Hi, my name is Ruby.
I'm a 7-year old Redbone Coonhound, and I live with my human mom and dad, Crissy and Joe, and with my big dog sister, Dixie, a 9-year old Labrador Retriever, in a place called Pottsville, which is in the eastern Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania.
Joe really likes to run, and he often takes me with him. I like to run, but when he takes me along in the mountain behind our house, I spend more time sniffing and chasing rabbits than I do running with him.
I hear Joe talking to his friends about fierce creatures he sometimes encounters when he runs on trails. He sees black snakes and copperhead snakes, and dogs that are not always friendly as I am. He's even seen a couple of black bears.
Well, I have a real warning for you runners. I like to chase squirrels, chipmunks and the aforementioned rabbits around my backyard, and a few weeks back I had an encounter with a groundhog that didn't fare too well for me, but was even worse for Mr. Groundhog.
But the fiercest of all creatures ambushed me last night.
If you ever encounter him when you are running, you better run in the other direction.
As I approached the strange beast in what I thought was a stealth-like manner, he got me.
The creature, which had a hide resembling a tuxedo-clad lounge singer from the Poconos, unleashed an acrid, foul smelling spray that burned my eyes and allowed him to escape.
Frustrated and feeling like a tear-gassed rioter, I approached the safety of my deck. Soon after my mom opened the door to let me in, she panicked. "It smells like something's on fire," she said.
Indeed, the smell was something like burnt rubber.
Whenever mom or dad seems upset, I scurry under the dining room table. Sure enough, dad knew something was amiss. He took one whiff of me and exclaimed, "Ruby was sprayed by a skunk."
Now I don't know a skunk from caviar, but I'll tell you this, My last 24 hours have been a nightmare.
First, I've been quarantined. No more going in mom and dad's room for a while.
Next, I have been subjected to numerous tomato juice baths. (although it doesn't taste too bad), and I've been lathered up with mixtures of baking soda and peroxide. And, what's worse, mom and dad seem to be avoiding me like the plague. And, I'm told that our house smells like that skunk character.
So, if you're out there for a nice run through the woods and you see a skunk, run like you've seen a striped, black and white ghost. A skunk is a nasty creature.
I'll take a groundhog any day.