When the Rescue Dog is a Ratter


The timid white dog with the brown head wouldn’t take a treat from the rescue dog volunteer.  I liked her face, anyway, and took her home.

Fast forward 18 months.  The plum tree in the back side yard becomes loaded with fruit. The platform for the shed which I stupidly put next to the plum tree has turned into the Rat Hotel with continental breakfast. We harvested 15 pans of plums from the single tree in the past three weeks but couldn’t reach the ones way up there.

When plums get too ripe, they fall off the tree. The rats come out at night to eat them.  Daisy had a conniption fit one night, barking upward toward the plant stand tucked into a corner on the outside wall of my kitchen.

It had to be a rat.

Daisy barked for three mind-numbing hours. I finally got brave and went outside to get her. I kicked a metal bucket, and Scaredy Dog flew into the house.

The next day, I relocated the plant stand to the front porch.

A week went by. Now the terrier was focused on a stack of crates in the utility yard by the hot tub, which I thought made a nice shelving system. It was broad daylight and she was frantically barking at the crates.  I knew that meant there was a rat behind them.

I put on my garden gloves, tucked my hair under my hat and went outside in full sun and heat to move those crates, one by one. When it was the moment of truth, with only one crate remaining, I jerked it away from the wall, and the rat flew by me. Black, icky, not that big. Daisy dived after it, then returned to the cabinet up against the wall, next to where the crates had been. More frantic barking.

There must be another one.

I pulled the cabinet away from the wall two inches, and another black rat came flying past me, going the other direction. I let out a blood-curdling scream that stopped the neighbors in their tracks.

Okay, the yard is now out of hiding places, right?

Wrong. The next night Daisy barked incessantly at my ceramic pots in a cluster by the dining room slider. These are mega pots. How could a . . .?

Today I see it. The center pot is up on a wooden platform with wheels, a perfect spot for a rat to duck under when being pursued by an insane Jack Russell.

Pot pushed off platform, platform moved and stored, up on end.

Tonight will be the true test. The rotten plums are picked up off the ground, the hiding places are gone (right?), and Daisy will have full view of any rat that dares make its way to my fountain after dark.

I know, if it weren’t for the bird feeders and the fountain and the plum tree, I’d have no rats.

Or birds, or squirrels, or anything else that belongs to nature.

Besides, how would Daisy earn her keep?


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