Lyme + skunk = unconditional love

She’s not “just the dog.”

Sasha, the wonder dog, is my shadow, my constant companion, and my muse. I love her more than I love most people.

She joined us on our tenting/cottage adventure on Canada Day weekend. We are installing a new foundation under our cottage, so it was not habitable for the long weekend. But the heat wave in eastern North America and our desire to check on renovation progress drove us to pack up our tent and head to the lake for the weekend.

On Sunday morning, Sasha heard an animal snorfling outside. While we slept soundly, she performed a stealth Great Escape from the tent (apparently old dogs can learn new tricks) to chase the animal, which was, of course, a skunk.

I was the first to awake. As I dressed I looked around the tent. No dog. “Where is she?” I wondered. Then I heard her. “How on earth did she get outside?”

When I unzipped the tent, the odour hit me. Oh, no.

“Tomato juice doesn’t work,” everyone said. “The stuff you get from the vet is the only stuff that works.” Excellent. This was Canada Day. There would be no getting stuff from veterinarian offices locked up tight for the holidays. We were stuck with a stinky dog—in a tent.

But—this spring, her routine heartworm blood test showed a positive for Lyme Disease. Subsequent blood tests show that she’s fighting off the disease herself—the antigen number gets lower and the antibody number gets higher—but it’s taking a lot out of her. She’s lethargic, sleeping a lot, resisting walks and not eating. For 3 weeks, we’ve been coaxing her to eat a few kibbles at a time out of our hand. She’s doing much better lately, but on Canada Day weekend, we were still very worried. For the first time I allowed a little voice to creep into the back of my head, “What if I lose her?”

With that little whisper at the back of my head, I let her and her odoriferous skunk smell crawl up on my sleeping bag and take up almost all the leg room. Heck, she could have shared my pillow if she wanted.

That’s what unconditional love is all about.


About Arlene Somerton Smith

Writer, laughing thinker, miner of inspirational insights, sports fan, and community volunteer

Posted on July 10, 2012, in Gratitude, Inspiration, Living life to the fullest and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Try this it really works
    If you ever have a pet that has an unfortunate run in with a skunk (or other wild smelly animal) this works really well, but you have to make it as needed.
    1 litre of 3% hydrogen peroxide
    (available at any pharmacy)
    60 ml baking soda
    5 mil liquid HAND soap
    Mix together in an open container. Use immediately, washing pet thoroughly with mixture. Let is stand on pet for 5 minutes before rinsing thoroughly. Avoid getting into pets eyes.

    • I hope to never need this recipe! It’s been a week and a half now, so Sasha is no longer smelly, and I’ll be doing my best to keep her away from skunks from now on. Maybe it will come in handy for others. Thanks, Jo.

  2. Marybeth Ellis

    Thanks for the recipe, Joanne. It may come in handy one day.

    Arlene, I love Sasha too but I’m not sure I would have invited her into my sleeping bag — that’s above and beyond! Sasha is one lucky lady to have you. 🙂

  3. Arlene, you made me laugh and cry at the same time. In your situation, I would have done exactly the same, skunk or no. I hope your Sasha will be healthy soon. 🙂

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