Monday, October 30, 2006

An American Halloween Tail

This weekend provided an unexpected glimpse into what horror movies are all about. Part of the story involves a plumbing emergency.
About a week ago today one of our toilets started backing up, again. We called a plumbing company, big, name brand, and arranged to have some guys show up on Saturday. We knew it was going to cost at least $800 and probably $2000, because there would be digging involved.
So Saturday morning, about 3 hours late, we got a call from the dispatcher asking if we wouldn't mind rescheduling on Sunday. We insisted that we would, in fact, mind. And an hour later (or half an hour after they said) a couple of men arrived. One scrambled on the roof, to operate the endoscopy camera. It's not really an endoscopy but the term is descriptive enough.
No, it's not scary yet.
So we locked the dogs in our pool area, to keep them from annoying the plumbers and escaping through the side gate.
After a few hours the plumbers told us they were going to have to saw through the concrete outside our bedroom, dig a hole and cut into the pipe, and install a clear-out access point. They would come out at nine on Sunday. It would probably cost 2k.
Still not the scary part. Don't worry, it's coming.
So about 10:45am, the plumbers arrived and started jackhammering our back yard. The dogs, locked in the pool area, were circling around the pool, barking at the neighbors, the usual stuff. Lobo, the dumb-as-a-post shepherd, started digging under the shrubs abutting the garage.
The plumbers stopped. We have a three-inch pipe, not the four-inch that they thought, and they'd need different tools. They'd go to the shop, pick them up (if they were there) and finish up later that day.
Here it comes.
While the plumbers were gone, we let the dogs out from the pool area, and lobo immediately started digging into a hole under the pool steps. It was apparently connected to the hole on the other side of the fence that he had been working earlier. I started hearing little squeals. Lobo kept thrusting his paw deep into the hole.
It was then that I noticed a cute, pink little baby mouse, screaming his tiny pointy head off; wriggling in the dirt just under Lobo. But only for a second, because in the next instant the mouse was trapped within Dogulous' powerful jaws. Still screaming like David "Al" Hedison in THE FLY.
Ellen came out the back door and I managed to divert her attention before she saw Dogulous with a tail and a leg wiggling around the front of her mouth. And before the next little baby mouse met the exact same fate. And the third. It appears that Lobo was pulling them out of the nest and Dogulous was taking care of the spoils. The Living Spoils.
It was like a miniature Darfur.
Look, I know this kind of thing goes on all the time in the back yard, usually at night. I just haven't ever been around to SEE it. Now I can't look Dogulous in her big brown eyes without seeing that tail whipping around, just before sliding down her throat, where the hapless mouse will meet his brothers and sisters just before stomach acids mercifully end their brief marsupial lives. I tell ya, I'm going to need therapy.
Oh, and reportedly the plumbers are finishing up the job this afternoon.


Anonymous said...

I'm no biologist, but I think your dogs got into a rat's nest. Big, juicy, yummy pinkies, feeder rats, the kind you buy at the pet store as as a treat for your rosy boa.

Mice don't tend to nest outdoors if they can help it: LA alleys swarm with rats. If I recall, your house is alley-adjacent. And baby mice would be really, really small.

Good dogs. Teamwork!


erth2meggs said...

Maybe they were Pocket Gophers. mdh

Danielk said...

"Pocket Gophers?" What a splendid concept! I LOVE that! Never even heard of 'em, but now I want a whole set for my very own!