A little history on the Rat Terrier, via Wikipedia:
"The Rat Terrier was a common farm dog in the early 1900s, bred for catching barn rats in haystacks. Purportedly a rat terrier holds the record for most rats killed in a single infested barn: 2501 rats in 7 hours."
So Barley was pretty much bred to hunt things. We've suspected as much just by observing him daily - everytime we let him out to "do his thing", he stops just outside the door and drops to his belly. He then does an Army crawl (which is pretty hilarious because, well, he's a dog) where his belly hits the earth and his slowly creeps forward with his paws while he scopes out the yard.
Sometimes he's sad when he discovers that there's nothing out there at all, but sometimes, just sometimes, our backyard bunnies are having one of their Rabbit Social Conventions. Seriously - sometimes there are about 20 rabbits out in our little backyard! I have no idea why, except that they must really love all our lovely weeds and clovers out there!
Anyways, if the Rabbits are out socializing (Clover Cocktail, anyone?), once Barley spots 'em he takes off like a rocket. Seriously, that dog can run. Which is all fine and dandy and fun and games, until someone gets hurt. But of course Barley would never hit the end of his leash causing my arm to jerk out wildly and gash open my hand on the door strikeplate. Ah-hem.
So where was I? Oh yes, now that you've got that little info on our little Rat Terrier, let me explain why he fails so miserably at being a Rat Terrier.
The other night I was brushing my teeth in our main bathroom while Barley and Tom were reading in our bedroom with the door closed. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a dark shape going across the hall floor.
My first thought: Oh, it's just Barley throwing another one of his balls and any second now he'll run after it and get it.
My second though: Wait... but Barley's in the bedroom....
My third thought: Well, it looks like maybe Mel (our Jird) escaped his cage and is running free...
My fourth thought: WAIT, Mel CAN'T escape! That cage is like a freaking PRISON!!
My fifth thought: THEN WHAT THE HELL IS...
And it was at that point that the mouse scurrying down our hallway promptly did a 360 and FREAKIN' FLEW down the hallway into the living room! Like lightning I tell you!
At that moment Tom came running out of the bedroom asking what was wrong, Barley was barking his head off, and I was trying not to choke on the toothpaste while in the midst of screaming and jumping around. Yes, even though the furry cute little mouse was already in the opposite end of the house, I was all acting like it was a giant bloodthirsty raccoon coming to eat me at any moment.
Did you know that I really hate raccoons? Let's just say I've had some horrifying experiences with those nasty critters, and I will die happy if I never see another one again.
Eventually I mumble-sputter to Tom that there's a mouse in the house and it ran into the living room. So we did what any sane couple does on a Friday night at midnight:
We go hunt it down.
We looked all around the living room, under couches, moved tables, and eventually decided that it was probably hiding in the fireplace rocks, right between the fireplace and the wall.
We grab a flashlight and a can of compressed air, coax Barley over there - thinking that he'll see the mouse if it's there and hunt it down like he's always trying to do with the rabbits, right? And besides, he's a RAT TERRIER, for goodness sakes! It's like his JOB!
We get ready - and then POOF! We sprayed the canned air into the crack and the mouse came FLYING out at us! We screamed and jumped around - (I totally did the classic "OMG MOUSE!" move like you see in the those cartoons, and yes, I admit that I stood on top of the furniture and wouldn't get down, all the while screaming) - while Barley started barking his head off because we were screaming and jumping around, and he COMPLETELY MISSED the mouse! That's right - he NEVER. EVEN. SAW IT.
In our opinion? He's failed as a Rat Terrier. From now on, he'll be known as Barley the Un-Rat Terrier.
The mouse ran off under some furniture and must've escaped somehow, because we looked and looked and never found it.
And the whole time Barley was busy:
Looking up at the ceiling.
Pfft, Rat Terrier my butt.
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