Twas' a sultry spring day in the backyard. Birds fluttered about, anxiously nibbling on whatever birds eat, squirrels chattered away in the trees above and faithful canine companions kept the company of their owners.
MacGregor was one such canine companion. An aging beast, he consistently displayed the loyalty that only man's best friend can offer. Some call him stoic, others regal. Anyway you put it, he's a damn good dog.
On this day though, he had made up his mind that he would do something only a mother could love. One of his loving human friends asked him, in playful fashion to "Get your toy!" The yellow beast faithfully obliged, seeking out the nearest "toy," Mac the Dog jawed what seemed to be a chunk of dirt. The human naturally asked him politely to drop the dirt but the alpha male wasn't having it. His jowls oozed with canine saliva as they lubed up his prize, preparing for esophageal peristalsis. His human friend then demanded to take the prize, but again MacGregor's stubborness took over and the pleas went unheeded. He was the man of the house and would not stand for some visitor telling him what chunks of dirt he could and could not eat.
The human friend then resorted to telling MacGregor's human roommate about this dirt digesting development, as attempts at yanking the chunk out failed. The human counterpart proceeded to yell at the beast, who had since slinked-tail-between-legs onto his dog bed. The shouting seemed to work as MacGregor began to reverse the movements of his tongue to eject the foul contents of his mouth.
It spewed out with a slight gag from the beast. Through the bubbly white canine drippings a discovery was made, this was no harmless piece of dirt ("God made dirt and dirt don't hurt." That's what I used to say when something that I wanted to eat dropped on the ground. I wasn't particularly religious in those days so I'm not really sure where that came from, but I digress.) It was the dessicated, quarter-decomposed body of a neighbourhood rat that MacGregor had decided to impress his human friend with. Needless to say I'm not judging anyone who has an inclination to use dead rats as toys, it's just not my thing.
MacGregor then looked sorrowfully at his roommate as the oozing rat corpse took it's place filthfully upon his bed. More yelling ensued as his roommate turned to the closet behind him to remove the rodent. The crisis had been diverted, all would be well in rat-eating-dog-land.
As the roommate turned back to be rid of Mac's foul prize, it was no more. All that was left was a gulping dog who had swallowed the entire rat in one fell swoop. His outstretched throat noises and a satisfying dog burp were the only sounds that penetrated the ears of the human onlookers. They blinked at each other in amazement at the rodent swallowing techniques of the beast that laid before them.
"That's disgusting," they agreed.
The aftermath of the incident saw a quick phone call to the local veterinary clinic which advised them that all should be well, although he might vomit the creature at a later time (which he has yet to do.) They also said it's not uncommon for dogs to eat such things (see: Serpell, James (1995). The Domestic Dog; its evolution, behaviour and interactions with people, p267. 0-521-42537-9.) Apparently domestic dogs have more scavenger instincts compared to wild dogs, because of their lack of hunting experience over thousands of years with humans.
I don't blame the dog for eating the rat nor will I hold it against him because like the scorpion said to the frog, "I'm a scorpion, it's my nature."
Chew on that.