A special thanks to Diatribe and Ovations blog for reminding me of this skunk story. It always makes me cringe and laugh.
First let me set the scene, it was in my early days of working for this company. I was in one of three cubes in a large room that was once a waiting room like area for 4 offices. We were administration support for the production team leaders in the offices. Office doors never closed, we all got along and liked each other. It was like a big processing family with shouting and laughing back and forth. The radio played in the background as keys clicked and copiers whirled with the sounds of great people doing a good job. You know a good work environment like that couldn’t last and with layoffs it was decimated leaving those of us that remained over worked and separated. However in this golden era of enough work for everyone and camaraderie too boot is where the skunk story sets.
So in walks the young and newest production team leader. He’s not his usual self but quiet and withdrawn. He hangs up his coat in his office and gets to work. Everyone has a bad morning and we all figure it’s his. We leave him to his coffee and morning e-mails for an attitude adjustment what ever is needed.
It’s not long before people start asking one another “Do you smell a SKUNK?” Now this is odd because we are all in the center of a large shielded building. We processed radioactive waste and the office area has no windows or outside walls. Add to it that it is in an accessed controlled area that is fenced in and wild life is kept out. I know I walked the fence line regularly as part of my job. So needless to say it was odd to smell a wild animal.
Sheepishly from the unusually quiet office came the answer. “It’s my coat. I’ll take it outside.” He quietly walks the aisle between the cubicles holding out the offending barn coat. Yep, we all got a good strong whiff it was the coat. I’m sure every office from our quad to the door got a good whiff of that coat! As it warmed up it got more pungent.
Now we are all curious – how did his coat come to smell like a skunk? Needless to say all 6 of us were waiting for his return. Once he came back, clothes changed to scrubs (we wore scrubs under the canaries yellow protective gear and respirator to keep from risking contamination on street clothes) we all stuck our heads out to hear the answer. It was up to Oscar, the senior team leader, to ask the embarrassed young man what happened.
It all started with his new hunting dog. He’d been working with the dog and had gotten very close to it. So much so the dog went wild when it was about time for him to get home. So his wife, who was home with the new baby, had taken to letting the dog out about half hour before he got home so the excitement of doggie anticipation didn’t wake the napping infant. (The production shift changed at 3pm). Usually when he got home the dog would run circles about the yard in joy and greet him once he was out of the truck, having mastered the rules of stay back from the auto gate and running truck. Only that previous afternoon was different. As he drove down the road to his house the dog didn’t greet him at the fence and run the length of it barking welcome to the truck. As he pulled into the driveway, no dog in view. He was worried. He loved that new dog. Then suddenly from around the back of the house there came the dog tearing toward the truck with all he’s got. “Oh he was off doing doggie stuff at the woods and missed hearing me. Now he’s making up for it!” the young man thought. Well, before he could get out of the stopped truck, the dog jumped into his lap through the open door. “Aww it’s okay boy! You don’t have to run the fence welcoming me!” Then it hit him. The dog had just been sprayed by a skunk. Now it was all over him and the dog was rubbing his burning eyes on the truck passenger seat!
That was when he began the mantra of “I love my dog, I love my dog.” His eyes started watering from the smell! He got out and got sick as the stench was too great. Seems that the dog wasn’t the only one getting the tomato juice bath that night. The coat was washed and dried so many times and the truck sat with door wide open and fans blowing on the wet upholstery from a good vinegar and baking soda scrub. The dog was at the vet being shaved and treated for its eyes were chemically burned from the spray. This poor guy rode to work in snowy weather with his windows down sitting on garbage bags placed over the wet drivers seat. He’d parked his truck in the far lot and left it open to air out more. Now the offending coat hung on the open driver door and the clothes aired out in the bed of the vehicle. All told the infamous “skunk dog welcome” as it came to be known in the office cost the guy a bundle in vet bills, truck cleaning bills, and new winter coat. Yes at times his new mantra of “I love my dog, I LOVE MY DOG” became audible as he dealt with the incident.
Now whenever I hear a skunk story I remember the skunk dog welcome and how it took some time for our enclosed office to shed the smell. Until next time peeps.