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The Day I Killed a Rat with my Own Two Hands

In writing my memoir for #nanowrimo, I decided to include the story of how I killed a rat with a stick after my shih-tzu caught it.

The story was actually my very first blog post.

I was a little fuzzy on the details, so I thought I’d just copy and paste the blog version into my memoir.  But then I decided it would be a fun experiment to rewrite the story and see how accurate my memory was (and whether or not my writing has improved.)


So, to read the original version, written soon after the fact, visit the very first blog post I ever published, here.

(Go ahead. I’ll wait…)

And now, the “new” version:

I was outside in the yard with Adam and my mom. I was painting his picnic table (which had actually been my picnic table as a child) and he was playing nearby. Our dog, Sally the Shih-Tzu Mutt, was also playing nearby.

Suddenly, as I brushed barn red paint on the top of the table, Sally began barking and sprinted across the yard. I didn’t think much of it, as she was always barking at squirrels or rabbits. Soon, though, the incessant and frantic bark made me stop what I was doing to see what was going on.

Sallly, the 9lb shih-tzu, had caught a rat. Not a mouse. A rat. There were grain bins about 100 feet north of our house, and the rats thought the corn stored in them was their own personal buffet that we supplied for their pleasure. One rat had ventured out, though, and by some miracle, been caught by Sally.

Sally was wrestling the rat and had it between her teeth. The rat was injured, for sure, but still putting up a good fight. As I ran towards Sally, I began yelling for her to put the rat down. She did as she was told, but then we had a half-dead rat in the yard.

Now, I’m not one who takes pleasure in killing an animal, even if it is one of the most disgusting ones on the planet. But I also don’t like to watch an animal suffer, and this one clearly was. And so, I did what any farm wife (and certainly many before me and probably many after me) would do. I got the nearest weapon (a stick) and I beat that rat to death with my own two bare hands.

When I returned to my mom and Adam, closer to the house, my mom was in awe. “What was it? Did you kill it? You just killed a rat with a stick?”

When I looked down to check on Adam, he sneezed.

He sneezed. And grass came out his nose.

While his mommy was bravely exterminating rodents and his grandma was looking on admiringly, my baby boy was eating grass, which he then sneezed out his nose. The story, I felt, warranted a blog post, and it became the very first thing I ever published on my blog, On the Banks of Squaw Creek.


It just goes to show…

palest ink

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  1. Good for you! If I would have seen a rat anywhere near my house, I probably would have demanded to my husband that we MOVE AWAY!

  2. One day my wife opened our bathroom door and screamed when she saw a snake curled up next to the toilet. I tried various ways to pull it out, but it had wrapped itself around the plumbing behind the toilet. I had some glue traps, so I put one near the snake and waited a few minutes. Sure enough, it got its head stuck so I could grab it. I put on gloves and pulled and pulled. It was a constrictor (an Eastern Rat Snake) and just wouldn't let go.

    Then my wife wanted a go at it. She put on the gloves and soon was holding a four-foot snake! Now that's a real farm girl!