When four dogs set up a howl, I guarantee it will get your attention. The big question, however, is why are your beloved beasties articulating their frustration in the wee hours? The most likely explanation is the tumbling leaf, but there could be a more horrifying cause.
You see, most of the trees stand naked against the wind late in the Fall. They have dropped their leaves and are lying dormant, waiting for the onset of winter. There are other things waiting for winter.
The first indication of chaos unrequited is the mellifluous odor of skunk. These striped lovers of long-rotted apples make their way to the yards of the unsuspecting, delighting the 4-legged guardians of the peace.
The first hint of howling horror is the drifting stench of the not-so-elusive polecat. To those suburban bandits, life is good among the neighborhood’s people. The dogs, however, are an exception. Their scattered barks and snarls mean months of washing, cleaning, scrubbing, and gagging. Lots of gagging.
Many remedies to the smell permeate the air, inside and out, through the skunked doggo. Few actually work, although some are better than others. The oldest wive’s tale is ‘bathe them in tomato juice.’ It is nonsense. The best it can do for you is add some spice to your pizza; the dogs love to lick it off.
The most effective is Dawn dish soap (for reasons unknown, Dawn is the most effective) mixed with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. The dogs aren’t anxious to lick it off, and it doesn’t leave the drippings of stale pizza throughout your home.
No matter what you use, the hell of being skunked is unforgettable. So, the moral of this story is if your dogs are howling in the wee hours, look, but don’t let them out. Wood pussies are everywhere.
The author has had the great pleasure of suffering multiple skunkings. He would wish it on his worst enemy. Be aware of those nighttime howlings.
Professor Mike is a writer and editor at Medium and other platforms. He has never met Santa Claus. That makes him sad.