The Skunk and the Dog

In November of 2011 Milt and I noticed a skunk in our yard that was severely wounded and hobbling around in the middle of the day looking for food. As we watched the skunk we realized it was the one that lived in the drainage pipe that ran underneath our driveway. For several days the skunk would come out of it's burrow each day to hunt for food. At times the skunk would lay out in the sun in our yard for hours at a time panting heavily in pain. Just when we thought it had died it would be up and hobbling around again looking for food. This behavior was totally unlike the normal behavior of a skunk. Skunks usually sleep during the day and feed at night. As the skunk struggled to get around during the daytime hours we would watch it's struggle with compassion and cry.

Feeling sorry for the skunk we discussed our options. "Should we intervene, and rescue the skunk, or put it down so it would not suffer?" We decided to call the Division of Wildlife and found out that skunks are one of the two animals that are not allowed to be rescued or rehabilitated in Colorado because of Rabies (#2 is a Bat). We called the Sheriff's Department to see if they could come and put the skunk down, but they aren't allowed to shoot a firearm in city limits. Because of it being hunting season there were no wildlife officers available to do the task. My son even offered to come hit it with a shovel, but couldn't bring himself to follow through with it, especially since it was very likely he would get sprayed. So we decided to let nature take its course and left food and water out for the skunk, just in case it would be able to heal from its wounds on its own.

We found out a couple of days later from two different neighbors that the man, who lived two doors down from us, had been out shooting at a skunk. We put two-and-two together that this was how the skunk became wounded. This man has a dog named T-Bone. He is a beautiful one-year-old Akita with the cutest personality to match. T-Bone has taken to us and comes down to our house every day for the nibble of food we leave out for him. He likes us so much that he sleeps on the dog bed and blankets we left out for him on our front porch. This has been his routine for months. We really love T-Bone and his sweet spirit.

t-bone

Because T-Bone makes frequent trips to our house for some loving and a few dog biscuits, he would often encounter the wounded skunk. In his puppy like manner he'd bark at the skunk and yes he would get sprayed. We tried diligently to intervene on the skunks behalf and redirect T-Bone away. After a few days T-Bone began to realize that encounters with skunks was not pleasant and began to leave the skunk alone.

We continue to watch the skunk with care and hoped for the best. After about five days of watching over the skunk, that evening the skunk did something very unusual. Instead of going back to it's burrow it crawled on to our porch and burrowed itself into the blankets on T-Bone's bed. (Interestingly, whenever there is a sick or wounded dog in the neighborhood they come to our porch.) The skunk burrowed so far under the blankets that all you could see was it's tail. We didn't want want to disturb the skunk, but also wondered what would happen when T-Bone came to bed down for the night. We left the skunk alone and would allow T-Bone and the skunk to figure out their sleeping arrangements.

skunk

The next morning we peeked out the window to find that the skunk was still on the porch under the blankets. T-Bone was no where to be found so we figured T-Bone had come and found someone sleeping in his bed and went to go find another cozy spot for the evening. At about noon the skunk left the porch and hobbled out to the field next door. That was the last we saw the skunk. It had moved on and we hoped that it had died was finally out of pain.

T-Bone did not show up to visit us that day, or the next day, or the next. We began to worry. We went to speak with T-Bone's owner, only to find out that T-Bone had wandered to the other side of town a few days earlier and was shot and killed by a man because T-Bone was in his yard. We cried. T-Bones owner couldn't understand why the man who shot him just didn't shoo him away. The man who shot T-Bone was ticketed for firing a weapon in city limits. The owner of T-Bone was ticketed for having a dog at-large.

T-Bone had died the day the skunk came on our porch. Milt and I ran the gamut of emotions that day, from anger to grief, at the loss of our good friend T-Bone. The questions swirled in our minds of "Why, did this have to happen?" The Universe didn't supply the answer all that day. We went to bed weary with our grief. At 11:30 pm I woke up from a deep sleep with the answer. It was Karma. Our neighbro had shot an innocent skunk in his yard without disregard for its life, therefore the dog that he loved was killed in like manner. Then the thought went through my head, "Be careful of your actions and what you send out into the Universe, because time is speeding up so are the effects of Karma. What goes around comes around."

We so very much miss sweet T-Bone -- and the skunk.

If you would like to help us feed and protect these loving animals who have no one else to care for or about them, contribute what you can. They'll appreciate it -- and so will we.