Actually, I think a critter has been living there for some time as my previous dog showed a lot of interest in that corner of the deck, but I always assumed it was a family of brave mice (given the cat ratio in the neighborhood). But the other evening, I saw a large skunk waddling around checking for possible compost leavings before he scooted back under the deck again. Because as you know, skunks are crepuscular. (One of those cool words you learn in a wildlife museum. Look it up.)
After an initial panic, I called a number of wildlife control companies. Oddly enough, none of them seemed very eager to help me with this problem. The first one quoted me an astronomical figure to dig all around the deck and install chicken wire. When I expressed surprise at the price, he asked me if I just moved here from Mexico. Random, and belligerent, so I moved on. The second guy made and broke an appointment, then confessed he wasn't really comfortable with skunks, in spite of being certified by Oregon Wildlife to remove them. The third said he'd trap it for $180. However, due to state laws, he'd either have to release it on the property or euthanize it, neither of which work for me.
It all seems too much to deal with, frankly. So I'm contemplating the live and let live approach.
The potential downside is that Bindi, who isn't the sharpest pencil in the box but has plenty of enthusiasm, will spot it and chase. I've had dogs skunked before and lived through it, but it's no fun for anyone. While I'm figuring out what to do, I've researched the best skunk smell removal formula and laid in some hydrogen peroxide, just in case.
I've started a mild harassment program to gently convince the skunk that he'd be more comfortable elsewhere. Various suggestions I've found include sticking balls of ammonia-soaked rags under the deck, applying cayenne pepper solution around the den, putting dirty socks by the entrance (I'll need Henry's assistance with that one), installing a flashing red beacon or using commercial "predator urine" repellents. In the meantime, I've trained a light on the entrance to his den and am thinking about playing a radio there all day. Rap music, probably. Or heavy metal - that would make me move.