Do you like rats?
What a question! Of course many people keep rats as pets, and I understand they can be very sweet, but probably the majority of people have them solidly on their disfavored list.
My grandpa’s sister, Ida, was bitten on the lip by a rat when the Jones family was living in a sod house on the Nebraska prairie as homesteaders. One night Ida thought she was hugging her dolly in bed. Apparently wild rats don’t like to be hugged by little girls!
Back to the present, I’m currently on an active vector control campaign, using strategically placed Rat Zappers to patrol the deck near the bird feeder. Caught #26 last night (we’ve been at it for about a year). Southern California weather is idyllic, that’s a fact, but it attracts more than just tourists!
Imagine my surprise at finding a rat, apparently dead, in the laundry room Saturday morning, directly under my next footfall. A rat in the house! Oh, that is the absolute worst! On closer examination, it was not dead but clearly breathing and looking at me with fearful, plaintive brown eyes. I’ll spare you the actual image, knowing how distasteful even a picture of a rat might be to some. The little guy’s head was stuck between the washing machine and the threshold. I really thought that wild critters had better sense.
What to do? Put on thick leather gloves, took him by the body, and gently worked his head free. So there I was, holding a rat. Now what to do?!
Thought about just tossing him in the Rat Zapper and ending it quickly, but that seemed so proactively violent. No, that wouldn’t do.
So I put him in the flower bed and expected him to scamper off, but he just laid there. Stunned, exhausted, injured, I didn’t know. Asked several people for advice, including my wildlife knowledgeable brother, and finally decided if the rodent was still there after 2 hours, I would dispatch him mercifully.
At the appointed time of execution, I laid him out on the ground and raised the shovel. Oh those brown eyes and long whiskers! Twice I raised the shovel, but just couldn’t do it, so I put the shovel down and offered the condemned some water, which he drank and drank.
Put him back in the flower bed, covered him with leaves, and decided to let God and nature take it from there. After 4 hours I gave him more water. By the next day, there was no sign of the perp. I wish I’d marked his ear or something so I could recognize him if he ever ended up in the Zapper. I still hope he perishes, just not directly at my hand.
Practical justice dictated death for the trespasser. Compassionate mercy prevailed.
The Thinking Christian Woman can discern between justice and mercy, administering each, in its time, in love, at the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
© 2011 Melody K. Anderson
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