Thursday, 7 September 2006

Splat the rat

Is it ok for a dog to kill another animal? Will this lead to further carnivorous activities that may spill into the feline species... these questions filled my mind as I pondered Tequila's latest slaughter.

Splat – the rat - had been merrily going about his business in our back garden. The dogs were out on their afternoon walk, the cats were inside, and all was good with the world of Splat.

It had been a hot dry day, perhaps the last of summer so he’d decided to go out on the piss that afternoon. He’d pulled up at the heavily laden Coxes Apple tree and searched around for one of those nice rotten ones that had been fermenting for several weeks, occasionally being pecked at by the odd Jackdaw. He tucked in with gusto – the apple was well on its way and the rotting pulp was fizzy with alcohol and sugar.

Perhaps it was the alcohol, perhaps it was the sun, either way he fell into a deep sleep in the shade of the tree. BANG – Splat was awoken to huge Leonberger paw swiping at his tiny body. He flew across the ground, landed, quickly recovered, and his evasive action was immediate and effective as he regained his senses and started to avoid the attentions of Buca the puppy. "He could do this, she was young and un coordinated – damn those apples!"
BANG – he was caught by another blow, this time from Tequila who had been attracted by Buca’s excited yelps. Things weren’t looking good for Splat.

The games continued almost as if Tequila and Buca were cats toying with their prey in the Coliseum. I will spare you the gory details, but suffice to say Splat lived up to his post humus Christian name and his life was ended in one playful bounce of a very large and excited dog. The squished head and mangled body was paraded and tossed around the garden in an almost medieval manner, to the great amusement of Buca.

Perhaps it was a warning to the cats, perhaps it was a case of "anything you can do..." who knows, but it was showmanship of the highest order. Could this really be the same dog? Does this mean she’s a “killer”? Was she obeying natural instinct or did she really get some perverse feline pleasure from the whole game?

Either way we decided for the sake of the cats and any future domestic rodents that this behaviour was not to be encouraged. She was sin-binned for ½ hour, followed by lots of praise and reassurance of course. The garden continues to be a gauntlet for all creatures (and EDF Meter Readers) that move or fall asleep, and perhaps that is just natures way and all as it should be (especially "nipping" the Meter Reader - but that's another blog!)

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