Rats in the Cradle

Soooo…the other day I came home from a busy morning and took the dogs outside to go potty like we always do.  We have quite a consistent routine built around the humans leaving and returning, which helps the dogs understand what’s expected of them and where we are in their daily “script.”  The dogs ran down on our hill and proceeded to go potty for me on cue in their potty spot, yay!  As I walked along the patio I was shocked into reality by the sight of a giant saliva-covered dead-lookin’ rat on Manx’s dog bed.

XL Kong is smaller than Manx's Rat!

Was it still alive or?  What do I do if it is?  So close to the house.  I felt like the stereotypical cartoon 50’s-era housewife in a dress and high heels shrieking “Help! Somebody help me! EEEEEKK a MOUSE!”  In a glass half-full sort of way, I tend to naively think that dead-ish looking animals are somehow still actually alive and can be rescued or fixed.  So I had to proceed with caution.  My big dog Manx (named after the Norton Manx racing motorcycle of old) is an 80-pound retired racing greyhound with a sensitive character and a laid-back demeanor – except when it comes to vermin/cats/rabbits or anything small and furry.  He shows no mercy for their kind.

Manx looks so innocent...

Dead rat guy (or gal) was lined up on Manx’s cozy (and pricey) dog bed, shining for the world to see, clearly the piéce de résistance, right alongside his size-XL Kong and peanut butter bone.  Honestly, I felt bad for the rat, they have opposable thumbs and stuff and are so cool looking (when they’re not infiltrating my expensive dog food supply in the garage, that is.)

Was Manx napping next to that thing?  What if it has fleas or lice?  What do I do with it if it’s alive?  What do I do with it if it’s dead?  Did it bite one of the dogs?  Are they bleeding?  Oh my God more vaccines?  Gotta get to the vet right away!  No, they are fully vaccinated, get a grip!  Is it OK to feel slightly proud that an aging greyhound can catch a sneaky rat in our bushes?  (They are trained, lightening-fast efficient hunters after all), they just don’t get much chance to practice.  Eww, eww, and EEWWWW.

An unpromoted new use for poo scooping tools:  gently poke the squashed saliva-covered rat and see if it plans to jump up and attack you like the rabbit in Monty Python.  BE READY!  It felt kinda stiff, must have been “dispatched” much earlier.  Ewww again.  So I gingerly scooped it up and put it in the trash.  That was doubly gross to me, but I really needed to put it someplace away from our life.  (I tied the bag loosely in case he woke up – that way he could get away and go back to doing rat-like things using his fascinating little hands.)

All I could think of was that chapter in Jean Donaldson’s book, The Culture Clash (I highly recommend this book by the way)- “It’s All Chew Toys to Them” perhaps Manx prefers organic over processed?  Just a thought.


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