Man’s best friend in Glenview could be a skunk
Patti Kuntzmann, Animal Care supervisor at The Grove National Historic Landmark in Glenview, with Cora the skunk. Karie Angell Luc~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 28, 2013 6:30AM
The jury is always out on who’s really a man’s or a woman’s best friend when it comes to pets. A cat, a dog…but a skunk? You betcha. Cora Hope is a skunk and is an ambassador at The Grove National Historic Landmark in Glenview. And while she appeals to many senses (yes, touch, her coat is silky soft), you don’t have to worry about that Internet-oft-searched recipe calling for detergent if you choose to stroke Cora’s fur. Cora’s best friend by far is arguably Patti Kuntzmann, The Grove animal care supervisor. Meet Cora Hope the skunk.
Q. Patti, tell us about your furry friend.
A. We have more than 200 animals here at The Grove, but Cora is one of our special ones. We call her Princess Cora, but actually her name is Cora Hope. Her name comes from John Kennicott’s (Grove homesteader) daughter Cora. And Hope is a name that came out of one of John’s sons. She’s been here about a year and a half. She came in as a tiny little baby about that big (gestures with her right hand, her fingers showing in a circle how small Cora was). And some high school kids from Glenbrook South found her. They wrapped her up in their sweatshirts and brought her over to The Grove.
Q. Is it unique to adopt a skunk?
A. Now normally, we don’t take animals like this. And if we do, we have a wildlife rehabilitator that we take them to. And these are people who raise the animals and release them later. Well, after some time with Cora we all decided, to keep her and use her as an ambassador for all skunks. And how she teaches the kids how special skunks really are and how they’re not aggressive. They only spray because they have to. They might be frightened and they spray. Now, if you come to The Grove and you see Cora, Don’t worry, she has been descented and spayed. And she’s also had all of her shots. She’s a healthy girl.
Q. Can skunks be tamed?
A. If you have a skunk as a pet, you have to be an experienced animal person. They’re not a dog and they’re not a cat. They’re a skunk. So they have a lot different traits. You can’t discipline them in the way you can a cat or a dog. And I guarantee you may get nipped. We do on occasion, nothing vicious. But you have to understand as a family, and if you were to get a skunk, skunks are illegal to have as pets in Illinois. There are some states that will allow them, and there are places that actually breed domesticated skunks, mostly on the East Coast but not here in Illinois.
Q. What is Cora’s personality? She’s a veggie lover, that is known…
A. Well, Cora is very friendly. She knows who her mommy is (Patti). And she distinguishes that from smell. In the wild, they can’t see anymore than three feet ahead of them. So that’s why you see a lot of them on the road. They never see the cars. But she does know us, she’s very affectionate, some say she’s spoiled, just because we pick her up when she wants to.