the smartest thing he has done in his entire life – and his life was precariously close to ending at that moment – he put his muzzle on grandma’s shoulder, gave her that big brown eyes look of his, whimpered and gave her a kiss…instantly melting her heart.

It was shortly after this that my parents got the call.  Mom immediately jumped into action and called an emergency vet in Michigan that was less then a mile away.  To her amazement, the vet did not recognize this catastrophe as an EMERGENCY!  “But wait”, she said, “we will pay anything for you to help.”  This plea was met with a rebuffing about “real emergencies” that could come in at any point.  So there was nothing that could be done to help from Illinois.   Was it time to climb back in the car and retrieve their ill behaved children?  No.  The Grandparents were going to power through the smell and the unhappy, wet puppy so my Parents could go on their trip.

One aside here:  not only did Sammy get blasted but the skunk was finished off by the hunting prowess of Banshee.  As I said she was mostly unaffected by the event…this was besides the mess around her muzzle and chin which she was able to clean up herself – for the most part.   What she wasn’t able to clean up was the resulting mess in the backyard…which, in her opinion, was something no one should get close to ever again.  But alas, poor G-ma had to clean up this mess as well.

For the next week or so, candles burned, clothes were washed, windows were left open and visitors didn’t stay too long at Casa de Stink.   When my parents did return, they had a guest with them who was going to attend a Michigan football game.  The above story was related to said friend and he was repeatedly reminded that he was to at all costs not let on that their house stunk of skunk – which my parents learned after my Aunt went and spent a very short time at the house earlier that week.  Anyhow, on arrival, before even being formally introduced to my Grandparents the friend was knocked back by the stench and could not resist stating: “my god.  The skunk smell is overwhelming!” Great.  So much for the prep work on the ride to Michigan… and off they were to the store to by more candles/air fresheners.

(As a matter of full disclosure, I should probably also mention that the football team also stunk it up that weekend but like the house, they got better as the weeks passed – in fact the next weekend they pounded one of their arch rivals Notre Dame 38-0!).

Well that is pretty much the story of Part 1 with only one final point.  If only the friend was one of those mutants that can’t smell skunk everything would have turned out fine.   I guess that isn’t entirely true.   It would have been better if the whole lot of the residents at Casa de Stink (including the twins) were devoid of the ability to smell butyl mercaptan!

Part 2 to come soon.

Have a great weekend,


Evidence of those life saving big brown eyes and killer personality!

image image image

Lessons from a Fox

I have been working on a couple of longer stories – at least in my mind – but haven’t put the pen to paper…so to speak.   Hopefully now that the drama of Selection Sunday is behind us my scribe can focus a little more on getting these stories out to everyone.  But before I go into today’s short story I thought I should expand on the whole Selection Sunday comment.

  1. Selection Sunday is when they announce the teams that make the men’s NCAA basketball national championship tournament.-This year the show dragged on FOREVER and was particularly painful for my parents since Michigan (their team of choice) was on the bubble – meaning they may or may not make the tourney.  Luckily for me (since they would go ON AND ON about it if the team didn’t make it) the team did make it.
  2. This year, it coincided with the annual Crawfish Boil at Bluegrass – once again I was not invited.  But be sure, I sniffed out their subterfuge as soon as they walked in the door – have I mentioned I LOVE seafood?  And to add insult to injury they did not even share the chocolate chip cookie they brought home with them!  I better move on or I’ll get myself all worked up again and that will not be good given it is Sunday evening.


So, on to my point for tonight.  The Fox.  Check out this entrepreneur:


If only I had seen this before the crawfish boil I would have figured out a way into the event and paid my own way…well, I guess it isn’t really paying with my own money, but you get the idea.

However, in the future, I will be prepared well in advance (Dad – better count the money in your wallet every day…he he he).

Take Care,


By the way, don’t think the beaded necklace or the boas make up for the lack of toe-licking good eats (although the squeakers in the snakes are a good time) – remember, I know where you leave your cash!

Am No Ant

As any of you who are into word games and puzzles (Uncle Stephen – I am talking to you) the title of this blog is probably an obvious anagram for my name: Montana!

This I found by playing with a web page that will produce anagrams for anything you type.   Unlike the above title, however, not all of the responses make much sense as an actual phrase.  For instance, I found nothing good for Montana Moments – “Neat Mammon Snot” means nothing… even if you rearrange the words!

So why would I even be looking for an anagram for my name?  Well, it started because my Dad was trying to find a name for our vast estate/abode – inspired by my parent’s trip to England a few years back (apparently he tried this once before).  Nothing speaks of class like having a name instead of just an address for your house.   So he was trying a few things last night (his and mom’s first name, their respective last names, etc.) and accidentally left the web page open while he was at work.

A couple of things I read that were left up as possible names for our house included:

  • Albino Trinket
  • Boat Interlink
  • Retina Inkblot

Again, nothing that makes much sense in naming our house…Sammy is pretty light colored but not even he could be called an Albino.  A boat?  Not around this neighborhood – especially since the architect who designed our renovation refused to bring Lake Michigan up to our property line.  Finally, Retina Inkblot doesn’t make sense for a house name but does kind of capture my parents’ educational background – neuroscience and psychology.  This is no Rorschach Test, but if you recall my self portrait from a previous blog…  it takes a certain ability to make it a picture of me; much like finding shapes in the clouds.

Self Portrait

So getting back to when my Dad tried this before.  Either anagram generators improved or they no longer care about creating sequences of words that make sense.  I say this because Sammy told me how no matter how hard our Dad tried, he got nothing meaningful from all sorts of combinations.  So this particular website allows one to try different languages.  Since both my parents are from Scandinavian ancestry – I assume this is something similar to being a point setter, a Bernese mountain dog or a Norwegian Elk hound (but I am no geneticist) – my Dad typed their names into a Swedish anagram generator and back translated the results to come up with: “Noble Scheme.”

From Wikipedia:  “A Great and Noble Scheme”, by John Mack Faragher presents the daunting facts about the terrible French removal in a logical history, combined in one nicely readable text. 

Logical history sounded pretty good to me but we aren’t really of French origin – I am from Tennessee which I believe is not even French Canadian, or New Orleans and the Cajuns.

As far as I can tell, there is no perfect answer to what we should name our home based on these choices.  I personally would settle for Mo-Tor, but that may be a bit selfish of me even though I am the princess.

Anyone out there have any ideas?

While you think that over, just let me say that it was a pretty nice weekend for early March around here.  Sammy and I took full advantage:

Even tonight wasn’t so bad – temperature wise – on our walk.  But now that we are finished with all that I’ll call it a day.


Good night.