Leo shook him to stop the noise, but it only increased. By the time she reached the door, she had shaken him unconscious. We hurried into the night with me whispering, "Good doggie girl! Goooood Leo." She blinked her acceptance of my praise.
We walked together off the porch and into the snow-covered woods behind the house. It might have been pleasant if I had worn shoes and had we not been carrying a skunk. But the path through the leafless winter trees was glorious.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of midday to objects below;
I and my shorthair, a skunk in her mouth
Turned down the trail and headed due south.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a striped tail raised high and a skunk's puckered rear?
Yes, as you might have imagined, the skunk woke up in Leo's mouth. He found himself in the familiar surroundings of his woods and in grave danger. Like all of his long ancestry, he knew exactly what to do.
There was a sound. Yes, a little flatulent sound right before the full spray of the skunk's mighty defensive armada struck me squarely in the face. There was not so much an increase in the smell as a moist announcement that I had been marked as a fool. Why, every animal in the forest knows to stay away from skunks. And, every animal that ignores this primeval warning smelled like I did that lovely Christmas Eve in the moonlight, in the snow.
"Drop!" I croaked the command that signaled the pointer to release the game. The skunk belly-flopped into the snow and fired another volley straight up the sensitive nose of the finest German Shorthairs that ever walked the earth. Leo, whose nose was five zillion times more sensitive than mine, began snorting and sneezing wildly and rubbing her face in the snow. I had to laugh.