Cameron Goeldner

For the first time since I got Goose two years ago, I got to experience the joys of him fighting with a wild animal.

A couple Sundays ago, I let him out into the backyard one last time before bedtime. After I went and finished getting ready, I realized he hadn’t come in yet. I could hear some strange noises outside, and figured he was digging in my garden.

I went outside and saw him face to face with what turned out to be a skunk. At first, I thought it might be cat, until I saw the white stripe. I ran inside looking for something to separate them with and ended up with a shovel, recruiting my sister to help me in the meantime.

As a kid, I remember our dog Bella fighting with raccoons (and winning) on a couple of occasions, but I wasn’t responsible for trying to break those up.

It proved nearly impossible to get Goose away from the skunk, but we were finally able to get a hand on him and get the leash on and into the house. Not only did he get sprayed, but the two got a good fight in first. I’m not sure how the skunk made out, but it was well enough to get out of our backyard in the aftermath at least.

For his part, Goose got sprayed directly in the face and scratched on the nose, but seemed to avoid any further injury. By the time we had him inside and were able to get him into the bath, it was roughly an hour after I’d initially let him out.

We had to quickly Googled a recipe for getting the smell out, and found one which we didn’t have all the ingredients for, but were able to give him a bath in dish soap to at least get some of the smell and the oils out as well as rinse his face off and get some of the irritation taken care of for him.

When he first came in, he was drooling uncontrollably and his eyes were red. He kept trying to wipe his face on the ground in an attempt to get the irritation dealt with, which only aggravated his scratch mark. After we got him cleaned up a little bit, we loaded him into the car and took him to the emergency vet to get checked out.

Up until this point, we were both pretty spooked, not having really witnessed something like that before and we weren’t sure the extent of his injuries.

I felt better as soon as we walked into the vet’s office. Obviously, they operate like an emergency room and the most critical cases go first, so it was relief to have to sit and wait, which gave me some time to reset.

All of the worst case scenarios, such as rabies, were going through my head until we got in the door, but seeing that they didn’t seem terribly worried made me feel better.

We ended up having to wait just a little more than two hours to be seen as a couple of more serious injuries came through. Goose was definitely unsettled to be in the vet’s office and did a lot of pacing before he finally settled down.

In the end, when we finally saw the vet, they took him back and inspected him for any additional injuries but thankfully, couldn’t find any.

The veterinarian gave us a talk about symptoms of rabies and things we should look for in the next few days. As I sit here writing this, we’re eight days out from the brawl and he never showed any signs, which she did tell us was unlikely, but it was nice to know for sure. I was also thankful he’d just been to the vet four months ago and had gotten a new rabies shot.

In the end, they sent us on our way with some antibiotics for the cut to make sure he didn’t develop an infection or anything. Goose needed a day of recovery afterward to make up for being out at the vet until almost 4 a.m., but went right back to his old self.

I haven’t recovered nearly as quickly, and I get nervous anytime he goes outside at night, but we bought some solar lights to light up the yard some and I now go out and check the yard for signs of something before I let him out in the dark.

I’m glad to have this behind us and I sure hope I never end up writing another column about his tangles with the local wildlife.

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Cameron Goeldner grew up in Boulder, Colo., and attended the University of New Mexico. He covers everything sports for all Valencia County schools.