Wednesday, May 07, 2008
More About Skunks
My youngest "child" turned a year old while Scott and I were across the country getting married. For those who have never heard or read the story of how I acquired a pet skunk, pay attention.
Skunks are born in the spring. The majority of pet skunks in the United States are born and bred at Ruby's Fur Farm in Iowa. The baby skunks are descented early and then travel to pet stores around the country.
The pet store I manage brought in 7 baby skunks last spring. There was one apricot, one chocolate and 5 black and white. In Florida, a Class III Wildlife license is required to own a skunk (considered an "exotic") and the store requires proof of this license before the customer is allowed to purchase their skunk and take it home.
Two of the skunks went home very quickly, as their new parent had anticipated their arrival and gotten the license process started ahead of time. The next skunk went soon after and that left four girls. Three black and white and the chocolate.
As soon as the skunks arrived all the store staff spent a lot of time with the babies, trying to get them used to being handled and socialized. Once there were only four left, we spent additional time with them and soon three of the remaining four found loving homes.
The final baby was the smallest of all. Jen named her "Squirt". I wanted to ensure that whoever adopted her would have a loving pet so I started carrying her around with me every afternoon while I did my various duties. I let her sleep in my lap when using the computer, and had her in a small bed on the counter when running the register.
After a few weeks of this Jen (my boss) told me that she thought a friend of hers was going to get the skunk. I was happy for the skunk but a little sad because we'd started to bond a bit.
For my birthday Jen and her husband Mike wanted to take Scott and I to dinner. We planned for them to pick us up after Jen closed the store (since I had the day off) and they arrived with a beautiful carrot cake and a big gift bag.
I opened the bag and inside was a cardboard box. I opened the box and there she was! I was shocked and thrilled and terrified all at the same time - I knew Scott was going to FREAK OUT.
When I opened the box Scott had his back to me cutting the cake. He turned around and saw me holding the skunk, then turned right back to the counter and said "How nice of you!" He didn't know what else to say!
At first Scott was sure that Jen and I had planned this, but I assured him I had nothing to do with it and hadn't even considered getting a skunk, so I understood if he said "no." But I also encouraged him to come to the store and visit her (she had to live at the store until I could get my Class III License) and get to know her a little bit.
A couple of days after my birthday Scott came by on his way home from work and agreed to hold her. She snuggled over his shoulder into his neck and he was instantly in love. We did a trial run with the dog and cats and then as soon as the license arrived we moved her into a cage in the corner of the living room and changed her name to Stinkerbell (aka The Stink, Stinkbug, StinkerPie and Skunky).
Now she is very much a part of the family. We have had to baby proof the house to some extent, when we go to bed we put up gates across the kitchen doorway and the doorway to the bedrooms and put the dog's food bowl up on a chair.
The evening is not complete until The Stink has waddled over to the couch, put her paws up and we bring her up for a snuggle. As I am typing this she is laying on my stomach with her head tucked into my elbow.