When my oldest son visited home for extended periods of time while attending college, he would bring with him two of his favorite pets — Jack (Daniels) and Jim (Beam).
Both were rats, animals this mom detested from the “get-go.” In my head, such critters were disease-ridden vermin who were welcome to live outside, but in my home…all bets were usually off. In this case, however, my love for my son altered my natural inclination.
Placed in their cage in one of the bathrooms, Jack and Jim became my companions every time I sat on the throne (hey, we all do!). To this day I remember how these ‘once’ intruders transformed themselves into fond and friendly guests. Having come to know them through observation and interaction, I actually became big fans of theirs. They were social, funny, and rather smart. I began to love to watch them and would come to understand why my son had gotten them to begin with.
In time, both would eventually succumb to age, but the memories and deeper understanding Jack and Jim would leave behind regarding themselves and their species remained present.
SO imagine my horror when one of my daughters recounted a tale regarding a recent trip she took between Union Station in Washington D.C. and Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Taking the train in order to enjoy a long weekend at home, my daughter witnessed the brutal murder of a rat which took place in a fast food establishment inside the train station.
Apparently, the manager noticed the rat running around the joint and took it upon himself to corner it and stomp it to partial death with the underside of his shoe. Witnessing the cheers and chuckles from the rest of the staff, this so-called hero (manager) then tossed the rat (still alive, broken, and twitching) out the door. My daughter explained how she and so many other witnesses stood absolutely still, unable to move and mortified by what they had just seen. I can fully relate as I did the same while she was recanting the tale. My jaw dropped open at the vulgar nature of such a brutal killing. At least put the animal out of its misery before kicking it to the curb, literally.
As it has been proven that rats are literally as smart as dogs, the thought of that rat enduing such a vicious beating irks me to the core. Rats are loving, clean, social, and communicative animals. They are also able to recognize pain in another and are capable of demonstrating empathy, which is more than I can say for the manager and his crew.
Yes, I know there are countless numbers killed every day, but this particular incident speaks “cruelty” and “insensitivity” to a degree difficult to look past. The story of this rat broke my heart. The act was inhumane and should never be repeated.
I bring it to your attention simply to share and make you think.
Heartless acts such as these should be called out and used as motivators to wake people up and compel them to do better. As “one man’s rat, could be another man’s child some day,” not to share this story would mean that I agreed with such cruelty or am content to sit idly by and allow such acts to occur and possibly escalate.
I am not and neither should you be. The incident deserves more than a “shake of the head” or an “eye roll,” given that some indicate that this is acceptable behavior today by the mere act of doing. Don’t you think?
Jack and Jim would certainly agree.