Before I even start to write this, I want you to be sure and know that I am 74 years old, in fact, close to 75. And Malcolm is 75 almost 76. And the reason you need to know our ages, is that we are just too old to do what we we’re told to do! And here it is…
I went out of the house the other day and the smell of skunk assailed my nose. Oh, Lord, I thought, I hope it isn’t a resident skunk and just one that is passing through our field. The next day, I went out and bingo, I smelled the same skunk smell and this time it was even a little stronger. And that evening when Malcolm and I were both sitting down and relaxing, I mentioned the skunk problem and he admitted that he also had smelled that awful smell.
When I asked him what he thought, he told me that he thought that a skunk (and maybe his family) had taken up residence either in or under our barn. And when I asked him what we were going to do, he said that he wasn’t going to do anything! When I asked him why not, he said that he was now too old to even consider trying to trap it. Well, I couldn’t really disagree, but I did mention that I was very worried about the dogs going outside and getting up close and personal with the skunk. He agreed and then suggested that I get in touch with our game warden and ask him or her to get rid of the skunk. Now, I should mention that over the 50 plus years that we have lived here, we have been fortunate enough to have the warden rid us of all ages and sizes of skunks.
The very next day I decided to make this call, but for the first time, I didn’t know the name of our resident game warden, so I called the State Police for help. I did get someone to answer after I told him what my problem was… I guess he really didn’t listen carefully because I certainly wasn’t asking the State Police to catch our skunk. But he went on to explain to me how they weren’t skunk catchers and how I would have to make other arrangements. Finally he understood that I wasn’t asking them to catch it but just wanted the name of our game warden. And you can imagine my surprise when he told me that we no longer had a game warden but we did have an animal control person. O.K. I said, could you please give me his or her name. He said that he could but that I should know that they wouldn’t help me either. Nope, this officer didn’t do skunks! Now, I was a little upset and asked who could help me or how could I get rid of the skunk. Are you ready? He told me that I would have to HIRE a professional varmint ridder. What? I said, I have to hire someone? And who would that be? Orkin is who he recommended. When I now mentioned that the cost of hiring this professional would probably cost me a lot more than I could afford, he said that was probably true, but that this wasn’t his problem!
I have lived in Waitsfield and Vermont for over 50 years and this was the first time I ever heard that regardless of your age and financial position, you have to catch a resident skunk by yourself or else hire someone that would put a real dent in your pocketbook. I just want you to picture me (or Malcolm) outside and trying to set a trap for our skunk. And even worse, trying to figure out how to release that skunk once we caught it. Right now, as I write this, the skunk is still with us. Hopefully our dogs – one 2-year-old standard poodle who is a chicken, and a 15-year-old Yorkie who is blind – are not going outside and meeting the skunk. Rufus, the poodle, will probably come right back inside the house but Lily, the Yorkie, will remember her youth and try to keep her home and loved ones safe from the skunk. And that, my friends, would be a disaster!
As soon as I am finished sharing this with you and folding the laundry, I am going to call Doug Kenyon and ask him if he can either help me himself or maybe he knows someone who can. He is a lot younger than we are and he is also not only a good friend of ours, he is a wonderful friend of the town of Waitsfield. Unless, of course, you can think of some way to encourage the skunk to move on to a friendlier, warmer and more convenient place to live. Or I would even like to know how to free a skunk from a Have-a-heart trap without being sprayed. Or if it can even be done!
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