…and I’m talking about the icky bicky, scurry scampering, thick-tailed, big-eared, four-legged rodent variety, not the dirty rat deceit of the human kind…
It’s late at night, long past dark and almost time to head upstairs to bed. My sister Shari and my niece Lauren are here for the night and we’ve stayed up visiting and drinking tea. Bailey, aka Little Tramp, has just run back inside after a long sortie securing the perimeter. She may be small but she imagines herself a fierce defender of her turf. She’s looking more than a little scraggly and overdue for a visit to the DogSpa, and she comes back inside damp from her adventures in the backyard weeds. She also comes back inside quivering with excitement and with energy to burn.
Bailey sits and stares intently at me, vibrating with wordless intention. When I don’t respond she moves to sit in front of Shari, then hops up on the couch beside Lauren. Moving back and forth between the three of us, softly whining, willing us to understand. Her favourite treat, a half-eaten carrot, lies unseen on the floor between us. It’s clear she wants desperately to tell us something.
Finally I acquiesce and walk to open the back door to let her outside again, even though she’s just come back inside. I’ve barely opened the door before she squeezes past me and stops just over the threshold, looking up at me expectantly. I look down at her, then to a dark, furry lump just in front of her…then to the thick tail extending from what is suddenly a dead rat lying inches from my feet.
Bailey is clearly pleased as punch to have bagged such a trophy. I’m pleased that it’s dead and not making my home its home (which has happened in the past), but I am far from pleased that is is lying on the mat inches from my backdoor. I don’t do rats. Alive or dead.
So I do the only thing any self-respecting rat ridden Vancouver woman would do when confronted with a large dead rodent blocking her back door. I begin to exclusively use the front door. My sister and niece leave the next morning, each one just as rat resistant as I am and thankful that one hasn’t landed on their back stoop. While they will do anything for me, it seems that they both draw the line at dead rat removal.
Darlene, my dear friend, is the only one I can count on to drop everything and clear the ‘gift’ from my back door mat….but she now lives across the country in Truro, Nova Scotia. I have only me. Thus, what follows is the Single Woman’s Guide to Dead Rat Removal From Back Door Mats.
1.) COVER RAT WITH BOX TO HIDE FROM VIEW AND PULL MAT AWAY FROM BACK DOOR
2.) LEAVE OVERNIGHT IN THE HOPE THAT NEIGHBOURHOOD CAT WILL FIND AND EAT RAT
3.) GENTLY SLIDE LARGE BLACK PLASTIC GARBAGE BAG OVER ENTIRE MAT.
4.) TIP MAT INTO GARBAGE BAG. LET BOX AND RAT SLIDE OFF MAT AND INTO BAG. SLIDE RAT-LESS MAT BACK OUT OF BAG. VIOLA!
I gingerly deposited the garbage bagged rat into my garbage can and then carried the can (empty except for one garbage bag full of dead rat) to the curb, very thankful that the next morning was garbage pick-up day. I’m so pleased with myself that I’m smiling with self congratulations.
It turns out that Bailey really did bring me a gift. The gift of self reliance. Although I could have done without the dead rat part of that gift….a bit of a catch-22….