You don’t want to find yourself on the wrong end of a skunk.
But when one skunk’s head was trapped in a dumpster, it seemed, for one group of firefighters, that to save its life would also invite the inevitable spray.
However, these determined firefighters were not about to submit to their smelly fate without a fight. And their chosen method of defense proved not only effective, but also adorable.
A skunk needed saving—and the Cimarron Hills Fire Department was ready for the job.
On August 24, 2016, Cimarron Hills Fire Department in Colorado Springs received what some might consider one of the worst calls for help in history: a skunk was trapped in a dumpster and needed to be removed.
Such a call for rescue would, in most cases, lead to an inevitable spray by the skunk’s infamous scent glands.
But these firefighters had an ace up their sleeve.
Though it was a dirty job, they had a plan.
When they arrived on the scene, they saw the skunk’s black and white body immediately. Its head was trapped inside the dumpster’s drainage hole, while the “dangerous” end jutted out to menace them.
The only way they could get it out was to cut it free with power tools.
The noise and commotion would have most likely triggered a stinky response from the skunk, but that was when they pulled out their secret weapon: a children’s book.
They pulled out the book and their power tools and got to work.
Their plan: one firefighter was to get into the dumpster and soothe the animal with a children’s story, while the others worked to dislodge the skunk’s head.
Their book of choice was “The Cat in the Hat,” by Dr. Seuss.
But given the unique circumstance, and the firefighter’s surprising acumen for creating rhyme, they partly translated the story into a more topical version they called, “The Skunk in the Dump.”
For 45 minutes, they worked—and as they did, the skunk was soothed by the rhymes of Dr. Seuss.
In the space of 45 minutes, the reading and talking to the skunk actually did the trick: the skunk was calm as the kind firefighters worked to cut the animal out of the dumpster.
In the end, the skunk showed its gratitude the only way it knew how.
They nicknamed the skunk Oliver, and when it was freed, he began to waddle back into the wilderness.
It all seemed like a perfect end to an adorable story; not only had they saved the skunk, but their technique, surprisingly, worked.
But skunks will be skunks. Before the now-free Oliver disappeared into the wilderness, he gave them a parting gift by spraying the entire group.
Talk about gratitude.