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Monday, September 13, 2010


We have a Cairn terrier, the same breed as Toto in the Wizard of Oz. On Friday he dashed across the yard and attacked a baby skunk, chomping down on it and then swinging it back and forth violently, as if trying to just shake the life out of the poor skunk. The attack was surprisingly vicious. It reminded me of one of those nature shows where an Australian saltie leaps out of the water next to a tour boat to get at a chicken which is hanging from a string. It was actually a beautiful little baby skunk, too, jet black with the telltale white stripe not even having developed yet. It looked almost like a little black otter as it crossed the lawn.

This was actually around the seventh skunk that Tyke has killed. And he always seems to want to ravage the carcass a bit afterward, often biting right into the smell sac. (No wonder Elmira Gulch hated Toto so much.)

Afterwards I called Tyke a serial killer, which is basically what he is, especially since he has countless baby squirrels and chipmunks on his trophy list as well. My wife tried to defend him by saying he was "just doing his job" -- as if we had hired him to kill skunks. She then gave him the look of misplaced maternal affection that all pet owners give their dogs and pointed out that it wasn't his fault, he was bred to kill rodents. That's actually true: Cairn Terriers were originally bred by the Romans to go after rats and other vermin, so this is what his instincts compel him to do.

My wife took him to the veterinarian after the attack to have him de-odorized, and called Animal Control in our hometown to have them pick up the skunk just to make sure it wasn't rabid.

We got the report yesterday: the skunk was rabid. (This may have had something to do with why it was walking across the lawn in broad daylight.) Rabies is basically only contagious if the rabid animal bites you, and Tyke had already had his rabies shots a year ago, so he is probably okay. The vet gave him a booster shot just in case.

I didn't touch the dog afterward, so I'm going to pass on getting the shots. I don't think I'll get rabies, but who knows. If I start frothing at the mouth on this blog, please let me know.

Oh, that's right, that's pretty much what I have been doing here for the past two years anyway.

Never mind.

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