Andrea Davis had no idea she would find a small rat in her cow’s water through one night. But when she did, she was neither terrified nor disgusted by the rodent. Instead, she helped it out and tried to get it warm. Had she not helped the animal, it probably would have died from exhaustion or hypothermia. Davis admits she finds rats a nuisance in Colorado where she has cats, goats, pigs, and cows. Nonetheless, her natural impulse was to save and rescue. Her post why she went out of her way to ensure the rat lived will have you thinking about the life of animals differently.
Someone fell into the cow’s water trough tonight, and I noticed when i went to give night cookies. He was a young rat, not a baby but not an adult. He seemed to be almost all outta swim by the time i got there, and when i lifted him out and put him on the ground, he could barely move, just rolled over, shivering. So i got a towel to dry him off. He was just exhausted, and maybe hypothermia was beginning to set in. But he lifted his head as i dried him, wiggled his ears as i rubbed the top of his head with a towel, relaxed as i got his belly. But he was still shivering, so i set him up with a hot water bottle to lie on and one of our travel cages to protect him from the cats and chickens. He would fall asleep while i tried to get his circulation going. A belly scratch resulted in a little twitchy leg kick, like a dog. He would squint his eyes when i found a good spot, just like my cats or my goats, cows or pigs. Soon he was nibbling the soaked chicken grain. Once his blood sugar came back up, he started to make tunnels in the towels and realizing he was in a cage, started to climb the walls. It was time to go back home to his family. Even as he regained his strength, he didn’t bite, just crawled into my hand and sniffed everything curiously, crawled around using his funny tail as balance. I have been chastised for not killing the rats who live here. Yes, they are naughty and chew up things they shouldn’t, get into places I don’t want them and have way too many babies. But there was no reason I should not have responded to his need for help, no reason to wish him ill will, and i have no good reason to try to kill him or his kind. Had I left him there in the trough, he certainly would have died. Had I walked away after getting him out, he may not have been able to recover, at least not as quickly with as little discomfort. He didn’t ask to be born, but now that he is here, i owe him whatever i can provide to keep him safe. We all owe that to anyone who finds themselves lurched into this dimension. We owe it to anyone to lessen the suffering they experience in bodies which feel pain, hunger, discomfort, when we can. And whenever we can, we should act in ways that avoid causing pain or taking life from anyone who wants to live. Why would we want to do anything different than that? I was happy to see him happy as he scurried away. The others popped their heads up through their holes as he joined them, and i am sure he will have a wonderful story to tell tonight. Shopping list: tiny birdcage ladders for the water troughs.