Surprise in the Porch Stove


I got home from the beach, with temps up to 70 degrees.

“Why am I coming back?” I asked myself as the car’s outside temp rose to 82, then 88 then 92 as I pulled off the freeway in San Ramon.

When I got home, the dogs went ballistic as they always do.

We’re home! Let us out! We have places to go and things to sniff!

We’d made it as far as the front door when the Jack Russell started sniffing the cast-iron porch stove I’ve had for three houses and 30 years. I knew what that meant, a rat.

Garland at Rat Patrol tells me that once the pheromones are under the house, they will call out to other rats to come.  I’m in my twelfth year of owning my house and have been fighting rats for as long.  But before Daisy, I lived in a world of ignorant bliss. Yes, I had rats but only saw them from time to time.  I put out glue traps, which killed a couple of birds that got stuck. One day I saw a very fat rat stuck to the glue trap, struggling to get out of it. I screamed and ran, realizing how cruel of a death glue traps bring.

The next day the trap was empty, except for tufts of hair. That big boy had gotten away!

No more glue traps. I used poison at other houses, but then the rat searches for water and dies there. We had a Jacuzzi tub that we used a lot. A rat crawled up into the insulation under the house and died, rendering that bathroom putrid for two weeks.

So now I use Rat Patrol. Garland guarantees his work for two years. Mostly he plugs up all holes to under the house. He has a special mirror on a pole that he uses for finding them, where rats have chewed their way in.  We discovered that the old dryer vent was a way under the house, since the plastic tubing had probably become detached. I sealed it up on the outside with heavy-duty Gorilla Tape and then stacked eight bricks in front of it.

The rats made two new entry holes this summer and Garland came right out to fill them up.

Back to the rat in the stove. I didn’t want to watch Daisy shake the thing to death and then me having to pick up a warm rat body. Plus, the stove is on the front porch, and Daisy is still on lockdown after she roughed up a little dog in the park next door. She’s on Prozac now.

Every now and then, as I write these posts, I think to myself, Self, your life is crazy.  I could surrender Daisy to the rescue place where I got her, but my son, the dog whisperer, isn’t having it. He lives here and he’s taught her how to spin, sit (actually I taught her that), do a down (hurray!), and wait for a treat. She also waits at doors for him but not for me. Pepper can do all those things, too, and is much more eager to please me than Daisy is.

But I digress. Back to the stove. I verified that there was a gray rat hiding under the cast iron burners. He was little ball of fur. I took everything off the stove (plants and pots) then tipped it sideways onto the sidewalk leading up to the porch. He scampered out and away, a much bigger rat than I thought.

Oh, well. He ran to the drain near the native grasses I’d planted, very good rat cover. I guess I could shoot water with a hose into the dry drain and flush him out.

But no, I will let Daisy bide her time and get him when he dares to enter her backyard domain. Between her and Rat Patrol, I’ve got it covered.

No more porch stove, though. It’s too creepy close to my front door and into my house.

Daisy’s score card: rats – 4, squirrel -1.

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