Exotic pets need to be wrapped during Christmas
After all our holidays with pet skunks, I’m tempted to tuck my exotic pets into stockings on the hearth to keep them out of mischief.
The most precious Christmas gift for me would be a dearheart little pet skunk with a red bow, snuggled into a soft Christmas stocking, tucked beneath the tree.
May she be asleep, please.
Nothing is sweet as a descented skunk, smelling like a powder puff, curled into a Christmas stocking. In a perfect world from now on, all my sweet domestic skunks would be carefully hung from the hearth with their square haunches filling stockings. I would take pictures of worried, wrinkled faces. What desaced, that’s what my skunks do when they don’t like what’s happening to them.
Yes, indeed, after the last Christmases with pet skunks in the house, I’m tempted to leave all of them hanging out of temptation until the holiday passes. That would keep them from mischief, though I have proven quite naive.
Two seasons hence, I realized skunks really dig Christmas presents. They maul them. Hands onto paper like a furious digging-for-crickets spree. When it happened to me, I really was clueless. Now you have a clue.
Jumping the gifts was Jeronimo’s idea. The years before, when Sequoia was an only skunk, he didn’t dig the gifts. Sequoia is a shy, unassuming little skunk. Well, maybe not so much.
I was blissfully unaware of their new motivation as I wrapped gifts in the living room, boxes piled prettily under the tree, those ready for ribbons and cards around me.
Sequoia and Jeronimo woke up at their first witching hour of eight o’clock. Skipped in to check out the forest scene. The Christmas tree stood in a wire-covered old washtub to deter short-legged creatures from midnight swims.
Sequoia and Jeronimo are acutely excited about the tree in the big house. Their waking moments are spent nosing around the long-needle evergreen. On the night of the gifts, their night prowl was rewarded with wrapping paper, tissue, ribbons, bows, boxes everywhere.
But, no, they didn’t throw themselves into the paper or loose ribbons like a cat. No.
Sequoia and Jeronimo pounced the wrapped presents. For once, sharing. Gleeful comrades. They dug those presents – literally dug with determination and long skunk claws, enhanced by brotherly snarling and squealing.
While I was shoving wrapped presents on the hearth where the skunks should have been, the brothers dove onto the next gifts. Fortunately, they started butt-shoving each other out of the way. Fortunately, Jeronimo’s best defense is sitting on Sequoia’s head, making his furious older brother squeal like a steaming teapot. They could try this in football, no?
I should have known better
Each night since the tree moved into the big house, I heard Sequoia squealing his fury when his baby brother was butt-shoving and sitting on him. Every morning I found that the skunks, seemingly assisted by cats, managed to remove a dried flower, pinecone, or the end of a low bough. Once they had their prize, they would dig it to dust in the rug.
Did I think cats?
Two nights before Christmas when relatives were expected, I hung a few tiny popcorn balls by leather strips from higher branches. Next morn, plastic wrap was on the floor. Not one popcorn ball on the tree. Perhaps a skunk was the culprit, no? But they had to have assistance to get that off a high branch.
The popcorn balls were so desirable Jeronimo roused several times next day to skip to the tree. He would toddle around and around. Nothing found, he would skip back to his den behind my bedroom dresser.
That evening he skipped into the living room at witching hour, Sequoia dancing along and trying to push Jeronimo out of the way. No avail. They nosed around the tree, more intent than ever. But I am not that stupid. No popcorn balls were hung.
Exasperated and scowling, Jeronimo, who is an extremely long skunk, stood on his short hind legs beneath the tree. He balanced with his tail. Wrapped his front legs and hands around a branch, shaking the tree furiously. Square little Sequoia sat square on his haunches, expectant.
Shaking the tree must have been how they felled the popcorn balls. That night they got nothing. So they shoved off to the dog food bowl.
I search for my skunks. Who else?
Throughout the house I found five more piles that looked like one of the skunks had regurgitated vital organs. I yelled for someone, phone to tell the vet we have an emergency.
Then I found chewed plastic wrap. Realized the pooh-butts discovered candy canes. My daughter left her bookbag on the floor and the culprits dug through canvas.
Much better for them
Treats on Christmas morning are sugarless. Peanuts, cashews, hulled sunflower seeds in festive paper. The only chance they have to dig gifts now are their own.
The tree is now a compromise. A ‘nature tree’ decorated with pinecones, dried flowers, feathers. Bird decorations, skunk slippers, plush skunk toys running through the branches.
Yes, a Christmas tree of compromise made to be mauled and gleefully shaken. Everything is wire-tied on, non-edible, and skunk-proof.
My favorite winter evening is when we are all cuddled under blankets on the sofa, tiny white Christmas lights glowing throughout the room, daughters telling stories of their day. Sequoia snuggles against my shoulder, hibernating where he likes best. Jeronimo is reclined on his back in the crook of someone’s arm, stubby legs poking up as he intently studies the tree with his sly grin.
The Christmas tree is safe momentarily. Gifts are stacked on the hearth, entertainment center, lamp tables, hutch, blanket chest, dining table…. ah, yes, just where they belong when skunks are in the house.
‘Striped Christmas’ original short story title in skunk memoir book.
Skunk excerpts at ESSA Books in novel A Breath Floats By …..enjoy!
SKUNK TIP FOR THE DAY? Read the story LOL because there are stacks!
Source: Essa Books
Posted: Just One More Pet
Ya know…There is a lot of animal abuse going on these days. And it just makes me sick, every time I hear about those poor, defenseless animals, being abused.
What makes people do things like that? They must be out of their minds, to hurt all these furry little creatures, that are so sweet & loveable. What did these animals ever do, to deserve such treatment? Let’s put a stop to this, now!! ! If you see or hear, of any abuse on these animals, please notify the authorities, immediately.
I have 5 dogs & 3 Cats, and some baby kittens. My dogs are…3 Chihuahua’s & 2 Beagles. My one Chihuahua, Molly, I rescued from an animal abuser, back in 2001.
She wouldn’t come near anyone for at least 2 month’s, she was that scared. After 2 month’s, she started coming to me, only. It took her, a whole year & a half, before she would go to anyone else, besides me. She was so scrawny looking, when I first got her, in 2001. She was a year old then. And now she’s so beautiful and loveable. There are still times, when she won’t go near someone, but she’ll always be that way, because animal’s are a lot like children. And, they all, never forget, how they’ve been treated. But, animal’s can sense, when not to go to someone, where children can’t sense that, but they as well, never forget what happened to them, which also makes them afraid of other people. And it’s really disgusting, that someone has to be abusive, like that! Let’s put a stop to it now!!! Help fight, all this abuse!!!
Carol – AARP Dog Group
Carol is certainly right… and in order to change things we must all stand up and be heard, be their voices (or more sometimes) as the ASPCA says. Ask Marion/JOMP
Posted: Just One More Pet