Complex Systems, the Saga Continues

Remember my little rant about messing with complex systems and how feeding the birds resulted in my having to wash the skunk smell off our dog, Roni? Well, there is yet another chapter to this …

I was working in the office last night, when I heard Roni rustling around in the living room. She was doing her usual, “hey, help me get my tennis ball routine”, snuffling in and around the couch. Which was a little wierd since her balls usually end up under the coffee table, not the couch.

It eventually became annoying enough that I went out there and looked under the couch for her, but didn’t see anything. I even went so far as to move the whole frickin’ couch out of the way to prove to her, “look, see? No tennis balls!” But instead of being satisfied and lying back down in her bed, she kept at it, circling around and around. Finally I’d had enough and thought, “Well, I suppose it might be in the cushions or something”. So off came the pillows, off came the cushions and, finally, I lifted the hide-a-bed. There, to my [almost] utter amazement, was a Bushy Tailed Woodrat, who had apparently been attracted to our house by all the free birdseed lying around the backyard, and had wandered in a couple evenings ago when I accidentally left the backdoor open while I was out. At least I sincerely hope that’s what happened, because otherwise this guy is just the tip of a rather hairy and unpleasant iceberg!

It turned out that in my maneuvering of the couch, I’d somehow pinned the rat underneath the bed portion and he was out like a light by the time I found him. Which was fine by me since I needed to go to the kitchen to get a bag to put him in. Of course by the time I returned with a bag the rat had woken and beat a hasty retreat to some dark corner of the living room.


To make a long story short, what followed was probably the best 15 minutes of fun Roni has ever had. To her credit and immense enjoyment, she was invaluable in tracking the rodent as he scurried from beneath one piece of furniture to another, and she showed admirable restraint by not treating this guy the way she does her stuffed toys (which, for those of you who don’t know, is about like a piñata in the hands of a luchador). Unfortunately I eventually had to spoil her fun by getting a broom and using that to pin the little bastard down, and scoot him out from under the antique trunk he’d hidden under. Of course I managed to half-suffocate him again in the process, but oh well. C’est un rongeur.

This all ended (please, let this be the end of it!) with my hucking the rat about 20′ from our backdoor into some bushes out in the backyard. I know, I know, this all seems a bit callous and against my love-all-living-things character, but while these guys are pretty cute as rats go, they aren’t that cute. Besides, maybe it’ll endear him to the flying squirrels that I’m told live around here.