“Daddy! Frank and Yella Dog caught something black. Hurry. Get out here, quick!” my oldest excitedly instructed.

Next thing I know I hear David out there yelling, “Get back inside Carter and Daniel. Now! Frank, drop it! No Frank! Boys, get inside now! Frank, off!”

Then the smell permeated my sinuses and completely consumed the house. Frank and Yella Dog caught a skunk. Apparently Yella Dog got the full blast in his face while Frank grabbed the skunk in the middle, shook it, and broke his back.

As David walked towards the house, Frank followed, excited and leaping, desperate for attention. “Daniel, get inside. Don’t touch the dog. Shut the door! Frank, get down. Go away Frank. No, stay outside. You stink. Daniel, get away from the door. Carter, get your brother. Go outside, Frank,” my husband repeated himself over and over again until finally he got loud, “Carter. Daniel. Don’t touch the dog! He got sprayed by a skunk! The dog does not come in the house!”

It was quite the morning. And when I say everything stank, I mean everything stank. I drove the boys to school and the smell lingered in my car. I went to a friend’s house, and she smelled it on my clothes. When I pulled into my yard that afternoon, there was a definite odor still lingering from the edge of our driveway to the inside of the house. The clothes in my closet smelled like skunk. Even the towels and washcloths in the bathrooms reeked of skunk. Even now, three days later, I still get a faint whiff of it if I turn suddenly.

As usual, I feel there is a valuable lesson in being skunked: bad decisions, whether intentional or not, hang on and leave us with stinky consequences, often leaving the stench on all around. In the middle of our bad decisions, we may not recognize the consequences that are looming, but looking back we realize how much stink is hanging on as result of catching that skunk. I wish I could say the consequences will go away fast. I wish I could give an easy solution, like bathing in vinegar and baking soda as a cure. But even after washing our dogs several times, the only result was two dogs that smelled like pickled skunks.

When we mess up and catch a skunk, the best thing we can do is own our consequences-not point the blame-and wear the smell until it fades away through better decisions. And like I hope our dogs have learned, when the opportunity to chase a skunk happens again, maybe we’ve learned our lesson, because the smell doesn’t just affect the dogs, but everyone and everything around. Our choices affect others; especially our family and close friends. Let’s think hard before we go out chasing any old thing that crosses our path, because you never know-if you aren’t careful, you might just get skunked!

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