KNOX COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — What could have been a smelly situation is really a supportive one.
A Knox County, Indiana, dispatcher goes about her normal work day accompanied by a special friend: a skunk.
Nugget the skunk has been a part of the Knox County Dispatch team as an emotional support animal for about seven months.
His owner, Heather Blaney, has had him for over two years. She said she would describe him as calm, sweet and odorless.
“Domestic skunks in Indiana have to be descented before you even get them. They’re descented around three weeks of age,” Blaney said.
She adopted Nugget from the Indiana Skunk Rescue and has six more skunks at home as well.
Blaney said what started the journey was when her daughter brought Nugget home.
“She went out and got Nugget and brought him home. Once he showed interest in me and not her, she gave up and he just kind of become mine,” Blaney said.
Since then, Nugget has become a work favorite. When he is not eating his favorite snack, which is Cheez-its, he is either lying on someone’s lap or sniffing around for attention.
“He’s like a weighted blanket. He doesn’t do anything. He doesn’t make any noise. He just sits on my lap, and it’s nice to have that, like, distraction after a busy time,” Blaney said.
Other employees also express how much they enjoy Nugget’s presence and how much he helps during stressful days.
“Just kind of hangs out with us and doesn’t do a whole lot. It’s just kind of a chill little animal, and after we have a big call, the dispatchers will tend to pet him or hold him or do whatever they need to just to kind of relax a little bit,” Knox County Dispatch’s executive director, Rob McMullen, said.
Blaney said she’s grateful to have such supportive co-workers and sees the difference Nugget has made at work.
“Just like I said earlier, he’s just the calm to my chaos,” Blaney said.
Blaney says if you’re interested in owning a skunk, you should do your research before adopting one.