Sick skunks won’t tell you until the last minute….

Posted on November 8, 2009

skunks does not like driving

are you in theee- Blossom“NOPE, I’M NOT COMING OUT TODAY”

When a skunk is not hungry, it is seldom about the weather.

In the morning, when her door is opened, our skunk Blossom comes out of her den carrier like a race horse from the starting gate. Where is breakfast, let’s get this show on the road.

Lacey, the youngest one, all fluffy and soft, she slides out the door onto the floor yawning.  Lacey blinks as she decides to walk to the kitchen or be carried… no rush. Mornings are for pondering.

The morning it happened, when I opened the door, Lacey sprawled onto the floor, blinking at the white snow-sleet streaking past the wall of windows.  Blossom peeked out and pulled the blankets over her head.

“Blossom, come on honey bunny, it’s warm out here.”

“Nope, Mama, I’m not coming out today.”

Okay then.  Must be the snow, I thought.  This was our first winter season with Blossom so we were not sure of her habits in cold weather.  Perhaps she just figured it’s time to hibernate until breakfast is served anyway.  I picked up Lacey and prepared their breakfast without the usual Blossom-dance around my feet… the one where I shuffle so as not to trip me or tromp the skunkette.

Leaned down to present the little queen with a plate of chicken, nuts, cottage cheese, pear, and cucumber.  Little bits of favorites.

“Ugh,” Blossom said. “Get that out of here.”

“What’s wrong with Blossom?!!” I asked my husband. “Something is wrong with Blossom!”

“It’s snowing.  Cold.  She’ll eat when she’s ready.”

“But Blossom is always hungry.”

pet skunk winter preperationIf it hadn’t been for the snow thing going on outside, I wouldn’t have second-guessed my instincts.

But Lacey was packing a king-size velour blanket under the entertainment center, through a four-inch high opening.

Things were different today.

Skunks do not generally say they have had enough when presented a food they enjoy.  They might say they don’t want it, if they don’t like the food.  Lacey does not like canned pumpkin which she refers to as a cousin to that which comes from the bowel system, and frosting this ‘stuff’ with honey will not tempt her to even lick the honey off.  But if a skunk enjoys the food, let’s say they discover how to climb inside a garbage can of dry dog food, they will eat until they squeak-and-barf, then eat plenty more.  Promise you, I know these things.

So I knew in my heart that Blossom was not well.

Blossom in winter art web

I spent the day giving her colloidal silver and water, limu juice, and trying to tempt her with any food she would eat.  She licked her favorite juice from a syringe but would not even drink it from a bowl.

When I succumbed to taking her temperature three times, poor thing, she had a high temp.

That evening, hubby was driving us at optimum speed without over-doing to get us to the last emergency vet appointment of the weekend with a vet she had never met because, of course, her regular vet was out of town, bless his heart.  Just the way it always falls.

Blossom was between us, holed up in blankets in her den-carrier and covered with more blankets.  Black eyes staring from the little den hole.  A long drive into the dark.  But the roads were clear.

She met the vet with no animosity.  Not very Blossom-like, as it took four vet techs to sedate her five-pound butt in order to be spayed.  Tonight she was dehydrated, listless, eyes dull, gut tight, high fever.  Frankly, she may not have lived the night.

It all happened so easily and quickly it seemed.  I was beside myself trying to figure out when I missed the first clues she was ill.   Maybe when I was writing at two in the morning and she sidled into the office and slid onto the carpet in front of the radiant heater for only a few seconds, then disappeared back to bed.  Maybe the different fecal texture I wondered about for a second.  Maybe the way she was so easy to tuck into bed the night before.

skunks does not like drivingThe drive home was on the other scale of speed.  Our Denali gingerly paced between rushing semis.  Cruising black ice at twenty miles per hour for forty-five miles.  No, even a Yukon Denali does not feel big enough under these conditions.  For instance, driving between the Christmas tree farm to our road usually takes three minutes and we drove fourteen minutes – which seemed hours to the turn-off.  Plenty of time to fuss over Blossom though.  I would have to say, if she ever decides not to come out because it is snowing, she would have good reason after that drive.

The vet was a miracle-working genius.  Two hours, two injections, re-hydration, and two bottles of antibiotics to be sure we had the problem covered.  Sent home a hungry skunk with a hint of energy.  She still wanted her bed and had no gumption for running the room, but she ate sparse vet rations and snuggled up while we watched television.  Within a few days she was bouncing circles around her sister.

Moral of the story: Listen with your gut.

Literal moral of the story:  If a skunk ever tells you, “Nope, I am not coming out today,” you may want to seriously question their reasoning.  If I had listened to the reason of snow and time to hibernate now, well, we probably would not have a Blossom in our snowdrift today.

Skunk Medicine mediumEssa Adams is author and publisher of other skunk stories.
Skunk Medicine: There’s A Skunk In the House! and Other Tail-raising Stories



A Breath Floats By: An Illusion for the Soul
Contemporary women’s fiction, subversive romance, lady lit.  A novel with three pet skunks and two Newfoundland dogs starring.