Rats

It is April 4th and according to the crazy calendar, it is something called World Rat Day. A day to celebrate rats.  

Now rats do have their redeeming qualities.  Some people keep them as pets.  I read that they can be therapy animals.  And they can even be trained to sniff out explosives.  But wild rats often have a bad reputation- especially in urban areas.  Tell someone you have a mouse in your house, and it’s no big deal.  But a rat- and it IS a big deal.  Not only because of the size difference – but also because of the amount of damage they can cause and because they are known to carry a number of diseases.  Here in the city of Halifax,Nova Scotia, we had an outbreak of leptospirosis a few years ago- and there was said to be a direct link to the rat population.   My human knows someone whose dog died because of the outbreak.  So rats can be a BIG problem.  
I read that in New York City, multi family dwellings and commercial businesses must use specially licensed rat catchers. I also found this video- where dogs come into the story. Most terriers were initially bred for catching rats. And in New York, there is a “vigilante “ group of citizens who goes out with their dogs to catch rats.  WARNING:  If you do not want to see rats being caught, and/or you are offended by strong language, skip the video.  But if you want to see dogs with a job, check it out.  
I’m not so sure about picking up those rats without gloves.  Einstein said he would want gloves too.
And given that we are talking rats… I must tell you about something that the FG will be doing on Sunday.  He is going to a Barn Hunt Workshop.  No – he is not hunting FOR barns.  Barn Hunts are an opportunity to see if your dog has the instinct to hunt out rats.  And ANY breed can participate- not just terriers.
Now before you picture a scene like you saw if you watched the video, rest assured that Barn Hunts are NOT for actually catching rats.  NO RATS ARE INJURED IN BARN HUNTS.  The rats used are raised in homes and are essentially pets.  The rats are placed in secure plastic tubes.  And the tubes are hidden in bales of hay.  Dogs never physically come in contact with the rats.  But they DO indicate where the tubes with the rats are located.  
Dogs can actually compete and get a Barn Hunt title.  There are even different levels of titles.  But in none of the levels are the rats ever injured.  There are strict regulations and rules to ensure the safety of the rats.
My human does know of Picards who have Barn Hunt titles.  And given the FG’s attention to sounds and smells, maybe he will find his passion.  Nah.  My bet is that he pees on the first hay bale and is dismissed.  I hope someone can video him.  He is in the “beginner” class, of course.  
So Sunday is sure to be an entertaining day.  Good thing my human doesn’t work next week – she’ll need the time to recuperate.  This is going to be SO interesting…..
Have a good one. Peace and paws up.
Seizure free days: 1

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