Okay, so we're having houseguests this week. Friday Paul arrived and Hobkin started acting kind of stressed, even though he obviously likes him. Paul's taken on the role of beloved uncle with Hobkin, wrestling and playing with him for hours on end, and our fuzzhead is adoring the attention. Hobkin even crawled into and curled up on Paul's lap for a nap on Sunday. But he was still obviously stressed by the change in his habitat--he was snappish, easily startled, and frequently forgot where the litter pan was. Not good.
On the SkunkChat board, there's something that a lot of people recommend for stressed critters called Rescue Remedy. Shelters often use it on their new arrivals to de-stress them, and I've heard several veterinary support people now from different clinics saying that they always keep some on hand to use in emergency situations on traumatized animals (hit by cars, etc.) of all species.
A little research revealed that Rescue Remedy is apparently a combination of five flower essences (Cherry Plum, Clematis, Impatiens, Rock Rose, and Star of Bethlehem) put out by the Bach Centre. It's intended for humans, but the primary use I've heard of appears to be on animals, although one of the people on the SkunkChat board also uses it when she has an asthma attack.
Now Matthew and I aren't big into the homeopathic medicine thing, so we were dubious. And we're also not keen on the idea of drugging up our furchild, but it was obvious that Hobkin was freaked, so we went out and bought some at the local health store.
After consulting with the various skunk experts, we've started him on 3-4 drops four times a day. And it seems to be working. He was a bundle of nerves all weekend, and yesterday, after two doses of the stuff, he was almost his old self. He became less bitey and jumpy, and experienced a near-complete return of proper bathroom habits. Additionally, he's not drugged or doped out either. He's alert and playful and affectionate. Yay!
But here's the thing, the flower essences are distilled by brandy. The Rescue Remedy is 14 proof! We are assured that the dose is safe for him, but now we're wondering, are we snookering up our skunk? Is he calmer 'cause of the flower essences or is he calmer 'cause we're giving him four drops of brandy four times a day? Or even is he calmer just 'cause he's gotten used to Paul being around? Ack!
There's also a Rescue Remedy skin cream which we might try as an alternative.
I haven't heard anything bad about this stuff from any of the myriad resources we've consulted, but has anyone else had any experience with it or any of the other Bach infusions? Zounds.
"Drunk as a skunk" has taken on new meaning in our household.