Polecats, or skunks, along with a variety of other wildlife are common occurrences in our yard. We live in the country with fields, woods, and the river surrounding us. Polecats have caused a number of chases for our dogs over the years, many times resulting in the dogs being very sick and having to wear strong perfume for several days. More than once I had our little house dog in the bathtub in the middle of the night bathing her in tomato juice, both of us gagging, because she had run into a "striped kitty" unseen by me, and sometimes by her, on one of her nightly potty trips outside.
Kibbles was a party-colored Pekingese, meaning she was red and white spotted. She was very small, even for a toy breed. Her hair was long and silky and dragged the ground when it hadn't been trimmed, and she carried her tail like a big white plume curled up over her back. Enormous eyes like two big dark brown marbles dominated her face, and her nose was so short that she barely had a protrusion in profile.
People who didn't even like dogs couldn't resist Kibbles. Her sparkly and energetic personality was bigger than life and she loved everybody. We spoiled her big time because she was the closest thing we had to a baby. She was also fearless, and as tiny as she was, thought she could whip a bear if the occasion arose.
On this particular fall night, about midnight, I asked her if she needed to go potty before we went to bed, and she went to the kitchen door to be let out. I flipped on the porch light, but being tired and sleepy, I forgot to check the yard before I opened the door.
As soon as the door was opened a crack, Kibbles was through it in a flash of fur, skipping the doorstep and landing flat on her belly. Her legs were too short to make the jump. It didn't slow her down. She bounced up like a rubber ball at the same time I saw the object of her frenzied attention.
In her excitement she forgot the sickening spray that the harmless looking kitty produces from that raised tail, and in my panic, so did I. There we were, the three of us, running across the yard in the middle of the night, two of us in panic, and one in chase heaven. The kitty was running from her! Not many things did.
The polecat, who was about the same size as Kibbles, had the lead, running with it's black and white striped tail straight up in the defense position. Kibbles was not far behind, her little legs a blur of speed and her tail straight out behind her like a white flag in the semidarkness. She was barking those sharp little yelps that small dogs make when they are so excited that they can't contain themselves.
At the top of her lungs, "Yap! Yap! Yap!"
I was bringing up the rear, running as fast as I could, which was not easy, since I'm not exactly light on my feet anymore. My nightgown was plastered against the front of me and flowing out behind me as I desperately tried to stop Kibbles. It had dawned on me that the polecat was going to spray us any second.
She was within arm's length of me, just out of reach, and the polecat was doing a running waddle just ahead of her. I was screaming at the top of my lungs, "No, Kibbles, no! Come back!"
She totally ignored me and kept up the chase. Had anyone seen us, we would have been a sight, tearing out through the night like screaming banshees. It's a wonder we didn't put the whole neighborhood in a state of alarm.
After leading us on a merry chase, the polecat ran into a tile at the end of the driveway. The light from the porch was fading into pitch darkness, and I sure didn't fancy giving chase outside that circle of light.
Making a desperate lunge, I caught Kibbles by the tail with one hand, managing to get my other hand under her belly just before she disappeared into the end of the tile in pursuit.
I scooped her up into my arms, both of us still quivering, but for different reasons, and made my way back to the house. I was out of breath and totally amazed that we both weren't wearing a new fragrance.
Safe inside the house, Kibbles was still bouncing in my arms wanting to play some more, her eyes dancing, looking for the kitty.
I was suddenly overcome with laughter as I hugged Kibbles and tried to get her to stop yapping. The whole thing was funny in retrospect.
The chase had ended well. The "striped kitty" had escaped, and by some miracle, so had we!
PS-Kibbles was with us for sixteen years before going to pet heaven in 1997. This is one of our many adventures together.