Rat Glue

Dear boys,

During my NS, there were some gnarly things we did, and when I saw this on the shelf of our local supermarket, it reminded me of some of the things we did during our National Service dealing with rodents.

There are plenty of rats in any decent military camps, food is good, free lodging. Most of the time, soldiers will usually leave the rats alone. Well, too bad this time around, since we were in the Guradroom, bore out of our wits. The mundane guard duty will get to us, and the Rats are getting to us too, as they decided to raid our food supplies.

Your dad has no idea how to catch rats, or deal with them. Your dad’s friend, Jerome, has a couple of idea up his sleeve. They were sinister.

Rat Cage

This is in my opinion, the best way to catch them, it works, like a charm, all the time. The only issue is, you will have a live, scurry rat to deal with in the cage. Oh, there are plenty of ways to deal with a caged, live scurry rat, so I learned from Jerome.

Concussion

One way was to take the cage at both ends, shake and rattle it, HARD. The whole idea was to give the rat inside a concussion, stun it immobile, open the cage, take out the Rat, hold it by its long tail, and swing the rat, WHAP! Onto the ground, dead rat. This is by far, Jerome’s most ‘humane’ method.

Watering

The other way, by your dad’s deviousness, was drowning. With the rat in cage, you dunk it into a pail of water, completely submerge it, until, you know… die.

So I got this rat, and dunk it into the pail, you see the little fella trying to find air, but getting none, little bubbles coming out from it’s nose, as it struggles underwater. I’ll lift the cage up and then it can catch a little breath, then I dunk it again. I repeated this a couple of time, and was actually thinking of not killing the poor thing but, keeping it as a kind of pet.

All this was happening while I was on gate duty, a vehicle drove towards me, and I remembered my job, opened the gate for my camp’s officer, saluted, took down the plate number and time. I walked back to the guardroom and chatted with my friend, and suddenly, I remembered.

So I ran back to my rat in the water, but it was too late. Poor Mickey had drowned.

Rat Glue

That is one messy way to get rid of a rat. We put this sticky gooey stuff on a cardboard, not unlike how we spread peanut butter on a bread, but this was much worse. Right in the middle, we put a small bait. then set it on the place our rat of a friend will patronise. They never failed to turn up.

So there was a day we catch a big one, stuck to the rat glue board, no where to go. The rodent must have exhausted itself trying to unstuck itself. There is no unstuck, once a rat is on a rat glue. Since it is not going anywhere, we went out to do our chores, and leave the thing there as it is.

That’s Bee Bee with her cubs.

Big bad mistake

Bee Bee, our yellow mongrel bitch, somehow got a wind of that little rodent on a gooey platter, decided to make a meal out of it. Of course with that rat stuck, it is not going to be any good, clean meal, and Bee Bee being a dog, will, well, trash, swing and bite that meal free? It did, and she wasn’t successful, and left behind a messed up room, a very dead rat (it was still alive when we left it). So lesson learned, no rat glue.

Rats!

So there you have it, your dad’s ¬†dastardly experience with rat in camp. It is not of the most pleasant experience but it is part and parcel of my life’s story, now they are yours!

Your Dad, The Dog Whisperer II

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Your dad is that scrawny boy in the middle

Dear boys,

During my National Service, there were plenty of time for me to come into contact with dogs. While as a Regimental Policeman, I have to duty to ensure the integrity of the camp I’m guarding are robust. Dogs on the other hand, will always have their ways to get around chain linked fence. If all else fails, they simply stroll into my camp via the very main gates we were guarding.

I’m quite lucky to have served National Service in days where there is no Al Quaeda, no Daesh(ISIS), and security in camps isn’t as tight as it is now. I was posted to the guard room, and technically served as a security guard. I got Mondays to Fridays 8.30am to 5.30am. which was great, the night shifts was covered by the guys in the camp. Life was easy, the only ‘security threat’ was not properly registering the visitors.

Bibi

So there was this brown mongrel. My friend Jerome, called her ‘BiBi’ as she kind of looked like one of the Chief Clerks in the camp. Actually she don’t, but the name stuck. Bibi came and went, like all free roaming dogs do, we feed her when we can and the relationship was very laissez faire. She came into the guard room, we feed her; she leaves, she leaves.

But she was pregnant. we knew that and didn’t think too much of it. Well, we were eighteen then, what do we know about doggie parenting?

Bibi does.

We came to camp one day and the guys who manned to night guard duty told us that Bibi did something in our cell.

You see, back then our guardroom has about 12  holding cells for prisoners, but most of them were unused, and became makeshift storerooms. although a couple of them were clean and unoccupied. Other than the stacks of newspapers we put there.

So Bibi went into that cell, made herself cozy, by spreading the newspapers out. Promptly gave birth to her offspring there.

It was the most b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l thing to me. The experience is not anything I could have had. Bibi was there, there was 11 of them, but 3 died at birth. the rest of the 7 scurried to Bibi’s nipples for their suckle of life. They all scrambled like hungry little rodents, and despite of their eyes has yet to open, they know where the nipples are, and homed in on it. There were one or 2 weaker ones, who couldn’t get to the nipples for refuel, I helped moved them a little and positioned these weaker ones for their nourishment.

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Bibi with her brood

Bibi trusts me.

I didn’t know maternal instincts until I met Bibi. Of course her giving birth wasn’t a total secret in camp, many of the camp guys camp to see and yeah, that’s all they get, a look, they couldn’t touch the pups, they could try and all they got was a low warning growl from Bibi. These guys were strangers; for me and my RP friends, we held her, we could hold her children. There was no issue. For me, to have a dog trust me instinctively and intrinsically is one of the greatest honour I could have as a human being. It is a big deal as an 18 year old then.

The pups were small, I can hold one in my hand, and as pups, they grew fast and grew so full of energy. And so playful too.

Unfortunately, sometimes, ignorance and playfulness can cost them their lives.

Puppy vs 3 Tonner

I came to camp one day and learned the unfortunate demise of one of the pups. The night duty guys told me that one of the puppies, a lovely little brown patch of furry energy, decided to take a nap on the road, just outside my guardroom, the wee hours of the morning.

A 3 tonner came and went, unfortunately didn’t see the puppy, well it was night and dark, the little mutt was barely visible. The result was predictable, road kill.

Blackie

I think the most fortunate of all the pups was this little black thing called ‘Blackie’. He was picked up by a Commando Major, and the soldier took it in ever since. Even when the Major retired and joined the Police Force, Blackie followed him. I’m sure the Major would have given the mutt a good life, all the way to the end.

I’m still in touch with the Major every now and then, and he does tells me Blackie’s still with him, but that has been a couple of years since I last caught up with the old soldier, I wonder if Blackie’s still alive, or old age has finally caught up with the mutt.

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Jerome is that big guy.