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TylerS

A small dog and big rats (true story)

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TylerS

Funny (and true) story to lighten the mood. Enjoy!:

Many moons ago, when I was just a wee lad, I spent a couple weeks during the summer at my grandparents' place in northeast Minnesota. You know the scene: small, iron-tinged lake surrounded by vast stands of pine and poplar. Croaking bullfrogs in the morning, splashing bass in the afternoon, and fireflies at night. An outdoorsman's paradise (and one of the best ruffed grouse hunting areas in the state, I might add).

I couldn't have been more than 10 or 11. My cousins and I took to the woods every chance we got, cutting trails, whittling swords and guns out of saplings, or setting snares for critters, even though we never caught any. When it got hot, which was often, we swam. When it got cool in the evenings, we fired up the wood-burning sauna and sweated away the grime of the day before plunging into the icy lake 100 yards away.

Anyway, halfway through this particular week, it began to rain. And rain, and rain. I don't recollect how much water was collected in grandpa's rain gauge, but I do know the lake rose a good foot and a half, flooding lowland areas that hadn't seen standing water for decades. We wasted time playing cribbage or other board games. Grandma even let us ransack the root cellar to see what had been stashed away and forgotten by time. The days flew by, but eventually, the rain stopped and the sun popped out, prompting the immediate donning of swim trunks and a B-line for the lakeshore.

My cousins owned a small dog, a terrier of some sort, named Skipper. He was a stick of dynamite in every sense of the word: Small package, but a lot of power. That dog created more havok and started more fights with the creatures of his territory than all the wolves, lynx and fox combined.

While the cousins and I frolicked in the now-turbid waters of the expanded lake, Skipper made his daily pass by grandpa's cabin to assess his domain. As he approached a small outcrop of pine trees near shore -- pine trees now surrounded by water -- he disappeared into an old ice house long abandoned and forgotten, which was currently waterlogged and nearly floating.

We thought nothing of it, and continued our serious business of collecting frogs.

Suddenly, out popped a rather haughty terrier, carrying a proportionately impressive vermin. It was a rat of the likes I'd never seen, and by now likely will never see again given the propensity for one's mind to exaggerate size and magnitude through the years. It my mind's eye, the rat was enormous, bulging on either side of Skipper's mouth as if he were carrying a large water balloon ready to pop.

In a very matter-of-fact fashion, the dog plopped his prize on the manicured lawn and, without nary a sign or gesture indicating his intentions, devoured the rat in a few bites. My aunt shrieked. We young ones giggled. My uncle and grandfather gazed in awe.

"What was that?!" my aunt asked, her hands in front of her quivering lips.

"A rat!" I yelled, emphatically. "And a big one, too!"

Auntie made a groaning sound like she'd eaten one too many pickled eggs, and ran up the steps to the main house.

The rest of us stayed to watch, as Skipper tore through hide and muscle, crunched bone and, finally, sucked down a lengthy rat tail as if it were a spaghetti noodle.

"I can't believe he ate the whole thing," my cousin remarked, a bull frog dangling from his clenched fist.

But what happened next, nobody could have guessed.

Presumably finished with his first course, Skipper returned to the buffet line and emerged, once more, with a hefty rat.

Again, we stood in stunned silence as he ate the rat; whiskers and all.

After the third rat, my uncle made some comment about Skipper not getting supper that night. After the fifth or sixth rat, a now very strained and gluttonous Skipper decided he'd had enough, too (although it is hard to say whether he actually was full, or had simply cleaned his plate, so to speak). Think Cool Hand Luke after he ate all those boiled eggs. Yes, Skipper was finally full.

And he lived to be 17, so the rats didn't do him in. Neither did fights with wildcats, and dozens of scraps with skunks.

He likely would be alive today, a double-decade dog, had he not eaten the wire twist-tie from a bag of bread a few years back. Skipper successfully digested a half dozen jumbo rats that fateful day long ago, but the tiny thread of metal was too much.

I'll always think of him, rather fondly, as the Joey Chestnut of the dog world.

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leechlake

funny and well written!

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Bobby Bass

Nicely done, I'll bet you have some more stories!

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TruthWalleyes

I was always impressed with how much corn and cow dung our Labs could eat. A little disgusted when they'd lick up the sloppy terds.

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TylerS

Thanks for the compliments, and yes, plenty more stories where that came from.

I have two wirehairs now that, given the chance, would definitely eat themselves to death. I still can't believe that little terrier could pack away so much rat-a-tooey without getting sick. Had that happened a few years down the road after Old School came out, I would have begun chanting: "Frank the Tank! Frank the Tank!"

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CANOPY SAM

Yuck! sick But great story! laugh

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pikestabber

Excellent, Tyler! Great read. You have a knack for creating vivid details (an outdoor book in your future?) wink

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  • Your Responses - Share & Have Fun :)

    • derbier122x
      Mine says it expires 2/25 this year. Either that or it' too work out to read.
    • mrpike1973
      Fished 4 days this last weekend. 1 tullibee, 1 walleye, sun up to sun down drilled and moved several times. Fun to fish but came home and limited out on sunnies on a small lake near me the allure of the big pond is over for me. Just my 2 cents good luck and have fun if you go.
    • Ron Vroom
      When I purchased them at a sports show, the guy doing the demo recommended the small duckbill pliers he was using sold by Menard’s. I tried using a small needle nose as well as a leather man, and ruined quite a few. I got the duck bills at Menard’s and that was the ticket, just like the guy said! I think the pressure is spread more evenly over the stop.
    • Alex wilhelmi
      That's what I want to hear. Thank you sir
    • monstermoose78
      It’s still a blast to fish
    • Alex wilhelmi
      thank you tom sawyer good to know,
    • Tom Sawyer
      Walleye numbers are strong. Unfortunate for the fisherman, the perch forage base on the lake has exploded. Lots of 3" - 5" food for the walleye = a tough bite....  
    • Alex wilhelmi
      Ok guys just a question not looking for places to go or tips. Just a question about the fish numbers. I've read multiple reviews that are good and bad, some say the Indians are over fishing it, others say all the sleeper houses are over fishing it. That and when the DNR does their number count. Walleye numbers are really low. Others say it's awesome fishing. But the bass and big walleye and Pike are eating all the young eyes. It's a huge lake it has to be good! Friend of mine went up with a portable Last weekend for the tournament and a 2.5 lb tullibee won the whole thing. And he didn't catch a thing. Long trip from Iowa to get beat down like that. I want to fish this lake so bad, with a portable or sleeper. But is it worth it? Fish numbers good or not? Thanks guys
    • Wanderer
      Yah, that lake is going to be crazy busier than normal this weekend. Another poster asked about rental wheelhouses a week or so ago and they were pointed toward C l I s t.  You could try that as well since they’re dealer based.
    • Sculpin
      Not sure who you have tried,  but it can be difficult as a result of the Perch Extravaganza. I have to believe somebody has a shack yet. I'll throw out some name's: Jerry Brandts,  Eddy Lybacks, Kevin McQuoids (Macs Twin Bay), Hunter Winfields, Dickies, Castaways, Agate Bay, Hunters Point, Barnacles, Red Door, Twin Pines, Garrison Sports, Rocky Reef, Appledorns, KJ's Ice fishing, Randys Rentals. Good Luck, hope you find a shack
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