A few years ago, when they tore down the old Tom Patterson Theatre, we began to have…visitors.

Our first reaction was to call someone to remove them, but I soon learned that this was not going to be possible. All I found were people who wanted to charge me a prince’s ransom to spread poison around my yard, and they refused to tell me what kind of poison it was, for professional reasons. Not that I would ever use poison, of course, as we all know that poison kills animals higher up on the food chain, like owls, foxes, and possibly your neigbour’s dog. Or worse.

So we decided to do it ourselves. And we found a wonderful tool to discourage impertinent freeloaders. We call it ‘The Rat Whacker.” It is certain, fast, and deadly. It has been used in New Zealand to stop invasive species dead in their tracks. In New Zealand, they don’t even have to pick up the evidence, as it apparently provides a tasty organic snack for native wildlife.

Fortunately for our family, though, the problem is now solved, because in a completely unconnected decision, we got a puppy. He turned out to be part border collie, part labrador, and part assassin. He can go from zero to 100 in six seconds, and we haven’t seen a whisker since he was a year old. (He doesn’t eat them, though, they have just found more congenial accommodations.)

But that makes me think…

Why is there no one in Stratford who makes a living with a dog and a ferret? Rat catchers are mentioned in Shakespeare; it’s perfect for us. And when you consider what it costs to discourage or remove unwelcome guests, that person would make a fine living.

Perhaps we could talk to the man who harasses the geese in the park. He only makes about $30,000 a year doing that. High time he made a change of profession; the City seriously needs to save money. And he already has a dog. He just needs a ferret. If you wanted to get touristy about it, he could even get himself a pair of baggy pants and a really cool hat.

How Stratford is that???