Raising Aimee – A Baby Skunk

With a Group Effort

by Michele Carnevale

A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to experience my Greyhound and four cats successfully working together in a group effort to accomplish the almost impossible — raising Aimee. Aimee is a skunk. She is petite with a bushy tail. She has the innocent eyes of a Greyhound and is as playful as a cat.

My oldest cat Andi brought home a present — a baby skunk.

Matisse Jai’, my six-year-old Greyhound, decided Aimee needed to be rescued from this silly cat. Matisse managed to rescue the baby skunk, escape up the stairs with it, and gently place her in the crate, which just happened to be in my bedroom. “This can’t be happening to me,” I thought as I ran up the stairs waiting for that awful smell to appear. There in front of my very own eyes, lay Matisse with her rescue, cuddling and cleaning Aimee as if she was her own little Greyhound pup. My youngest cat Alianna had to get in on the rescue action too and soon joined MJ in the crate to check out the new kid. MJ looked up at me with those big brown Greyhound eyes as if to say “Please, can I keep her?”

How do you reason with a Greyhound that just made the rescue of the century? Offer her the keys to the Jeep? Promise her a trip to the mall with unlimited shopping? I finally persuaded MJ to leave her crate. I cleared MJ and the cats out of the house, still waiting for that awful smell to appear. I made a few phone calls hoping someone could advise me of the best way to remove a skunk from a Greyhound crate. Everyone’s advice was the same. Run for your life and hold your nose. I managed to gently wrap the baby skunk in a towel and let her go in my backyard, hoping she would return to the wild.

The Miracle Began

When Matisse and Alianna sensed Aimee was too young and frightened to return to nature, the miracle began. MJ and Alianna cleaned, cuddled, and hugged Aimee every day until she grew stronger. Andi and Buzzz kept her company while she ate her favorite dinner, which consisted of peanut butter and rye. Before long, Matisse, Buzzz, Abby, Alianna, Andi, and Aimee were running laps around the track that Matisse had created in the yard. Lots of love in this family!

Aimee is all grown up now. She is independent and made her return to nature. Aimee presently lives under my shed in the back yard. She has an ID and rabies tag that she proudly displays on her cat-safe reflector collar. She visits us every night when I am fixing dinner and patiently waits for her peanut butter on rye. Matisse and the cats spend quality time with Aimee while she eats her dinner. All tails are wagging. Aimee also likes to watch the kitchen TV through the sliding glass door.

Aimee Presents a Gift.

This spring while Matisse was cooling off in her baby pool and the cats were lounging in the shade, Aimee came out from under the shed. She had difficulty walking. Aimee stopped at MJ’s pool for a quick drink. Matisse just looked at her like she was just one of the cats. Alianna greeted her with a sniff and went on her way. Aimee did not look well and was trying to tell us something. I was worried. She wobbled around the yard and retreated back under the shed. A few hours later, it happened. Aimee gave birth to four baby skunks! Although we did not have the pleasure of raising the babies, Aimee let Matisse and Alianna get an occasional peek at them.

Another year has passed . . .

. . . and the babies have grown and moved out on their own. Matisse and Aimee spend lots of time together these days. Aimee especially likes to trail along when Matisse, Alianna and I go for a walk to the park. Yep, Aimee is here to stay, thanks to the brave rescue of Matisse Jai’.

I know what you are thinking. Was Aimee ever descented? No. Matisse and the cats raised Aimee to be a little lady. Aimee would never spray in our yard. Early in the morning when Aimee returns from her midnight adventure, I can smell the faint odor of a skunk off in the distance. I often wonder myself if that was the work of Aimee.

Now if only Matisse and Alianna would teach Aimee to bring her toys home after she is finished playing. Last week my kind neighbor had to return Aimee’s favorite toy — a purple dinosaur with a magenta bandana. She found it under her tree. SKUNKS! Who can figure?

CG SU 99

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