Friday, 28 May 2010

Penny kills a rat

Warning - photos of rat killed by Penny - might be disturbing to some.

We have rats in our garden and I hope they don't come inside as the weather gets colder. One of them, at least, won't be venturing into the house, because Penny killed it today. I'm feeling quite conflicted about this, because I deliberately sicced her onto the rat.

A few times previously we've come across rats in the daytime and I've called Penny out to scare them off, not wanting her to actually kill them. But today, the poor little rat got trapped by her and I had a choice - would I stand by and see her kill another creature, or would I call her away? While I was wrestling with this ethical problem (and shouting through the open front door for someone to bring a camera), Penny preempted my decision and grabbed the rat. There was one heart-rending squeal and there it lay at our feet. Hopefully instantly dead - but I couldn't in all honesty say painlessly, which disturbs me.

I know we don't want rats around, but they are also living creatures who feel pain and fear, and I hated to see this one die.

It was quite disturbing to see how efficiently and quickly Penny dispatched it.

And then she was left with the problem of what to do with it. She sniffed. She looked around. She sniffed. She looked around. I wondered if she was asking herself why this toy wasn't entertaining any more. Who knows what a dog thinks?

So we called her in and I took the even more disturbing step of chopping it with a shovel to make sure it wasn't still alive and suffering. It will take me a while to foget the horrible feel of the shovel chopping into that furry little body.

Would I do it again? I'm not sure. Maybe. In one way, I think it's better than condemning the rat to dying of thirst, which rat bait does, or possibly injuring it in a rat trap but not killing it outright.

And I also wonder if rats perhaps get bad press, and whether we can just live and let live as we do with other creatures.


Slavenka said...

My first dog was Donna (German Hunt Terrier) and she caught four rats in
one day ,oh boy what a proud day for her and horror for me, I was so scared .
I told her: Good girl Donna! But I thought to myself, don't do this any more.

Two Pitties in the City said...

I'm surprised she got one. I can't stand rats; most of the ones out here are as big as footballs. I guess if they had more good rat propaganda, like the movie Ratoullie, I might like them more.

doozer said...

We sometimes get rats... in particular in our roof. We live near a golf course and I think they come from there. We use Talon in the roof, we know it works, and we know our animals cant get in the roof.

Aside from this though, when I have seen them outside, we actually get a neighbour to come and 'dispose' of them, and will actually lock Cody inside so she cant get to them.

Aside from the fact that I know we use bait, we dont know what types of diseases they might carry, or if other people may bait them. I also dont want to 'blood' my dog. Because we foster such little kittens sometimes, we try and teach Cody gentleness, and I feel like encouraging her to chase down one animal, and yet ask her to leave another alone would be confusing for her.

I think it is always a tough decision (I am SO glad you did not let her eat it! I have seen some people at the lake allow their dogs to eat things they have killed (mostly rabbits) and I think that is simply gross).

My oldest cat, Gretchen, once caught a little mouse when we were outside (we used to allow supervised outings in the backyard). I was horrified, not because she was killing it, because she wasn't, she simply bought it to show me, and would paw at it, and then let it run, but because I just dont like rodents. I grabbed her and hurried the mouse away into the neighbours yard. I was lucky that it was my gentle little girl that caught it.

Would you encourage Penny next time to do the same, who knows? Hopefully next time her simply barking at them will encourage them to flee and you wont be faced with the same decision.

parlance said...

Slavenka, It's hard, isn't it, when they kill rats. I know the rats are not welcome around our houses, but it feels bad to see our dogs killing other creatures.

parlance said...

Two Pitties, I didn't see Ratouille, and I'm sort of glad I didn't, because I already feel bad about killing rats.

parlance said...

Doozer, your comments so-o-o sum up my feelings. When Penny has killed birds in the past - unfortunately - I I've quietly taken away the dead creatures, in the hope that Penny won't do it again. And yet, she was so excited about catching this rat, because of my involvement, that I fear she will do it again. I don't really know what I want, I'm so confused about my feelings on this matter.

Honey the Great Dane said...

Oh my God = this is timely!! Please can we borrow Penny? Because my own big lump of a dog is completely useless!! The last couple of nights, we have been woken by loud scratching and running noises but couldn't figure out where they were coming from...and in the morning, I'd find a bag of cereal I'd left out had a hole chewed out of the bottom!! We think it's probably rats coz can't think of anything else - esp now it's getting cold - but I just can't understand it - it's right in the next room to where Honey is sleeping - why is my stupid dog snoring through the commotion??!! :-)


parlance said...

Hsin-Yi, so much for all the people who tell us that if there's a dog in the house (or the garden), the rats and mice will go away. Ha ha! Penny and I have chased rats over the fence, cornered them in small places, sniffed all around them (Penny!), and they just come back.

By the way, I found the rat in the daytime. I forgot to mention that Penny is off-duty at night - I wonder if a rat could run over her and she'd sleep through it.