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Dogs protect their territory, no matter what

We are affected by what is happening in nature whether it is the increased hazards of driving during deer rut or the pleasure of watching the eagles when they stop on their annual migration for a few months. Some affects are good, others are not so much.

We happen to be entering into the breeding season of the skunks.

Most of the year, skunks are innocuous little animals that go about the woods minding their own business eating bugs and snakes.

This is a good thing.

Normally, if I meet one in the woods, I walk right by. He is doing his thing and I am doing mine. We do not bother each other.

At this time of year, skunks are moving from one area to another looking for a suitable mate. A person would think they could smell a mate from a mile or two away, but they seem to have to walk all over everywhere in their quest.

This is where the problem arises. Sometimes where they choose to walk is an area considered protected property by a dog. The skunk might think he is causing no harm by walking across some dog's property, but I have never seen a dog that would accept this without a challenge. Sometimes the skunk survives the encounter and sometimes not. It is 100 percent guaranteed, either way, the dog is going to get sprayed.

Boudreaux is a standard poodle. Haley is a fox terrier. Between the two of them, Haley would rather hunt and Boudreaux would prefer to be the pretty but fairly aggressive guard dog. Some days they really get lucky and get to do both.

Damon got up early to get ready for work. He let the dogs out, as is everybody's routine that has a dog. The next hour went as most people's mornings do -- that have kids to get ready for school and adults to get ready for work. General panic ensues for a half hour to an hour until everyone is ready.

Trevor walked by the door and saw Haley and Boudreaux were ready to come in. Fragrant clouds enveloped the room as the two happy and proud dogs bounded into the room. They had protected their domain and smelled to high heaven as a result.

Skunks do not fight if they do not have to. A direct spray to the face of a dog or any other predator generally convinces them, they do not want to fight either. This skunk made some direct hits at his targets. Nobody is sure what the final result was of the encounter as no skunk body was found, but a long lasting impression was made on the two dogs.

My wife is the keeper of the old family recipe for getting skunk smell off of dogs. Amanda called her immediately after locking the two brave warriors in the outside pen. The recipe is fairly simple, but nobody can remember it as it is only needed every four or five years between skunk attacks. My wife has the foresight to write the recipe down and put it in a place she can find it.

Mix one quart of peroxide (two bottles) 1/4 cup of baking soda, and one teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap. Wash the dog thoroughly, especially around the face, rinse, and repeat. Throw their collar away, and they should be as good as new. One batch will suffice for a medium sized dog. Amanda used two batches since she had one large-sized dog and one small, really smelly one.

By that evening, things were pretty much back to normal. The house no longer smelled and Boudreaux and Haley were again ready to protect the property from invaders, no matter how stinky.

Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.