A rat terrier purportedly holds the world record for disposing of rats: 2,501 rats in 7 hours, all said to be in the same barn. After adopting a 3-year-old rat terrier a few weeks ago, I am closer to believing this seemingly impossible statistic. My nickname for her—actually my superhero name for her—is The Speckled Blur. Over a short distance, I think she’d give a cheetah a run for its money.
She was abandoned at my veterinarian’s office about four months ago, along with her four puppies, all suffering from parvovirus, a particularly nasty virus that attacks the digestive system. Three of the puppies died within minutes of arriving, but the vet was able to save the mother and one puppy. She named the mother Cinder and the daughter Ella.
The skin of rat terriers is speckled with dark areas of pigmentation, or ticking, which may account for the name Cinder. Or maybe the vet was hoping for a Cinderella story. Or perhaps both.
Ella was adopted almost immediately, but until we came along with our glass slipper, Cinder had failed to find a home. It’s not difficult to understand this. This little dog is a handful. My wife calls her Binary Dog because Cinder is either full on, racing around the yard breaking the sound barrier, or full off, curled up on your lap, sleeping for hours.
We’ve decided that the dog will either keep us young or send us both to an early grave. Mostly, though, we’ve been wondering about cause and effect. The day after we adopted Cinder, we spotted a rat coming out of our tool shed. What happened next is another story, which I think I will call Zoom/Snap/Crunch.