A very, very bad day in Ratland


I probably shouldn’t post this. I wouldn’t, except that Roo was so proud of herself over the success of her most recent killing spree that I had to, because if she was editing this instead of starring in it, that’s what she’d want. Of course, the truth is, as much as I joke about the carnage — the poor victims collectively known as mouses — I try to dissuade her. Anytime she starts getting close to a kill I try to distract her, or walk away, forcing her to come after me. But sometimes there’s no stopping her. She’s a born predator, and when she knows she’s going to win you couldn’t stop her with a hydrogen bomb test. It’s not as if she does it purely for sport, though she enjoys it as much as any fox or wolf who subsists on mouses does (as many of them do). She has every intention of eating her kills. She buries them and checks on them from time to time to see how they’re cooking.

Anyway, yesterday she dug up a rat and killed the poor thing. Normally, as soon as she kills someone, she picks it up and takes it away to bury it, but this time, she flung it into the air and immediately darted back into the massive pit she’d excavated to unearth him, scrambled some more and then pulled out a second rat and killed that one. Then she took that rat over to the other one and picked them both up. This was the first time I ever saw Roo carry two things at once. I always thought the mathematics or logistics of a multiple carry were too much for her, but she did it without a second thought. She was so proud of herself that she carried the two of them around for ten minutes before interring them in a joint grave.

So, even though I hate to see it, I knew that for her it was one of her crowning achievements as a huntress. It put her in the best mood she’s been in for weeks for the rest of the day, until late at night, when the wear and tear on her arms and shoulders from the gargantuan effort of all the digging it took caught up with her. She was so sore that she spent the rest of the night letting out the occasional groan and waking me up to commiserate with her, which, after the second or third time, I refused to keep doing.

She slept until two in the afternoon, and then, back in her bright mood, wanted to head back to that rat den. I told her to forget it. Better to quit while she was ahead. Instead I loaded her in the car to take her farther away, to a place where I knew the pickings were slim.