You have made it abundantly clear that you are sick of hearing about food, and I’ve got nothing ready to go under the Only in Maine theme so I’m going to go completely off topic and write you a funny dog story, because, well, I can. The dog in question is not my current mama’s boy, Rocky, but his predecessor and opposite in character, Raleigh.

Raleigh was part corgi and part keeshond. In short, a corgi is a long low dog with a sense of humor and a huge stubborn streak and a keeshond is a square and extremely hairy Dutch barge dog bred to live in close quarters with its family and guard the family barge, which was essentially a cargo/houseboat. If you need to know more, GOOGLE it and leave me alone. I’m busy here.

So Raleigh had a ton of hair, was long and low, about as tall as a cocker spaniel, and had a very dry sense of humor. And he was WAY smarter than I. Most of the time. If you keep reading Only in Maine, you will hear more about Raleigh from time to time and you will see that I am not some crazy dog owning anthropomorphiciser, that he really was smarter, and that he really did have a sense of humor.

We were living in Los Angeles and one day went to visit friends who lived all the way out by Universal Studios. Which in LA terms is “the country.” Sometime after dinner, Raleigh was outside in the fenced in yard with our host’s dog and we humans were sitting on a balcony off the dining room enjoying the late night air and the view from the hill the house is built on.

At some point we heard loud barking so I went out front to check and I see Raleigh confronting what could only be a skunk. Why do I say “could only be a skunk?” Because I’m a city girl and wouldn’t think I’d know a skunk if it bit me, but this cute li’l animal looked EXACTLY like Pepe le Pew and had all its hackles raised and looked ready to strike.

Definitely a skunk.

I yelled for Raleigh to “come” – which he always considered a request, not a command. This time he figured that since he’s smarter than I he knew something I didn’t – this was a small animal and he was absolutely sure he could take him so coming at my “request” was out. I knew this was going to end badly from the get go and watched frozen in horror as the skunk sprayed my beloved dog.

In the face.

At which point “for some unknown reason” I got the bum’s rush – I found myself and my dog neatly packed in my car and driving down the hill before I could even say “boy, that stinks!” or even “goodnight, and thanks for having us.”

It was very late, about 1:30 in the morning. I made the freeway in no time with all the windows wide open and breathing through my ears (mouth was out, that stink even had a TASTE!). By the time I hit the highway I was already driving with my head out the window it was so unbearable, and I distinctly remember wondering if it would be possible to safely rig the dog to the roof for the rest of the ride. Unfortunately the logistics of how to do that never revealed themselves to me during that ride or he surely would have arrived home with flies in his teeth.

I don’t know how I knew (because as I said I’m a city girl) that tomato juice is what is commonly used to counteract the stench of skunk-spray. I resolved to race to the market as fast as possible, buy out their supply and bathe him in it.

Did I mention that this was Los Angeles? What’s the first thing that comes to mind? You guessed it. Even at 1:30 in the morning, the inevitable happened. There was a major accident on the 405 and almost as soon as I made the interchange from the 101 we came to a grinding halt. And I was stuck in traffic with a dog so horribly odorous that adjacent vehicles were giving me wide berth.

Some 2 hours later, after leaving the supermarket with 15 1-gallon cans of tomato juice, I closed myself in the guest bath with the dog, the juice and a clothespin on my nose. 30 minutes later I came out covered head to toe with tomato juice with tears in my eyes from the fumes, a stinky wet dog and a bathroom that looked like OJ & Nicole had just played their out their last scene in my tub. Floor to ceiling tomato juice. I am here to tell you today that the juice solution doesn’t really work. He now smelled of skunk and juice, a sort of rotten Bloody Mary without the celery stick.

I won’t even go into how I survived the night (thanking the powers that be that he was not a bed sleeper). The next morning I rushed him to a groomer who bathed him in a shampoo designed to eliminate skunk smell but is only 50% effective. Which was still better than nothing. I was grateful even for that.

The following week is a blur of fumes and separatism. Him over there and me as far over here as I could possibly get. All was well until I had to spend the entire day at the same friend’s house once again – only now it was business and I had to go. And since it was all day I had to bring the dog or he would be holding it in for 12 hours. So, I tossed the dog in the car and off we went (notice how he was “Raleigh” until he was skunked and now he’s “the dog?”).

Do I need to finish this or can you fill in the end on your own?

Raleigh is now ashes residing in a hermetically sealed box in a place of honor on the top shelf of a closet way in the back of the basement. No, I didn’t have him put to sleep over the second skunking! What do you take me for? He died a natural death some years later, peacefully, and before losing any quality of life.

I on the other hand lost all quality of life during that second visit to the house by Universal City and the ashes stink so bad of skunk I still can’t bring him in the house!

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