West Tisbury: Skunk-off shampoo

— Kyra Steck

It finally rained on Sunday. It was pleasant to enjoy the previous days of sunshine and not much humidity, but we needed the rain, and I was happy to listen to it patter outside and feel the gentle moistness on my face. MIke took Abby for a walk in it and said it was just misty and pleasant. Abby always comes back wet, anyway. She loves to swim.

She had a bit of an adventure recently; she got skunked for the first time. Mike had come in from a middle-of-the-night fire alarm call, fortunately a false alarm. He took her out at 3 am, hoping we could sleep a little later in the morning. She did sleep in until almost 7:30.

I came downstairs in the morning and found dog shampoo and Skunk-Off on the bathroom counter with wet towels, Abby’s leash, and a flashlight. There was still a recognizable eau de skunk. While the evidence was obvious, I was curious about the details. Apparently, Mike was tired and not as vigilant as usual. Abby pulled off toward some shrubbery, nose down through the grass. Then she jumped, turned around, and ran back to him immediately. The walk was over. It was time for a shower.

Fortunately, she hadn’t been hit badly. The culprit was a baby skunk that Mike and Abby had seen several times over the past week. Mike had even commented about what an amiable relationship the two seemed to have, almost nose to nose with no concern from either participant. Oh well, these things happen in the life of a country dog.

Best of all, I had slept through the whole thing.

FYI, Mike’s foolproof skunk-off shampoo: Wash the dog with dish soap (it cuts the oil), rinse well, then pour white vinegar over her. It’s critical to do it right away before the smell sets in. Don’t leave it until morning.

I recently learned that a lovely golden retriever of our acquaintance had died. Her name was Bonnie, owned by Al and Joan Eville, and companion of their younger golden, Chloe. Both Bonnie and Chloe had been regular visitors to the M.V. Center For Living, where they were greeted and petted, the center of attention, well loved by everyone there. Bonnie will be missed by all who knew her.

It is a wonderful time for looking at art. Max Decker, one of my favorite painters, is having a show at the Field Gallery that opened on July 25. Exhibiting with him are painter Benjamin M. Johnson and photographer Michael Stimola. The Granary is showing new paintings by Jeanne Staples, David Wallis, Cindy Kane, and jewelry by Ross Coppelman from August 1 to 12. Allen Whiting’s new paintings look wonderful on his website; they will be better in person. Obviously, it’s time for me to get out to the galleries. You, too. It’s interesting to follow the development of a favorite artist’s work from year to year, and interesting to see unfamiliar work by an artist you don’t know.

I am old enough to realize that death and loss are part of life. Sadly, that means recognizing too many names in the obituary column of the newspaper. Betty Cottle, Jeff Dando, Bob Jahries, Martha Rich, and Jane Newman have been familiar names of late, all well-known members of our Island community, all to be missed by lifetimes of family and friends. My condolences to all.

If you have any West Tisbury Town Column suggestions, email Hermine Hull, hermine.hull@gmail.com.