Somehow they convinced me that I needed to come out and see what Gunner had brought home to share. I followed them out and Gunner came bounding up and just about knocked me over with the reeking stench that was emanating from him. Then I looked to where the boys were pointing and beheld the bloated, muddy, matted carcass of what appeared to be a cat. It had been dead just long enough to bloat and rot to the peak of stink. From my long experience in dealing with dead wildlife, there is a zenith of disgusting, eye-watering smell. That is how we know we have caught a critter in the attic trap. Just a side note here-- I never really aspired to be an expert in animal decomposition--perhaps I can parlay that into a post-child rearing career. Pest control? Forensics? Road-kill Gourmet? Oh the possibilities!
Back to the dead cat in our yard. We have about nine acres of open space around the bluff where our house sits, and it appears that the hapless cat met its demise out there somewhere in the badlands of California. Usually cats are done in by coyotes and they do a nice job of devouring any guts and goo so you don't get the smell. Awww the circle of life. This one must have died of something less violent. Gunner didn't seem to be treating it like prey--more like an awesome toy that he had just happened across in his explorations. He seemed surprised that we weren't as thrilled with his find as he was. Andy grabbed a shovel and carried it off into the wilderness to dispose of it and I grabbed a bottle of ammonia and doused every surface it had touched.
I stopped just short of dousing Gunner. Instead of re-bathing him which is a big ordeal, we opted to let him run around and "air out". As long as he was outside and we were inside, problem solved. Later that night we decided to see if the airing had helped and we let him in. He hadn't been in very long (and no, the airing did NOT help!) when he began to whine and scratch at the front door. Usually he hangs out by the back door if he needs a potty break so I was baffled to see his interest in the front door. I walked over and looked out and surprise! Gunner had found his toy and brought it back. I guess we can assume he found it by following the smell. It had been out there when we let him in but no one had seen it. I hollered to Andy and he headed out the front as I took Gunner out the back. Where he promptly fell in the pool. He has run around out there since he was a brand new puppy and never fallen in. He was pretty good at the doggy paddle--but not so good at getting out. I was in my jammies and did not want to get wet, but my dog-owner instincts kicked in and I reached in and grabbed for him. It was not a graceful rescue but I did manage to wrestle him to dry ground. Where he promptly shook water all over me.
On the plus side, the chlorine cut down the wretched stench.