Lilac and Lime

Contrasts in colour, contrasts in life – Mary Bruce

Tyke the Terminator



Tyke is a staffie who co-owned the property where our current garden flat is situated. He and his sister, Carmen the daschund (more frequently known to us as Daschdog) were very different in temperament but both full of character.

This post recalls one of my favourite Tyke moments.

A sectional title development was being built less than half a kilometre away and both the main house and our home were occasionally visited by long grey rats. In our case it was only one, but it was a very tenacious squatter and took months to evict.

One evening while working late on the computer, a movement on top of a kitchen cupboard behind a pile of baskets caught my eye. Coincidentally, Cobus (the landlord) was locking up their house at the same time and asked if I’d come any closer to catching the rat. By then we had all tried most means, fair and foul, and were feeling a bit desperate. I’d had it jump into my lap from cupboards on two occasions and shrunk in embarrassment from the memory that I’d screamed on one of them – I just don’t do things like that.

Cobus and Tyke came over to look at where it had last been seen so the kitchen was a bit crowded and the rat had disappeared into one of the baskets. Cobus poked around on top of the cupboard, I think with a broom handle. Whatever it was, something struck home and the airborne missile landed with no warning straight on top of Cobus. As sure as I’m sitting here, he screamed and threw the basket so far into the courtyard that it took ten minutes to find later on. (That’s my scream negated).

Tyke had initially joined the search with gusto but had lost interest after a while and was sitting leaning against one of the kitchen cupboards. To have a better mind picture of what went down, you need to understand that Tyke was a mature staffie with a significant midriff. He had sat down with both back legs straight out and the tummy arranged over them ; he was doing his ablutions with long succulent licks and his tummy was bobbing around something like a Babapapa (for those who remember the TV show) ; for those who don’t : like an animated water balloon.

He looked up at Cobus’ yell and both of us gazed at him in disbelief as the rat shot straight under the nearest cover which happened to be a heaving tummy mass. His bemusement at our antics and exhortations to him to do something were cut short when he glanced down and finally noticed that his tummy was still bobbing and swaying around although he’d ceased licking it a couple of minutes before. After a few seconds spent pondering this phenomenon, he suddenly flew upright and dispatched the rat into its next life with little ado.

It is rather mean to laugh at our saviour, but the mental picture will linger for much longer.


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