Avoiding a stinky Christmas

For 31 years we’ve sent a family Christmas poem with our greeting cards. Always fun and uplifting, the topics varied from an achievement earned or a goal reached to a funny incident. Despite the occasional rhyming mishap, our family and friends look forward to them.

But it’s been tough the last couple of years deciding what to write about. With COVID-19 keeping us more at home, adventures and activities that would normally present us with lots of ideas were greatly scaled back.

I was thinking maybe it was time to retire the tradition – until Teddy, our 7-year-old black Lab, was sprayed by a skunk.

We had a smelly mess on our hands but a great Christmas poem idea. Or, as the phrase goes, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Granted, it’s a stretch, but when your 60-pound stinking pooch tears through the house and lands on your bed, you’ve got to laugh.

While Ed, my husband, went to corral the dog, I jumped on the internet for tips, advice, anything to get the smell off Teddy and out of the house.

The first bit of advice everywhere I looked said in no uncertain terms, DON’T LET THE DOG IN THE HOUSE.

OK, so we blew Step 1. Now what?

Step 2 was giving Teddy a bath with a shampoo made from ingredients you may already have in your home, and I list them below. But a look in the pantry revealed we were out of baking soda.

Since it was 11:30 at night and stores were closed, Teddy got two rounds of his regular dog shampoo.

It was a cool October evening, but we opened windows after Ed put the screens in. We didn’t want Pip, our 2-year-old cat, jumping out to avoid the smell.

A few weeks later, after the smell was out of the house and off Teddy, a skunk struck again. Luckily, we were better prepared, but it was still a mess.

Skunks are interesting creatures. The nocturnal weasel family members tend to live alone and aren’t choosy about what they eat: fruit, plants, insects, larvae, worms, eggs, reptiles, small animals and fish.

A skunk’s powerful spray can reach up to 10 feet. It’s flammable, irritating and can cause temporary blindness.

So this year’s Christmas poem was saved by a skunk. Who would have thought? Not me.

Scents of the Season

While out and about enjoying the seasons,

Teddy captures their scents by various reasons.

Lilac in spring, with a hint of Easter ham.

Roses in summer, a whiff of peach jam.

But THIS fall season as he followed his nose,

a skunk sprayed Teddy from his head to his toes!

There’s no need to tell how awful Teddy’s smell.

If he’d only had the sense to remember that scent well,


come Turkey Time, while following his nose,

he met another weasel who again sprayed him head to toes!

But good news: fortunately, and like before,

scrubbings with soap returned the Teddy we adore.

He’s once again off, seeking scents to recall,

the magic of Christmas we wish for you all.

A sprig of mistletoe,

a peppermint treat,

a holiday filled with Teddy smelling sweet.

How to make skunk shampoo

1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide solution

1/4 cup of baking soda

1 teaspoon of liquid dishwashing soap

Using rubber gloves, work the solution into the fur. Don’t leave it on too long as peroxide can bleach.

Rinse thoroughly. Repeat if needed.

Source: www.akc.org/expert‑advice/health/what‑to‑do‑when

Karin Spicer, a magazine writer, has been entertaining families for more than 20 years. She lives in Bellbrook with her family and two furry animals all who provide inspiration for her work. She can be reached at spicerkarin@gmail.com.

About the Author