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29 September 2010 | Category: Stories | Author: Clare

Ever worried about bears, my parents and I were out walking on a damp early evening when the dogs tore off into the trees. Instantly suspicious about the prospect of something big and hairy appearing through the undergrowth with gnashing teeth and frantic claws, we all took a step back.


But no sooner had the shadow of a bear crossed my mind, than the dogs re-appeared at twice the speed, tail between their legs, looking more than mildly distraught. River was beside herself.


My eyes were fixated on the bush, about 3 feet higher than they should have been, when Dad pointed at the ground in excitement, and shouted “there it is!!”.


I hadn't expected the fluffy tail or girly demeanour.


The skunk looked almost like a caricature. A plump little creature, with frilly knickers, glowering over her shoulder at the insolent dogs, tail lifted in defiance.


I was busy puzzling over the new addition to Donald, when it occurred to me we were all within striking range of this innocuous looking land mine.


Thankfully before any lasting damage could be done, we took off at a trot away from the danger zone, whopping and hollering to attract the dogs.


It is so odd that an otherwise harmless creature can evoke such a panic.


Their inbuilt response to danger does not seem like a very dignified way to defend yourself, and I was still grinning about the whole encounter when we made it back to the cabin.

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