The dog woke up at 2:30 AM. She was acting crazy. Snorting, sneezing, rolling on the ground. I thought she was sick.
Then I smelled something foul.
“Oh no,” I thought. “What has she done?”
I quickly inspected the floor and found nothing. “Just gas,” I thought and decided to bring her outside.
I tossed on some clothing and carried her downstairs as she continued to wheeze and snort.
The smell grew worse by the time we reached the first floor. For a moment I thought it was the dog, about to erupt, but then I realized what it was.
Skunk. Somewhere in the neighborhood, and probably fairly close, a skunk had decided to spray some unfortunate animal. The entire house smelled of skunk and my dog, with her advanced sense of smell, was suffering the worst.
She ran to the front door and scratched. She wanted to go outside. Already dressed, I figured it was still as good a time as any to take her outside, so I attached her leash, opened the door and stepped out onto the stoop.
I looked up. The sky was cloudless and filled with stars.
The dog whined and crawled between my legs.
I looked down. Standing on the front lawn, less than four feet away from me, was the skunk.
The skunk didn’t move.
The dog continued to whine.
It was a large skunk. A well-fed skunk. Considerably larger than my 21 pound Lhasa Apso.
Larger than I had ever imagined a skunk to be.
Then the smell hit me. It had been bad inside the house, but out here, the air reeked of the skunk’s scent. The smell had replaced all other smells. For a moment, I thought I had already been sprayed.
I decided to not move. I’d wait and see what the skunk did first. I’d be Hamlet, choosing inaction over action.
I stood there for what felt like a long time. No, it was a long time.
Finally, the skunk turned and trotted around the house toward my backyard.
It’s Thanksgiving. I have much to be thankful for today.