I’ve been thinking a lot about Lucy since adding her to the banner, and would like to share a story.

I own a boarding and training kennel in the city, and while we keep the kennel (housed in a two-story brick building at the edge of one of Chicago’s oldest industrial corridors) and the large outdoor exercise area very clean, the occasional rat has been known to test our boundaries, as it were. Last fall, it became evident that one had taken up transitory residence in an old crawl space beneath the furnace, accessible though a ninety year old coal chute in a corner of the play yard. I live above the kennel and had a new baby, so was not only alarmed at the thought of rat inside the kennel but at the possibility this rat might attempt to establish quarters upstairs.

I called in a very experienced pest control professional, who spent most of the afternoon investigating, laying traps, and educating me in the habits of rats (fascinating stuff, I assure you). By the end of the day, there were over thirty traps laid. My only question? When are rats most likely to heading in or out of the building through that chute? Answer: Rats are most active before dawn and after dusk.

Well, enough said. The next morning, about an hour before dawn, while a hundred dollars of rat traps lay empty, I released my Jack into the yard. Guess who caught the rat. And was Very Pleased With Herself. Not bad for an eleven pound, eleven year old dog.

A few weeks later she had a stroke that left her back legs mostly paralyzed.  Her last day was relatively good. My black Lab lay beside her as she took the injection. They were best friends.

© Ruth Crisler and Spot Check, 2010.