"However, this was a blind baby, slow and lost, as if it had accidentally crawled out of the nest too early or someone, cat or dog or raccoon or mink, had murdered its mother and it was on a last, slow, desperate crawl for life. I knew I should kill it, but I didn't have the heart. I was reminded of Mike once shooting starlings in his cherry trees while simultaneously raising baby starling that had fallen out of a nest. He hated those starlings for their thievery and the damage they were doing to endangered songbird populations. Yet babies are different. Every creature deserves the chance to reach its prime. However, an adult pest is another story, and then it's ever bird or man for himself. I knew I'd bring this rat baby into the house, feed it, warm it by the fire, and then release it far away in the bush. Sharon would be annoyed at first, superficially, before she helped with great tenderness.
Sam, the border collie, came up behind me. She saw the baby rat and, before I could move, snatched it, killing it instantly. Then she tossed it up in the air as if it were a toy, caught it, and swallowed it whole, happily trotting off down the road again, while I stood alone in the bluing darkness, overwhelmed once more by the arbitrary casualness of death."
I laughed out loud while reading this, reread it, and then had to share with Travis - he chuckled too. The death of the rat is not comical - it was more so the fact that I'm sure the very same instance has or would happen at 765. While Travis and Juliet enjoy popping the starlings out of the chicken cage we haven't had a baby one make it inside the house. YET.