Friday, September 16, 2011

Stupid Dog

My dog is ridiculously cute. He's tough and scrappy. He's confident and independent. Duncan wouldn't waste one second of his life whining for my attention. He'll cuddle with me, but only when HE feels like it. I love my little doggie, but he is a nincompoop.

Friday I agreed to spend the day at Sand Ridge State Forest looking for skinks (lizards) for a friend's research project while she's on vacation. I had to check three areas at 7am, 11am and 3pm. I planned to spend the hours between checks birding and decided to take Duncan for company and exercise.

As usual, I was up well before dawn and gathered everything I needed as well as food and water for Duncan. I hauled everything out to the car and was ready to leave when I realized Duncan was missing. I checked all his usual sleeping spots, but he was gone. I went outside and called but got no response. I woke Gene who groggily thought he might be under the house. What? Apparently there is a place in the garage that he can squeeze into the crawl space but then can't get back out. Gene opened the trap door in the living room closet and sure enough, Duncan was down there, bouncing happily to get out. Stupid dog.

I loaded him into the car and set off for Sand Ridge. He loved tearing around at Sand Ridge. I had been a little nervous about all the cacti, but he either avoided them or they didn't bother him. After our first check, we drove ~15 minutes to Lake Chautauqua and walked several miles around the north lake. He had a blast tearing around, up and down the levees. I was busy watching a pair of bald eagles on a huge nest and wasn't paying much attention to Crazy Dog chasing killdeer. After a couple of hours I was FREEZING and decided to drive to Havana for some hot chocolate and food. We jumped back into the car and the smell was so overwhelming "I" thought I was going to puke!

I am rarely bothered by bad smells. I work around so many animals and their waste I don't even notice. The dead fish smell at Chautauqua didn't bother me a bit. However, there was a steady breeze. The dead fish smell on Duncan in the confined space of the car nearly killed me. I can't imagine how bad he must have stunk to make ME gag! I had to drive with the windows open. Back at Sand Ridge I was so desperate I was rubbing sand on him trying to get the stink a little more manageable. Nothing helped. I had some hand sanitizer and considered using it on him, but his skin's so sensitive I figured I'd end up spending $$$ at the vet's office for meds for the rash it would cause. We spent some time at Spring Lake between the next skink checks, but there was just nothing I could think of that helped the smell. We passed two roadkill skunks and their stink was a welcome diversion! I finally finished my last check and set off for the longest hour I've ever spent in my car. I seriously had my sweatshirt pulled up over my mouth and nose most of the ride. I considered "freeing" Duncan on the side of the road more than once!

When we FINALLY made it home, I immediately bathed the dog with a medicated sulfur shampoo. It is for itchy skin and normally I hate the scent, but was extremely grateful the sulfur and coal tar mostly removed the fish stink. I'll have to see if Walmart carries a sulfur air freshener for my car. Seriously, that drive was like sharing the car with a dead 15 pound Asian carp that has been rotting in the sun for weeks. Duncan will be excluded from my next adventure! And I didn't even find any skinks!

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