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Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Animals I will Never Forget: Molly the pygmy goat. Not only is she a smart, friendly little beast, she's also the only one I've ever seen who has her own pet. I was delivering the afternoon installment of hay a few days ago, and was astounded at the sight of a sleek black rat tucking into the breakfast hay leftovers. Molly was also taking a nibble here and there, about five inches away from the rat. Just then I noticed that predator of predators, Iago the cat, and called her over to me. I carried her inside the goat paddock and set her down, hoping to focus her gaze on the rat that seemed to be getting bigger and gutsier every time I looked at it. After a couple of false starts, Iago zeroed in on the rat, and began the executioner's stalk. Two leaps away, one short leap away, and -- WHAMMO. Molly butted her into orbit. Iago was startled, but skated it off and came back for another try. Meanwhile the rat hadn't even blinked, just sat on its haunches, stuffing in the hay. Iago tries again -- BEH-EH-EH-EH! Goat defence blocks the shot!
The cat, disgusted, trotted off. I stomped a "robert boot" at the rat and finally it scooted out of the paddock. I dropped off the hay and did a little goat-scratching. Turning to leave, something caught my eye. Sure enough, the world's luckiest rat was back, and soon Molly was at its side and they both continued to stuff down the hay.
When I told this story to Nik, I referred to the intruder as a mouse, in fact, a goddamned big mouse, because I'm from rat-free Alberta and thus all rodents are either mice, gophers or voles. And while I'm sure Molly only butted Iago away for getting too close to her hay, I'm also convinced that rat has grown a new neural pathway and will soon be the head of a dynasty of rats with bodyguards.