Not content with foxy assignations, small dog has had another run-in today, this time with a large member of the genus Rattus Norvegicus, otherwise known as the brown rat.
Our garden slopes up towards an area of ancient woodland, which teems with all manner of flora and fauna. Apparently, of particular note are interesting woodland plants including toothwort, coralroot bittercress, early purple orchid and goldilocks buttercup. Recently cut coppice and the woodland edge around the meadow is rich in invertebrates with the woodland grasshopper being one of the rarest and most conspicuous of the areas insect life. There are known to be badgers, foxes, squirrels, rabbits and many other smaller mammals such as mice and voles, most of which look cute and cuddly.
However rats fit into neither of those categories.
When first spotted it was casually rummaging through a pile of garden clippings, unaware of the whirlwind of terrier about to launch in its direction. Small dog is descended from a long line of distinguished ratters and takes her duties very seriously. With an unearthly squealing she rocketed up the steps, two at a time, and flew over the low brick wall. Ratty initially stood his ground, at least until small dog appeared in full flight over the wall, heading in his direction, at which point he decided to beat a hasty retreat under the hedge, closely followed, a mere whisker's breadth behind, by incensed small dog. ....... a dog with a mission.
We stood watching from the kitchen window, fully expecting small dog to emerge, engaged in mortal combat.
Had the rat summoned reinforcements who even then were pinning small dog to the ground to exact a bloody revenge?
Of course not. That would just be fanciful and ridiculous.
A few minutes later, small dog emerged jauntily from beneath the hedge, with the air of a job well done. Naturally, she hadn't actually caught the rat, but she had given it a damn good chasing, which in her estimation was a success.
She spent the following 10 minutes scrutinising every millimetre of ground, recently covered by the rat, committing its scent to memory for future reference.
Unfortunately , as we watched the drama unfold, I did not have the presence of mind to grab my camera but to give you an idea of the relative scale of the combatants...........