We drove back to town yesterday and as usual, George rushed straight down to the garden door and sat there, waiting patiently while we unpacked the car and got ourselves re-oriented. He was anxious to get out there to chase his ball along the long brick paths that lead up and down, on either side of the garden. It's his favorite occupation. I suspect that he thinks this is his mission, his life's work, in the same way I think about my writing. It's what he was put here to do, and he takes it with the utmost seriousness of purpose.
Surprise, then, when I finally took him out, that instead of chasing the ball I'd thrown he disappeared into the undergrowth, snuffling around with great enthusiasm until he gave a little yelp and emerged to start scraping furiously at his eye and face... a sign I recognized from a previous, similar encounter: he'd been skunked. It was only then that the hideous odor reached my nostrils...
The garden hose had no effect, other than to reduce the poor dog to a bedraggled, shivering mess. I had yelled up to forewarn Ellie, and she was quickly on the computer to check out remedies. I tried a first application of apple cider vinegar and dishwashing liquid while she made a quick run to the supermarket to buy baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, Dawn soap and Oxyclean--the mixture of which in proper proportions seemed to have proved for others in George's predicament. Mixed tother, they produced a witch's brew that hissed horribly and boiled over onto the washing machine, running down to the laundry room floor. Another mess. I rescued the bottles and packages that had now alarmingly accumulated, while Ellie doused the poor dog in her poisonous-looking brew.
Once the stink seemed to have somewhat subsided, we wrapped him in towels and took him up to the kitchen sink for a good rinse--in stone cold water: we discovered that, in our absence, the water heater had gone on the blink, another problem! Then out to the balcony for a towel-dry in the still warm sunshine.
The upshot: poor George still stinks from his adventure, but perhaps a little less than he might have done without our ministrations.
He actually looks pretty relaxed about the whole thing. But you can't smell him from where you are!