Lessons over, I led the youngsters back over to their large corral winter home, and Lucy reappeared to escort me and all my baggage (a bucket of brushes, a bucket of grain, and three halters with lead ropes attached) back to the other barn to put things away. Gee, you'd think she could carry some of the load, or at least get the gates don't you?
There used to be sheep on this ranch, and this is where the ewes had their lambs. Now that the sheep are gone (temporarily I hope) this barn has become handy for storing things like...insulation for a future construction project... and all our horse tack.
By this time is was nearly dark, so I flipped the light on in the barn and proceeded to put away all my stuff. I was hanging up the last of my halter's when I heard a scuffling noise behind me.
And then....she dropped it, right about in the spot she's sitting in the picture below, and bailed out the open door.
And there I was, standing in the corner of the barn, with a large, rather angry (I can't imagine why?) SKUNK between me and my only route of escape!
And all this happened without a single voice. Not mine, not Lucy's, not the skunnk, through the whole ordeal! No one made a peep or growl or squeel! Strange huh?
I suppose I was lucky. The skunk, after a moment of stumbling around, probably dizzy and dazed from his shaking experience, but with tail still erect and fluffed, trotted back down the isle from whence he'd been reluctantly hauled, and stood facing the wall, tail towards the barn (and me). I decided this was my best moment, and best opportunity to escape with the least amount of "damage," and made a dash for the door.
The odor, which I had not yet detected, was overpowering around the door. I knew I had just trotted myself right through the lingering cloud, but how else was I to get out? Lucy, bless her heart was right outside the barn, rather frantically rubbing her face, head, and body in the snow. I suppose the ole girl got a face full of spray. Probably a mouth full too judging by the amount of snow she ate between the barn and the house.
The two of us made our way to the house, Lucy stopping every few feet to rub her face in the snow and eat a few mouth fulls, and me pausing every few gasped breathes to tell her to" get away from me, for the love of roses!" My word that dog was RIPE!
When we got to the house, Lucy just kept right on going, straight into the tree row and the tall grass where she proceeded to roll and rub in the snow. I stepped inside the door to tell Malcolm there was a skunk in the lambing barn and that Lucy had attacked it while I was in there. He was in the other end of the house. I hollered my report to him from the doorway. A brief pause of silence. A response. "I can smell it on you," he said (from the other end of the house? Oh dear!)
Malcolm came back to the barn with me and spent some time banging around trying to scare the skunk out of hiding. At first we didn't think it was going to happen, but at the last minute, just before giving up, Malcolm spyed him, at the opposite end of the barn, right where I'd been standing when the whole event transpired. The culprit was quickly disposed of, and Malcolm appreciated the opportunity to use one of his new guns, though he probably would have preferred a more pleasant environment to try it out in.
I wish I could say as much for the insulation being stored in the barn, my new halters, and my brand new saddle pad which I have not had opportunity to use yet. I imagine they all reek! I went down to the barn this morning to get my illustrative pictures, and even after standing all night with both doors wide open, you still have to hold your breath to go in. It's pretty pungent. I'm not sure how I escaped smelling not quite like a rose, but not like I'd slept with a skunk. It's a miracle!
As for Lucy, I'm giving her a wide berth for a while. We'll play more next time I'm home, when she's had some time to air out. Poor Zadie, who has to share a dog house with her. Must be true love, because they were curled up together and Zadie didn't seem to be complaining any.
And next time I'm home, I think I'll keep a closer eye on things, and have a little more to say about what Lucy considers to be a "good time," at least when it's going to involve me in some way. But I'll be speaking up before the good times take place, not fussing and fuming (no pun intended) after the fact.