Permittez moi de vous presenter, Monsieur le Pew



Last week, just minding my own business, hanging out and doing some brainstorming and note-taking in my little woody nook in the back yard. Sun going down, how lovely as the dark begins to gather , juuust enough light left for me to write one more line or two in my journal…

Hm, says I, half-distracted, kinda nasty smell there…

…look past out toward the bird feeder. And.


Neighborhood skunk.

Now, he must not be aware of me, or he would not have approached at all. Yet there he is, a mere four feet away, happily munching the fall-out of sunflower seeds from the bird-feeder.

Munching, in fact, directly in my path out of there.

He already smells, meaning he’s fired his guns at least once today. So the question becomes:Does he still have ammunition left?

And do I feel like playing a game of So, punk, do you feel lucky? Do you? with a skunk?

I do not feel lucky.

I slink back and do a slow-motion scratch and scramble and get out by way of the neighbor’s flower garden.

But now, in order to get back into the house, I must go past Monsieur le Pew. Because I came out the back porch door, and the front door is locked.

Can I climb the porch railings? Or nonchalantly stroll past our guest, with perhaps a civilized nod of acknowledgment as I go by?

Still not feeling lucky….

At which point I recall something my sister discovered….

Standing out of range, I say: “Woof.”

The diner pauses…

“Woof-woof! Arf, arf, arf!! Woof-woof, arf arf arf-arf-arf.”

By golly, it works.

Off he ambles, not exactly frightened, I’d say, but playing it safe. And at a good speed.

So I offer this bit of skunk-lore to you, from my wood-wise sister. To safely encourage skunks to depart, abandon your humanity, embrace your Inner Dog.

Monsieur le Pew

Monsieur le Pew

(Last week was crazy busy; a much more sensible post is promised, soon.)

8 Responses to “Permittez moi de vous presenter, Monsieur le Pew”

  • Elizabeth B Says:

    This made me laugh. Which is only sort of good, because I have a cold, and laughing brings on the cough. Well woofed, Madam, well woofed.

    • Rosemary Says:

      Elizabeth —


      And it really is only barking that will do. Shouts of “Hey, get lost!” from a safe distance have zero effect, as Sabine discovered.

      I figure that this is because skunks know that people are smart and won’t put themselves on the firing line, no matter how much they might yell. But dogs, hell, dogs are crazy.

  • Melissa Kirkland Says:

    Now THAT was a great story!!

  • tariqata Says:


    I’d love to know if this trick would have worked for my family dog, the day a skunk walked up to where he was hanging out, directly in front of our back door, and decided to spray right then and there – presumably just for kicks, as the dog never made a move or sound. The poor guy was *so* bewildered!

  • Sabine Says:

    Tarigata, the trick is to be a very safe distance before you bark.It helps to bark like a large dog. No yaps or yips. And I only bark from the upstairs bedroom window. Maybe the skunk was making a pre-emptive strike on your poor pooch. I hope the skunk doesn’t blame one of our neighbor’s little dogs for our barks and get him back.

    • Rosemary Says:

      Sabine —

      Large dog, you say? I was sorta going for crazed terrier.

      Largely because we actually have a crazed terrier in the complex, so I thought Monsieur le Pew might have had some interaction with the yipmeister in the past. The terrier in question strikes me as the sort dog who would hurl himself into the fray for God and Country, never mind the mustard gas.

      However, Lawnmower Man’s barky dog is a BIG barky dog, and I suspect all neighborhood skunks have met him. A big dog can finish a skunk in one bite, before the dog even realizes he’s been hit. Bad smell for the dog, but certain death for the skunk. Another reason for our visitor to let discretion be the better part of valor.

  • Michael_GR Says:

    Great story! I wonder – do you have to bark, or is saying out loud “woof woof, I’m a dog” enough?

    • Rosemary Says:

      Michael —

      I believe it’s necessary to be taken as a dog.

      Saying the actual words “woof, woof” would probably not convince. And I’m pretty sure that adding “I’m a dog” would be a dead giveaway!