Homeless in Vancouver: One skunk, a hop, skip, and a jump away

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      What’s not to love about skunks?

      They’re friendly, handsome animals who never raise a stink unless they’re threatened—more than can be said (sniff, sniff) for some of us homeless folks; particularly in the sticky, stinky summertime.

      Skunks can be inconvenient if you’re a binner and you find one ahead of you on your “trap line”. Blue bin for blue bin, Dumpster for Dumpster, the slinky little varmints will—likely as not—trace the same path you want to take.

      Just getting up so this is…Pepé’s breakfast?

      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      Unless and until they find food, skunks don’t particularly loiter as they sniff their way along. So if you’re trying to give them some room, they don’t slow you down much. And it’s fun to watch the sinuous, hoppy way they scamper about.

      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      Skunks in Fairview and Kitsilano seem to be neither particularly frightened nor impressed by people.

      I have interrupted skunks at night—with a 90-lumen headlamp—as they were preoccupied with eating out of Dumpsters, and I have never once come close to being sprayed. They either recovered their composure quickly or didn’t so much as skip a beat in what they were doing.

      What they always want to be doing apparently—eating.

      Not sharing. Don’t even ask.
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      Skunks will always make time in their busy schedule for a dog, though. I believe this is a contractual obligation they have.

      If skunks were not put on this earth for the express purpose of demonstrating the stupidity of dogs, then I’m sure it’s part of their service agreement. 

      “Hate to eat and, uh, scamper but it’s almost time for brunch.”
      Stanley Q. Woodvine

      Stanley Q. Woodvine is a homeless resident of Vancouver who has worked in the past as an illustrator, graphic designer, and writer.


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      Martin Dunphy

      Jun 5, 2014 at 1:31pm

      Stanley, I basically stepped on one years ago as i got out of my van in my West End building's alley parking spot near Stanley Park: no spray, just a backwards contemptuous regard.

      Years later, again at night but in Van East, I swung open my back gate (next to the garbage cans, natch) and sent a baby skunk flying ass over tea kettle. No spray from the tyke and remarkable restraint from the nearby mom.
      Talk about well-adjusted urban critters.

      Stanley Q Woodvine

      Jun 6, 2014 at 9:37pm

      Martin, I meant to ask. The one you stepped on...
      Did it make a whoopee cushion-sort of sound?

      You know, "bbbbbbrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrt."

      I've always wondered.

      Martin Dunphy

      Jun 6, 2014 at 11:00pm

      Kind of an echo-chamber chitter, actually.