A critter? He suggested we call a repair company. My response, "What -- pay those rates, on a weekend! No, let me take a look." He explained how to disconnect the vent and stepped back. Sure enough, once the vent was disconnected and the dryer pushed out, I could see a tail. I confirmed his hypothesis. Up went his hands and he headed for the stairs. I told him to keep the kids up stairs and I would take care of the critter.
My husband is frugal, but as a child he took swim lessons at a country club from a lady named Miriam. I took swim lessons at Spring Harbor Beach here in Madison. There were bugs, fish, critters. I saw critters at our cabin and my dad's used car lot. He grew up in affluence, I did not. As a result, removal of a critter was something I could handle. Had I not been there he would have paid a fee to a company. This weekend we figured out where his frugality ends, but mine continues.
However, we are both committed to salvaging the dryer. Even though Chipper the Chipmunk has found a more peaceful final resting place, the smell lingers. I was amazed at how a google search connected me with others with this same problem. A towel soaked in vinegar has done no good. A jar of baking soda, left inside, overnight, has yielded no change. Today I purchased an odor sponge from the hardware store, cost $5. It is in place, and while we wait for it to do its magic (please work!) we are back to using our drying rack and in-door clothes line. Something I probably should have done anyway.
If anyone out there has another suggestion on getting rid of the odor, I'd love to hear it. I really, really do not want to buy a new dryer. Oh, and a vent guard was purchased and is awaiting the engineer to return home and install it. I'll deal with the critters, he can handle the hardware installation.