14/08/2014 12:49 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Schoolgirl Turns Heads - But Not Noses - As She Walks Her Pet Skunk

Schoolgirl turns heads as she walks her pet skunk!

Schoolgirl Mimi certainly turns heads when she takes her much-loved pet for his daily walk – for the fur-ball on the end of the lead is not the latest handbag or teacup dog, but a skunk!

Stoosh is a mega-cute one-year-old North American skunk and lives with Mimi and her sister Amber, 10, and brother Zach, six, in Rugeley, Staffordshire.

The family, which also included Mimi's mum Jema, 31, and step-father Dale Preece-Kelly, treat Stoosh like any other domestic pet, cuddling her in bed and exercising her on a lead.

Dad Dale says the skunk is part of the family just like a cat or dog, and is a 'real character' who commands attention on her daily walks!

"We do turn some heads taking her for a walk on the lead, people are generally really interested once they've got over the shock," he said, adding that people often mistake Stoosh for a badger.

And as for skunks' 'smelly' reputation, the family are quick to dispel the stinky myth!

"Of course we've all got the images of skunks from cartoons like Pepe Le Pew, but she actually smells lovely, just like a cat or a rabbit and she is very clean," Dale said.

"She is very soft to stroke and she's a very intelligent, she rules the roost in our house and even gets into bed with us."

Dale insisted that Stoosh has only ever 'sprayed' her odour once, and that was because the family's dog growled at her!

"It takes months to recharge the scent glands and it really is the last resort," he said.

Spoiled Stoosh enjoys a varied diet from her own 'Princess' feeding bowl, and is indulged in her favourite treats by her besotted family.

"She used to like scrambled eggs but she's more keen on raw eggs now, then it's fruit and nuts, Brazil nuts are her favourite. And she eats chicken," Dale said.

The proud owner also utilises Stoosh within his pet therapy company Critterish Allsorts, where animals are used within therapy and education.

"The patients love Stoosh - the hospitals that we visit regularly are medium high secure psychiatric hospitals - and she really does help," Dale told the Mail.

However, the family hope that their pet does not encourage a rise in skunk-keeping.

"There is currently no need for a permit to own a skunk in the UK, but I do think it is something that should be considered," said Dale.

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