Of course, this is the answer to the question, “How do you make a dead rat float?”

I was walking to work Tuesday morning when I saw a dead rat lying on the sidewalk. I could tell it was dead because:

1) It was lying motionless on the sidewalk
2) It was stiff and on its side
3) Did I mention it wasn’t moving?

Now I’m not a fan of vermin running loose on the streets, but at least with rats (unlike the typical Vancouver resident with no fixed address) you don’t have to worry about them pestering you for money and they rarely start muttering/talking/yelling to themselves, so I generally believe in live and let live – they can stay out of my way and I’ll stay out of their dumpsters. While I’m not going to go out of my way to do them in, it doesn’t mean I’m upset that people trap and poison them – however, I was feeling a little sad that a living creature met such an inglorious end (from certain clues at the “crime scene” it appears that the rat succumbed to poison).

I mentally shrugged and continued on my way and then, about half a block further along, I saw someone walking his dog off-leash. I don’t know if Vancouver has a leash law, but I figured that I would at least let the guy know there was a dead rat on the sidewalk so he could take steps to ensure his dog didn’t decide to make it his new chew toy.

I let him know about the dead rat but I wasn’t expecting the reaction I got; not only did he tell me that he’d seen it there last night but it wasn’t dead at the time (oooooookay), but when I told him I was mentioning it so he could make sure his dog didn’t grab it he just kept saying “Yeah, yeah, yeah…” as I talked, obviously not worried about the possibility of his pet taking a bite out of a poisoned rat carcass that could also be carrying who knows what?

I’m happy that the dog owner felt confident enough that his pet wasn’t going to eat something it shouldn’t, but I went from feeling sorry for one animal (the rat) to feeling sorry for two (the dog) because when I owned dogs, even though I felt I knew all of their quirks and habits, I still wouldn’t take a chance with something as potentially dangerous as a dead rat. Perhaps they walked past it last night while it was still alive and the dog ignored it, but who knows?

I guess I’ll look on the bright side and say that it’s unlikely the rat is carrying listeria – after all, to the best of my knowledge Maple Leaf doesn’t use rat in their lunch meat products.

AUTHOR’S NOTE - The previous paragraph not only adds some sick humour, but it completes my Canadian Content requirement for the calendar year.

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