Night Visitor

SUBTITLE: Panda the Protector or Socket Revenge

The night started as a cool summer night, in our subdivision just outside of Douglas, Wyoming. Our house had quieted down when our kids went to sleep. My husband was working his third night shift at a mine seventy-five miles away. And I had just settled down with a good book.

Suddenly our dog, Panda, started barking. It was not an ordinary, “Hey, I think there might be something out there,” bark. It was more like a “You better get out here this very minute and I mean now” bark.

Since my husband, usually the dog bark checker was not around; I walked out through the kitchen to the garage and peeked out the door. I am not a very brave person. When our dog barks, I check all windows and doors, to make sure they are locked. I also make sure our phone is working, just in case I need to call 911. I had become a little braver since my husband started working night shifts. But it still took all my courage to walk out to our kitchen to the garage and peek out the door. The garage was connected to our house via the kitchen. It looked like the garage was clear, so I tip toed quietly through the garage and peeked out the back door of the garage, to the backyard beyond.

Luckily, my husband was prepared for such times as this. He left a flashlight on a shelf nearby. I grabbed the flashlight and shined it outside, peering through a small crack in the door with one eye.

Panda was still barking incessantly. By that time the bark was, “Get your butt out here this instant, or I am going to tear this place apart.”

Panda was a black lab – samoy mix. She had the bushy samoy hair and the black lab color. So she was hard to see in the dark. She did have one big white spot on her chest. I did finally locate her, underneath the swing. Whatever she had cornered was hiding under the slide. Panda was our protector. I have never seen a braver dog. We got panda as a pup from Montana. My husband’s sister in law had two purebred Samoy’s that had taken to running with a rogue black lab. Well, needless to say, pups happened. And we were lucky enough to get Panda. Panda was one of the best dogs we ever owned. And she did look like a big fluffy panda bear. She became my husband’s best friend and protector over the years and naturally became mine and the kids’ protector also. So it didn’t surprise me that Panda had found an intruder on her nightly rounds of our one-acre back yard.

I thought it could be our neighbor’s crazy black cat that taunted Panda about every day by peeing on our trees through the fence. I didn’t blame Panda one bit for barking. Or it could be another raccoon trying to pass through our backyard for his nightly feast of our trashcans. I did see two eyes peering out from under the slide. So being the master that I was for the night, I gave Panda permission to attack.

“Get it Panda!” I yelled as I peeked through the door gap with one eye…

And the attack was on. She dove under that slide growling and barking and started pulling the intruder out.

We both realized our mistake at about the same moment. She let go of the intruder and I smelled the intruder! The worst eye watering, plug your nose, gag a thousand times smell wafted toward me… the one… the only…odious skunk smell.

Panda by this time was running around the yard, rubbing her head on anything, she could, to try and get rid of that horrible smell and I was gagging trying, with all my might, not to throw up. In the meantime, our intruder, who knew he had mastered the situation, was slowly waddling towards our house, headed for the back door, where I was at.

I knew Panda was not able to attack at the moment, since I could hear her sneezing and snuffling out there in the dark. So I did the only thing I could think of to stop that bumbling smelly intruder. I started throwing things at it. Since I had no rocks, I spied the next best thing. I grabbed one of my hubby’s half-inch sockets and whizzed it through the air. It hit the slide with a bang. The skunk stopped, Panda jumped and I grabbed another socket and whipped it out the door. It hit the ground with a thud. By this time, the skunk had a change of mind and had high tailed it back under the slide. Whiz, whiz, whiz… I kept throwing sockets and they hit the slide, the swing and anywhere in between. I think I may have managed to hit the skunk, but I am not sure. I finally exhausted my supply of sockets so I threw the case out there for good measure.

Panda by that time had regained her stamina. She managed to get a hold on that wily skunk. And was shaking it with what little strength she could muster between the snuffling. I seriously thought about throwing some of my husband’s hammers out there, but I figured they might hit Panda instead. So I cheered Panda. She let go of the skunk for a moment to look at me and wag her tail. That gave the wily, smelly intruder a chance to sneak out the fence hole it came through. The last I saw of our smelly night visitor, it was waddling its way to the neighbor’s house, tail in the air.

Whew, what an ordeal that was. Of course, Panda ran up to the door, to get her “Good job, you did it!” pet. With one hand, I plugged my nose. And with the other, I patted her lightly on the back and told her what a good job she did.

All was well for one more night. I walked back into the house, checked on our two little children’ who by the way had slept soundly through the whole thing. I scrubbed my hands as best I could, and sat down to read my book. I eventually fell asleep. The next morning, my husband was greeted with the wonderful aroma of the late night skunk escapade, as he came home from work.

“Phew, it seems like we had a visitor last night.” he said wrinkling his nose.

“Yep,” I said, “Panda and I took care of it.”

“Mommy, Mommy!” our son yelled as he raced into the house from the backyard, where he and his sister were playing.

“Look what I found,” he gushed happily.” And there’s a lot more out there too!”

My husband looked at the socket in our son’s hand and then looked at me.

I sighed.

“Let’s go out back.” I said. “I’ll tell you the whole story.”

And the story still lives on as one of the best tales my husband tells about a wife, a dog, a skunk and his brand new shiny socket set.


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