Monday, October 4, 2010

How I Killed a Skunk

I was just trying to help. Honest. I hold no animosity towards skunks. This was not revenge for that Halloween in my childhood when I got sprayed by a skunk I thought was a kitten and had to throw out my candy and burn my costume. Truly, I didn't mean for it to die!!!!

So here's what happened.

I have an aunt who lives in a little brown house near Tetonia, Idaho. She has a large plot of land down a road that gets almost no traffic, and from her unpretentious porch she has a $5 million view of the Teton Mountains. It is a view that makes those long, snowy winters worth it.

My aunt has a soft spot in her heart for animals and over the years has had quite a collection of dogs, horses, rabbits, and about a million cats. Personally, my favorite pet of hers was Baby the pig. Baby was this enormous pig who roamed about the house just like a fat, old dog. Baby could open the fridge with her snout, and so the fridge had to be secured with duct tape to keep Baby out.

Matt discovered the importance of the duct tape when we were newly engaged. It was the typical "meet the family weekend" turned atypical when my unsuspecting fiance happened to stumble upon Baby in the kitchen snorting down a bowl full of bean dip that she had scored from the fridge. I'll never forget Matt trying to wrangle that dip away from a 300 pound pig . . . Ahh . . . Good times . . . I miss Baby.

But I digress.

A few months ago my aunt started posting on our family website her concerns about a skunk that had taken up residence under one of her sheds. She was asking for ideas for how to get rid of it, and various ideas were given. Critters are part of country living, so I wasn't that concerned.

That is, until the skunk came in her cat door to get at the cat food, and my poor aunt crawled out the nearest window to escape and spent the evening languishing in her pick up truck. By this time the skunk had also been given a name: Daffodil, or "Daffy" for short.

I thought to myself, this is getting serious. Pretty soon Daffy is going to be living in the house, and Aunt Anne is going to be living in the hole under the shed.

At this point, more suggestions were given for how to get rid of Daffy. Fire arms. Traps of various shapes and complexities. Knives. Tomato juice (still not sure what this one was about). Hire a Skunk Whisperer (that was mine).

So Aunt Anne went a little Wylie coyote and decided to rig up quite the little contraption. She even posted pictures. She bought the biggest garbage can she could find. Then she got a large piece of fish and put it in the microwave and then left it out for a while until it was nice and stinky. She hung the stinky fish from her porch from a string which she had suspended above the garbage can, which she had filled with water. The idea was that Daffy would go for the fish and end up drowning in the garbage can.

It might have worked if it weren't for Facebook. The entire family was so fascinated with this experiment that we were insisting on pictures. So after rigging her trap she sat perched at the window late one night in her darkened house. Daffy came and was sniffing around, and just our skunk got really interested in that stinky fish, my aunt snapped a great photo and spooked Daffy.

It's probably for the best, because there was the millionaire to consider. I mentioned before that my aunt lives down a quiet road that gets almost no traffic. Well, apparently a cute and single male millionaire is in the process of building a lovely residence nearby. He has been asking about my aunt at the local service station, and the girl at the counter has been trying to set them up. So you can imagine that one would feel self-conscious in front of any new neighbor if one's porch was ornamented with a dead fish dangling over a garbage can. The self-consciousness would only be compounded if the new neighbor happened to be a handsome, rich and eligible bachelor. So, alas, the trap had to come down.

At this point Aunt Anne was looking for an exterminator. But they were not to be found in Teton Valley where she lives. She found one over the mountains in Jackson, Wyoming, but as it turns out 1) they were too lazy to drive over and 2) they don't do skunks.

Enter Heather. I decided I would try to help. In my personal opinion there is no problem that cannot be solved with Google and a credit card. So I went online and found a website that advertised skunk repellent and ordered some and had it shipped to my aunt. I was really excited about this solution because I had come to realize one thing: My aunt didn't want to hurt Daffy. My aunt is an animal lover, and her tender feelings extend to even the least aromatically pleasing of God's creatures. So I knew that she didn't have the heart to kill Daffy, she just wanted her to relocate.

The skunk repellent, as advertised, was "totally safe and organic." It was little granules that you would shake around outside that would give off the aroma of skunk predators (such as foxes) and so presumably the skunk would leave because it was afraid. It was not a poison and so no one would be hurt: not the skunk, not other pets, not any people. Perfect!!

So just a few days ago my aunt got her package and followed the instructions.

And then I got this post on Facebook:
"Heather...Thank you so so much for the removal stuff. It worked so well, Daffy got run over. Ironic..isn't it?"

Did I mention that the road in front of my aunt's house gets almost no traffic! Here we are, trying to preserve Daffy's life with a "totally safe" product, and as she is running for her life from the foul-smelling organic granules, she manages to run out in front of a car on a barely- traveled country road! Could she not have waited 5 seconds?

It was probably the cute millionaire driving that car. I think he is destined to be my aunt's skunk-crossed lover. Somehow these events will bring them together and Daffy's death will not have been in vain.
Now I can relax and go back to happily reminiscing about Matt and Baby and that bean dip . . Ahh . . . Good times . . .