We’ve been skunked. More specifically, Jack, our young Jack Russell terrier has been skunked. Peter and Jack set out for their nightly bedtime walk and Jack was mooching around the edge of a copse when a little skunk darted out and grabbed him. That’s Jack's story and he's sticking to it. Peter tried to disentangle them but ended up having to kick the skunk to shake his hold on Jack’s face. Jack and Peter returned home, reeking and cursing. I grabbed the puppy and got into the shower with him while my husband stripped off in the mud room. I ascertained that Jack, smelly and shaken though he was, was not injured. After much scrubbing he emerged from the bath slightly perfumed and outraged and, it must be said, still smelling of skunk. My husband’s clothing, including wellington boots and coat were thrown into the washing machine in the cellar. We figured that they hadn’t had a direct hit since the spraying end of the skunk was pointed away from them. After a vigorous wash they were put in the dryer and in less than 10 minutes, there arose through the house a truly terrible skunkified skunkness. Many washes later, we thought we’d cracked it. What we didn’t take into account is that hours spent with the smell of skunk permeating the atmosphere rather dulls one’s sensitivity to it. Next morning, in pristine work clothes, Peter cleared the top floor of the ferry within minutes of boarding. At the boatyard where he works, his coat was deemed too offensive to be allowed in the boat shed and hung in a tree all day to the disgruntlement of the yard dog. Weeks later, Jack still has a certain whiff of the wild about him. I’m told that bathing him in ketchup would do the trick but it seems even more undignified than perfume and frankly, he’s such a proud and feisty little chap that pouring tomato sauce on him just doesn’t seem right. Peter’s work jacket has been retired.