Saturday, July 15, 2006

This Stinks.

The other night Doug and I were enoying our backyard when the dogs suddenly went completely off the hook crazy and ran to the corner of the yard. There was a baby skunk hanging out between the outside of our fence and the chiropractor's office next door.

We'd had a report earlier in the month that down around the corner the police had to shoot a rabid skunk when it was in the park menacing the kids at little league. It was still pretty light out (it being summer in these parts the sky doesn't go all dusky until after 8:30pm) and I didn't think it was right to be seeing a nocturnal animal strolling around in the middle of a parkinglot in the light.

So I called the animal control officer. She happens to work at my vet's office during the day (I love small towns, don't you?) and her sidekick/ACO in training is Jen, the girl who takes care of our dogs when they kennel at the vet.

escaping across our stoopThey showed up pretty quickly, but between the time I called them and the time they showed up, little baby skunkness walked around our house, down our driveway, huddled between our lilac bushes and our basement window wells, scooted across our porch, cozied up under the azalea bushes on the other side and then settled down for a nap. I kept an eye on it, watching the little thing breathe deeply and restfully. Having our dogs go nuts and bark at it must have been kind of stressful, and he/she really looked shagged out from the scare. Running back to its den might have been a better idea, but a nice little nap in the bushes worked out well for it.

When ACO showed up, she educated us that babies like this little one are just trying to figure out the neighborhood, learn the ways around, and start looking for a new place to den once ready to move away from mom. She told us that more likely than not it would mosey back into the woods and live back in there.

They haven't figured out yet that they are nocturnal, so seeing a baby out during the day isn't a problem or issue. They just go out adventuring, like it's their job.

But if she picked it up, she would be required to euthanize it immediately. No relocation to the deep woods, no finding a better place for it to live. It's the law.

So I was kind of torn. It was indeed cute, tiny, helpless looking. It liked looking at us, and didn't menace or hiss or run in fear. It did hide when approached, didn't smell or spray, hasn't learned that part of its job yet obviously. I wanted her to take it away somewhere without killing it, that I wouldn't tell on her if she did... but she couldn't do that.

Instead, she advised that we just leave it be. And it would figure things out on its own. That our dogs barking at it sent it a "don't go in there" message and it probably was received loud and clear.

We all went our own ways, and we haven't seen him since.

I hope we don't run into it again in the dark in the back when it finally figures out how to spray. And I hope it figures out to go live someplace else.

Anyway, that's the update. If you have a high-speed connection and you want to watch a video of Geoff singing his song about how much he loves pie, click here. It is 60mb, and will take a month to load. But it's funny.

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