(With apologies to Snoopy)
It was a dark and stormy night.
Chester, the Golden Doodle sensed that something was awry in the dark corners of his back yard. He ran to the back door, tail on high alert mode. His dimwitted co-owner, not picking up on the intelligent clues that Chester was offering, opened the back door.
Like a shot, Chester bolted toward the far corner of the yard, tracking something moving. No, it wasn’t the gray cat that had been taunting him in recent weeks. It was black and white and ambling along slowly.
The brain in Chester’s co-owner suddenly went into limited turbo-boost mood, recognizing that the object of Chester’s chase was another skunk.
Then peaceful late evening silence of the neighborhood was fractured.
“No, Chester, NO, NO, NO,” his master’s voice rang out.
Chester, apparently remembering his previous encounter with a skunk about four weeks earlier, hit the brakes and tried to turn back. But it was too late, for the skunk had tossed a volley of toxic perfume his way. It glanced off Chester’s nose — not a full frontal attack like he had experienced earlier. But he was still fully odiferous.
He ran back to the house, where of course he was not welcomed with the usual enthusiasm he had come to expect. He was collared, drug to the bathtub and doused with patchouli oil soap in a humiliating cleansing ordeal. He was dried off as best as can be done for an exceptionally wooly dog, then parked in his kennel for the night.
Meanwhile, outside, the drama continued. The skunk, apparently terrified by Chester’s advance and the shrieking of the owner, cowered in a corner next to an outdoor storage shed. A flashlight pinpointed two beady red-glowing eyes next to a flower pot. The skunk would occasionally make aggressive hops forward in hopes of scaring the owner away. It worked.
Chester’s co-owner then came up with a ridiculous plan. Maybe the skunk could be scared away with the blast of a shotgun. Of course, discharging a firearm in a residential neighborhood is illegal, but by this time all logic in the co-owner’s brain had vaporized.
After what seemed like hours of fumbling through a closet to locate a shotgun and digging through cluttered shelves in the garage for a shotgun shell, the plan was put into motion.
Chester’s co-owner bravely stepped out into the dark, weapon hoisted in the general direction of the skunk. His wife pleaded with him to return to sanity and come up with a better plan to deal with the skunk — of which there were many. His ears were deaf to the pleas as his testosterone infused instinct to protect his home from the sabre toothed tiger kicked in.
Suddenly a shot rang out.
The maid screamed.
(Well, okay, there wasn’t a maid and there was no scream. But there was a rather punctuated retribution from a female voice.)
A door slammed.
(Actually it was the sound of a sliding glass door.)
Neighbors’ lights turned on. People scrambled to their back porch to see what was happening. Apologies were issued for the infraction.
Yet, the skunk did not move. It continued its beady-eyed stare at Chester’s co-owner. It had not been injured — just enraged more and now intent on holding its ground.
Chester’s master, his ego deflated, then cowardly concluded he would wait until the morning to see if the skunk had moved on.
Early the next morning, an inspection of the back yard was made. There was no evidence of a live skunk, dead skunk or skunk parts. The only evidence that a shotgun had been discharged was a sprinkler head that had been blasted out of its place in the lawn.
A few days after the incident, Chester is still somewhat perfumed by a blend of skunk blast and patchouli oil. The skunk has not been seen in the vicinity. And Chester’s owner is contemplating additional firearms training while repairing his sprinkler system.