Who Knew my Rat-killing Rescue Dog Is Part Whippet?

It was a beautiful Sunday during Coronavirus lock-down. After yelling at my neighbor yesterday (whom I barely know), although he did deserve it, I decided that I am stressed. It’s because I am not going to exercise classes. They’re all canceled.

After running to the store for the SF Chronicle, apples, bananas, and my sister’s prescription, I came home, put the choke chain on the big dog and the harness on the little dog and filled my pocket with treats. That is the signal that we are going out for walks.

I opened the door and both dogs ran out. Then I threw a treat inside the house, and one of the dogs ran in. Today the first walk went to Pepper.

I grabbed my sweater from the car since it was little brisk. Then I got the pile of newspaper sports sections that I’d been saving all week and the pills and headed over to my sister’s board and care home. I’ve never walked that far with the dogs but decided I’d better do it or I might end up yelling at another neighbor.

Pepper enjoyed the first mile, the second mile, and the third.

When I stopped to hand off the newspapers and pills, the caregivers both came to the door with masks on. They didn’t recognize me in my hat, sunglasses and gloves, but once I gave them the newspapers, they figured it out.

“Barb is fine!” Rose said as I turned to leave.

“Tell her hello,” I said.

That reminds me that I need to cancel her doctor appointment this week. There’s no sense in exposing her to the virus by dragging her out of her care home.

When we got back to my neighborhood, I took a short-cut and discovered a maple tree along the creek bed that had a wooden stake and a pink wire rope wrapped around it that was long overdue to be removed. I was able to wiggle the stake out of the soft ground, but the pink wire was embedded into the trunk. I’d have to come back later with wire cutters.

Somebody planted that tree and abandoned it. It was three years past due for stake removal. Why had I never noticed before today? I walk this road along the creek often with the dogs.

When I got home, I tried to get Daisy to come out and play ball, but she was a scaredy cat with all the people in the park next door. I bounced the ball in the court, but she only went for it once and then ran back to the house.

The park was filling up with families. It was time to barricade myself in my yard. I headed out back to cut off a broken tree branch that I noticed yesterday.  That’s when Daisy started barking frantically. It could only mean one thing – a rat.

She was focused on the wooden bench that serves as a step to the doggie door.  The bench was up against the house and had a wooden back that extended to the ground, a perfect hiding place.  I shook the bench a bit to unearth the rat. It dashed for the hedge, and Pepper got it. She was playing with it, and I couldn’t watch.

Pepper, the lab? Not Daisy, the Jack Russell?

I ran to get the sledgehammer so that I could knock the wooden back off of the bench to eliminate the hiding place. When I got back, the rat was dead, so of course I screamed. They are so big and ugly, and their tails are creepy.

I got a bucket and a bag and a shovel and did my least favorite job as a homeowner.

My friend, Ruth, who threw a party yesterday and only had one guest – me – said that Daisy is a rat terrier, not a Jack Russell terrier, even though the rescue place listed her as a Jack Russell. She does have a narrow head.

I Googled Jack Russell-rat terrier mixes, and they don’t look like Daisy.  Then I Googled Jack Russell-whippet mixes, and the slender heads on those dogs do look like Daisy’s head. So I am going to call her a Jack Russell-whippet mix from now on.

So now you know! And also that black labs will kill rats, too, if they live with Jack Russell- whippet mix ratters.

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