Skunks: The New Popular Pet in the UKPublished September 28, 2011
According to a recent article posted on npr.org, it seems there are quite a few folks in the UK who think skunks make great pets. Breeders claim about 2,000 of these exotic animals are now sharing homes with human companions and it is rumored they can be trained not to spray. Katie Sleightholme told the Daily Mail she is training Gus, her pet skunk, to walk on a leash.
As I read about the fascinating new popular pet in Britain, memories of my “close encounter” with a skunk came to mind. I just had to share it with our readers.
Many years ago, when we were living in Westchester County (about 20 miles north of New York City), I had a riding instructor who was also a close friend. She was owned by Norton, a German shepherd mix. No matter where my friend went, Norton tagged along with her. He was even the guest of honor at her wedding.
She and her husband often came to dinner at our house, naturally with Norton in tow. Since our cats wanted nothing to do with our canine guest and, in fact, resented his intrusion, we thought it prudent to confine our kitties in the bedroom for the few short hours of their visit. You see, Norton made no bones about his opinion about felines: he thought all cats were placed on this earth for him to chase.
Since Norton lived with his humans at their horse boarding-training-lesson barn where my horse was kept, Norton was an indoor-outdoor dog who freely roamed their property. He got along famously with the horses, goats and the assortment of other four legged critters residents. Fortunately the cats had learned to “disappear” the minute they spied Norton approaching.
Any critter that in Norton’s opinion resembled a feline was fair game for a game of tag. What was most unfortunate was his penchant to chase the “black and white kitties” that resided in the area. No matter how many times he was doused with the heady odor of skunk perfume, Norton never learned to avoid them.
Whenever Norton and his “parents” came to call, they would let him out every few hours to take care of “business." I will never forget the evening that, much to his delight, Norton spotted one of the “black and white kitties” brazenly sitting on our deck, glaring at him. Interpreting the skunk’s eye contact as in invitation to play, Norton obliged immediately. But when Norton decided that playtime was over and came inside, the horrendous scent of skunk instantly overtook the entire house and surroundings, abruptly ending our visit. Since they had a rather long drive home, my heart went out to them.
So I wonder about all those folks in Britain whose adorable skunk might not have an interest in taking the course in not spraying. But if anyone reading this is interested in being owned by a skunk, there is a lot of detailed information available.
What are your thoughts about having a skunk as a companion? Do share them in a comment.