I Smell a Skunk

When Francis was three years old, his teacher in pre-school told the story about how her dog had been sprayed by a skunk and they had to give it a bath in tomato juice.  Francis thought this was the worst thing ever because he HATED tomato juice.

With both a severe vision impairment (legally blind) and obsessive compulsive disorder, Francis began to worry about getting sprayed by a skunk.  Obviously, taking a bath in tomato juice would be the most horrible thing ever.  He refused to go outside to play in our backyard because he was so afraid he would step on a skunk which he couldn’t see. We put up a chicken wire fence to keep the skunks out.  (Up until this point, we had never seen a skunk in our yard, but Francis was sure there was a skunk out there just waiting to rush up to him to spray him!)  He was still leery about going out and had a few more questions.

“What happens if the skunk jumps over the fence?” he asked, and we reassured him that skunks don’t jump that high.  (I don’t know if this is a fact, but it served the purpose of reassuring him a skunk would jump.)

“What happens if a skunk digs under the fence” he asked, and again we reassured him that skunks don’t dig under fences. (?)  It would have to be one motivated skunk to go through all of that work just to spray Francis!

His next question sealed his fate.  “What happens if the skunk sprays me THROUGH THE HOLES IN THE FENCE?”  I had no answer except to say that that was absurd, which would not do anything to allay his fears!  I gave up.  He didn’t go outside to play for the rest of the summer!

Comments on: "I Smell a Skunk" (34)

  1. that is actually really funny, and i lol at work!

  2. LOl that is so funny!… My daughter Chloe is always with the what if…. this and what if that… I bring her inside too if I can’t hang with her LMAO

  3. Nothing worse than the smell! I don’t even think tomato juice gets it out completely.

    We had a pet skunk growing up. He still had his spray too. He was just a baby when we got him. It took over a year but finally a boy on a bicycle in the alley behind the backyard scared our Inky Stinky and he sprayed him (through the fence heh). After that, Inky went to the country to live.

    He was a great pet though! He used to climb up my mom’s pant leg and come out the top of her jumpsuit. We thought that was a riot. So I guess they can climb too. LOL.

  4. I completely sympathize with Francis and his anxiety, except my aversion is to the skunk’s odor, not the tomato juice. I worry a lot about hitting one of these creatures with my car and not being able to escape the smell. 🙂

  5. You did a great job of trying to reassure him, but sometimes the fears are bigger than the reassurances. I CAN’T STAND tomato juice , so I’m with Francis on wanting to avoid that cure.

  6. I don’t know how you found me, but I’m so glad you did.

  7. Oh no, poor Francis! I hope he managed to go outside the summer after?

    • 5kidswdisabilities said:

      Yes, that was years ago! Now he’s graduated from Cambridge with a PhD and works on his dream job. He skiis, surfs, captains his own sailboat, jogs, camps, and does anything outside he wants! (I’m nor sure he’s not still afraid of skunks, but I think he’s puts the thoughts aside!)

  8. Hi Chick.
    You obvioulsy live a very interesting and busy life!
    What fun … your kids keep you busy!

  9. Poor Francis! And poor mom. It’s tough when they’re afraid of something (even when it’s irrational) and we can’t be as reassuring as we’d like.

  10. Nothing you could say to that last one!

  11. you have a wonderful blog. you have a way of relating what happens in your life that captivates a person.

    the story of Marie, while heartbreaking, you make it sound hopeful. and your bother’s trip to the mall and museum was bright and happy.

    i look forward to more.


  12. Poor Francis! I wouldn’t want a tomato juice bath, either! Bless you for raising five kids, and still having time to blog about it! That’s a major job, even if they didn’t have disabilities!
    Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you’ll come again!

  13. I just came over for a peek (from Fresh Fixins) and man… I’m hooked!
    I’m a carer,(daycare and long term ‘family options’) specializing in children with Autism-related disabilities, and I love how you can keep the optimism coming!
    I can’t wait to read more!!

  14. suzicate said:

    This is funny. He has really good logic about the holes in the fence! I ‘ve been reading through your back post. You have quite a busy lofe, and your are an absolute godsend. You have a heart of gold and a wonderful sense of humor!

  15. My skunk story is about our dog getting sprayed by one of them-there smelly beasts. Our lovely Akita, Bruiser, is mostly reddish-brown, with large white patches around his neck and across most of his shoulders. At 100 pounds, he’s quite the big guy. When he got sprayed last year, my sister went off to the store poste-haste to purchase large amounts of tomato juice.

    I was stuck with a VERY stinky dog on the back porch, and couldn’t wait for my sister to return from the store, so I dug around a found a big bottle of Dawn dishwashing liquid (the blue one). I figured if it was good on cleaning greasy dishes, maybe it would help with oily skunk smell. So I lathered up my Akita like the abominable snowman, and scrubbed and lathered and bubbled away. When I rinsed him off, all his white hair was tinged with this sickly blue tint, and he still, of course, smelled disgustingly awful.

    My sister made it home with tomato juice and hydrogen peroxide (mixed together helps neutralize the stench). So I proceeded to douse the Akita with several large cans of tomato juice, leaving it on him for at least thirty minutes, just like it said to do online when I googled “skunk remedies”. Well, wouldn’t you know, in addition to the sickly blue tint that lingered from the Dawn dishwashing liquid, now the dog also had a faded pinkish gray pukey looking tint from the tomato juice. He was turning into a stinky technicolor 100 pound mess!

    Eventually the peroxide and several (several !!!) shampoos later, he returned to his non-stinky white and reddish-brown self, but for a few days there, our dog was ashamed to be seen outside of the house wearing his pink and blue hairdo. It would have been funny if he hadn’t smelled so bad that we could barely breathe around him!

    Thanks for sharing your skunk story.
    Holes in the fence. The deal-breaker.
    Sounds like a good title for a book!

    • 5kidswdisabilities said:

      Oh, that is toooooo funny! I’d hate to see my poor Francis with reddish color hair and skin…(not to say he’d let me get anywhere near him with the tomato juice in the first place!!!)

  16. I’m glad he never saw the video my uncle took when I skunk went under their porch and stuck its head into a glass jar…and then was stuck in it, wandering around the yard, wildly spraying everything. There was no way to get its head out of the tiny jar, and eventually my uncle had to go sharpshooter on the poor thing and put it out of its misery.

    Yup, that video would’ve kept your dearie inside through the fall.

    • 5kidswdisabilities said:

      Oh! That is so funny!!! You are right…he would have stayed inside forever!!!!

  17. I have to admit, he makes a good case with that last one, I’d have been stumped too!

  18. I can sympathize with him. I’ve always been a little afraid of that happening to me, too.

    You’ve got a great blog. I love the way you tell a story.

  19. Oh, the poor kid!!! Well, when my dog got sprayed by a skunk, the tomato juice did not work….we had to bathe him in a soap solution with hydrogen peroxide. That was the only thing that did. So – if your son ever gets worried about skunk spray again, reassure him that he won’t have to bathe in tomato juice.

  20. What a smart little boy he is! Well, we can tell he’d given that issue a great deal of thought…tried to allow for any possible circumstances…and in the end, even the mom’s tricks of the trade couldn’t allay his fears. I’d be stuck on that one as well, but it sounds like you handled it beautifully.

    I hope his fear abated…there’s a beautiful, non-smelly outdoors just waiting for him!

  21. Yes, I agree with the previous comment that the best solution to de-skunkify is actually the hydrogen peroxide mix. It worked wonders on our cat when she had a run-in with a skunk. No tomato juice necessary.

    I understand about coping with irrational childhood fears though. At least he can look back and laugh at it some day, and it gives you good blogging material. 😉

  22. I always thought it was a cloud of “gas.”
    But one sprayed on our patio — and it came out in a big blobs of stuff that looked strangely like someone blew his/her nose.

    also, I have a recipe around here somewhere that does NOT use tomato juice. More and likely mentioned above.

  23. ps. my daughter’s blog is called Dreaming What ifs …
    because that was something she did all the time when she was a kid

  24. aww.. I see Karmyn commented on your blog. bwaaa ha ha ha ha ha

  25. I dont do skunks either. I guess no one does. lol I love all the questions Francis asked. Sounds like mine. Always wanted EVERY detail before anything was done. Its tiresome but can be soooo entertaining.

    Great post. Thanks for the smile. =)

  26. This is so funny! My son also had a fear of being sprayed by skunks when he was little. They are abundant in our area-in fact one has lived under the shed in the backyard for about 3 years now. Great ratters and this one has been a good tenant!

    Way back when, one night after dark my son asked to go out to the van to retrieve a forgotten toy. After several minutes, I became aware of the lack of his presence in the house. Concerned, I opened the front door and peered out at the van, not 6 feet away, to find my son’s sobbing face presses against the window! Oh to break a Mama’s heart! As it turned out, when he was getting out of the van, a skunk made an appearance. When he yelled “shoo!” at it, it stamped his front feet at him and was threatening to turn around! Fortunately,he had the presence of mind to close the van door quickly and leave the intruder alone! Unfortunately, he had a sidetracked Mama who left him to sob out his fright alone in the van for several minutes-but I’m sure it felt like a lifetime to him! Oddly enough, he never went to the van again after dark unless I stood in the open doorway and watched/guarded him! lol

  27. I have to say that is a funny story, it always amazes me have kids think.

    Gill in Canada

  28. He had a point. The chicken wire would have done nothing to stop the skunk spray.

    Just sayin’.

  29. Such a sweet story, it’s both worrying and wonderful the things kids come up with!

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