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Sun, Oct. 13

One man’s rant: Do we really needs skunks?

Most of us are concerned about the presidential elections that are generating wall-to-wall headlines as well as wall-to-wall stomach acid.

I contend that while we’re being distracted by the confrontation of powerful political forces on the Right and the Left, we should be embroiled in a far more meaningful exchange of ideas about whether in our modern world we need…skunks.

Our word “skunk” comes from the Algonquian language — and the Algonquian word, “squunck.” I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that tribesman sat around their camp fires on the weekends asking the very same question that fuels this column; Do we need squuncks? Let’s face it, they should have been more concerned than we are since there was a better chance of an errant skunk falling into their dinner stew than into ours.

According to my source, skunks have excellent hearing but very poor eye sight which explains why I’ve seen the remains of several skunks in the roadway to Prescott this month. Skunks are also supposed to have a good sense of smell. If they do, they must also have a very low opinion of themselves due to their own odoriferously bad defensive habits. If I smelled as bad, I’d play in traffic, too!

Most predators in America such as wolves, foxes and badgers know better than to fool around with skunks. The one predictable exception is DOGS which leads me to the harrowing story of “Maggie and the skunk.” It’s a deeply moving account of how our younger Black Lab was rewarded for her one and only attempt to bridge the species gap between “squuncks” — and her kind — shortly after we moved up from Phoenix.

Whilst moving boxes off the porch into the house on that fateful day, I happened to notice that our three Labs were in the backyard. I also noticed that Maggie was taking an extraordinary interest in a fourth individual in the yard that displayed the frightening black and white-stripe color combination.

Before I could fire a verbal warning to her (and to all of Paulden West), the skunk fired its own liquid warning fully into Maggie’s face. There was no happiness in Mudville that day. I’ve never seen such a perplexed look on a Black Lab. The skunk escaped, but poor Maggie stood stock still shocked at the treatment she’d received.

Lucy, our middle Lab later commented that her sister’s unfortunate adventure was the funniest thing she’d ever seen. Lucy and her younger sister didn’t speak to each other for several months.

Coincidentally, I had learned of an effective skunk spray antidote just three days before Maggie’s trauma; it’s a mixture of hydrogen peroxide (3 percent), baking soda and a few drops of dishwashing liquid. With a couple of vigorous applications, Maggie slept in our bedroom that night, as usual.

My conclusion is that skunks have absolutely no socially redeeming values to offer us. If, however, you violently disagree and are really bored with adopting such animals as, oh I don’t know, a dog or a cat, there are a number of skunk rescue organizations around the country from which you can adopt. I’m not making this up!

There are also snake rescue and rat and rodent rescue organizations out there. Can’t find a weasel in the color and size you want? Well, there’s a weasel rescue organization online, too. Got spider questions? Just contact The Spider Rescue Center via its website.

OK, I’ve had enough!

To comment on this column or to air out your own skunk sentiments, email

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