MILLINOCKET, Maine — It could have had an ending that really stunk, but there’s a skunk somewhere near Aroostook Avenue Extension Sunday that is free of a peanut butter jar it got stuck on its head and at least one person relieved that she didn’t get what skunks are notorious for providing.
Aimee Peterson Cyr was one of at least two people who videoed the hapless skunk as it walked in circles near Millinocket Fabrication and Machine Inc., before being freed by another resident, Tammy McLain, at about 7 a.m. Sunday.
A former certified nursing assistant, the 44-year-old McLain described herself as “very trusting of animals.”
“It was just natural, I guess,” McLain said Sunday of the rescue. “I just approached him very carefully and reached out for the jar. He never attempted to do anything. He put his tail up and he just looked at me, once, but I knew he was pointing in the opposite direction so I knew I was good.”
Cyr, a 46-year-old resident and Bangor social worker, said she might have freed the skunk herself but was afraid she would get sprayed.
“If it was Friday, I wouldn’t probably have been afraid to free it because I would have two days off, but I have to work tomorrow. In a small room. With a lot of people,” Cyr said Sunday.
Cyr heard about the skunk while driving to get coffee in downtown Millinocket at about 6:45 a.m. Friends mentioned the stuck skunk and Cyr was moved to try to help, she said.
“I thought, that poor thing. They said he had been circling there for a good half an hour,” Cyr said. “I know he’s just a skunk, but he is still a living creature.”
Cyr video-recorded the skunk before heading to the police station to see if police could contact a game warden or animal control officer. While she was gone, she said, McLain freed the skunk of the jar.
A video that McLain posted on her Facebook page shows McLain, using what looks like a blanket or white garbage bag as a shield, gingerly approaching the skunk from the front. The skunk circled away from her warily a few times until McLain slowly reached forward and grabbed the jar.
The skunk’s tail went up and he stared at McLain as she backed away with the jar in hand.
“It’s all right. Hit the road, Jack,” McLain can be heard telling the skunk before he turned tail and walked away. The look he gave her, McLain said, indicated to her that he was rather stunned. “He was kind of like, what just happened?”
“Skunks,” McLain said after the rescue, “are not vicious animals. They are actually very friendly.”
Cyr said she was glad that McLain rescued the skunk.
“I couldn’t figure out how to do it without getting sprayed,” Cyr said.