“New Zealand is the most beautiful place on Earth.”

This is said a lot, and it is 100% true.

What is NOT said a lot is that New Zealand has some serious rats.

Not switchblade carrying, eye-patch wearing rats like you see in New York City.

No, these are cuter rats that sort of look like a loooong mouse after it was pulllllled through a keyhole — maybe 16 inches long, nose to tail.

They seem to like the primordial jungle that is part of the hills of West Auckland, where we live.

Every now and again, we hear scratching on the ceiling. We chuck some Peta-approved ;-} poison into the attic. The rats eat it, get thirsty, wander outside to find water and then peacefully go tits up.

Occasionally, Mother Nature and her Kiwi Rodents like to do things differently. Like today.

The Crack Puppy, the Moosedawg and I happened to be on the driveway. Being the man of the house, I was hanging laundry. The dogs were just hanging out. Because they are dogs.

Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, about 10 feet up the driveway, near the Crack Puppy, I saw a brown blur.

A big rat shot toward me. When the Moosedawg innocently walked past, right into the rat’s path, it slammed on the brakes, probably thinking, “Rats,” or whatever rats think when they want to scream, “Oh Shit”, but are afraid that would not be allowed in a family blog.

Fast Forward!

Things started happening really fast about then.

The 13-year-old Moosedawg, who is almost totally deaf and about half-blind immediately alerted from his normal Senior Citizen state of “What?”, to “WHAT!”

As the Moosedawg’s brain searched for a still-firing synapse, the rat — henceforth to be called the New Zealand Horror Rat of Pestilence and Death (NZHRPD for short) — made a fateful decision.

He decided not to run toward the street, because the Crack Puppy was standing there, making a fierce racket because of her increased tremors and the sound of her sphincter slamming shut.

The rat decided to race down the fence line, right past me and the Moosedawg.

In the old days, the rat would have at that point been an apéritif. But due to age, the Moosedawg sort of lurched and snapped, but just barely overshot the NZHRPD, who at that moment in time was thinking “*&%(^&$^%#&%^$#%$#”.

As I was shouting for the highly trained Moosedawg to get back (“What? Is someone calling me?”), the rat tried to furiously burrow through the twig fence, but he could not. He sensed that the Moosedawg and the Human were both moving towards him with intent. So he leaped straight up into the air, grabbing the twig fence about halfway up.

I think that the rat was just inches away from the snapping Moosejaws of Death, but I cannot be sure because, when I saw the rat jump that high, I realized he could also jump right on my face, at which point I adopted a new strategy, known in military circles as “Run Away!”

The rat then decided he had a better chance of outrunning the stiff-legged Moosedawg on the ground than out-climbing him on the twig fence. He dropped to the ground and raced toward the car porch. It was a brilliant strategy, but his tactics let him down when he tried to burrow through a 4 by 4 corner post.

That gave me time to grab the flat blade shovel, scream again at the agitated deaf Moosedawg (“I am pissed off about something! Now what was it????”), and proceed to habeus the rat’s corpus, and go in search of the Crack Puppy.

She was sitting in the front doorway, telling me with her very expressive uber cute eyes: “That horrible monster made me squirt a very big doodle in the hallway. You should clean it up right after you give me one of my tremor pills. Better make it two. And a large Scotch.”


Questions and Answers

Q. Out of curiosity, was the Shovel of Death the cute little one with a square spade that THE GM Finance just loves using in her pretty little front garden?

A: There is that possibility, but it, and the crime scene under the car porch, were carefully and forensically hosed down and disinfected.

Q: Is there even the tiniest chance that the evil New Zealand Horror Rat of Pestilence and Death had rabies or AIDs or something equally heinous and could have, by osmosis or something, infected the Crack Puppy, the Moosedawg or yourself?

A: Scientists say the chances are very, very low. Not even 50%. But we don’t feel a need to inform the GM Finance, lest she worry. About the Crack Puppy. And her shovel.

Q: You did not mention what happened to the deceased habeas corpus (Latin: “bring the dead rat before us”).

A: No, we did not. That was in the past. And details have been lost in the mists of time. There are those who say the habeas corpus NZHRPD was buried deep in the vast jungle regions of our back yard. Others say the rat was flung with great force in the back yard, landing directly on the legal property line. Still others say the rat throw veered off like a Tony Romo pass, deep into the neighbor’s back yard. Who are we to say which is true?

Q: Is someone knocking at your front door?

A: Yes, it appears to be people from the City Council, Peta, SPCA and, yes, the Police…Rats.


(Other Crack Puppy/Moosedawg stories are here, here, here, here, and here.)


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4 Responses to “Rats!”

  1. Steve D says:

    Given your background, you’re familiar with armadillos (AKA Kevlar rats).

    Long ago my wife and I were driving from Houston to Dallas (condolences welcome). She was quite pregnant and it was very hot so we got off the interstate to follow a side road with more amenities. Soon we saw an armadillo ambling across the road. I stopped, snapped some pictures, and he waddled over to a fence line and rolled up. Oho, said I, I know this trick. I picked up a stick to roll him back out into the open and get some more pictures.

    The second I tapped his shell, he took off down the fence line like a shot, just like your NZHRPD. I had no idea those suckers could run so fast.

  2. Kris says:

    I do so like when someone’s words make me actually laugh out loud.

    Such a lovely gift.

    Thank you for that.

    • hams says:

      I can only hope I gave you a throbbing cerebral aneurysm from laughter, as you did me yesterday, oh high maintenance woman of smog. And did you ever find the pen with the giant flower?

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