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Critters of New York

POV: You Are a Rat In a Crowded Enclosure Full of Dogs

But, of course, if you airbrush the rat out, this is just a video of a beautiful dog ballet in Tompkins Square Park.

1:41 PM EDT on May 25, 2022

A group of people and dogs surround a rat that has leapt into the air at a dog park.

Tag yourself, I’m the lady with her mouth agape. (Twitter/@cancelcouture69)

Move over, Mets rat, because Woozy Dog Run Rat has captured our hearts.

A dog parent, who asked to go by their social media handle, @cancelcouture69, was taking their pup Sally for a stroll in the Tompkins Square Park dog run on Tuesday afternoon (little dog side) when "all of a sudden I heard a lot of barking at the big dog side, which happens a lot because the girls love to fight," they said.

"I looked over and there was a rat crossing the park, and instead of feeling scared or disgusted, my diseased brain told me to whip out my phone immediately," they told Hell Gate. (We very much appreciate this impulse.) "It only lasted those 15 seconds. I'm pretty sure the rat scurried away safely. It did not even seem fazed. Nyc dog owners protect their babies at all costs."

Dog runs are some of our favorite places to enjoy controlled chaos in New York City, and leer jealously at all those people who get to stroll around sipping iced coffee while their Best Friends roll and sprint and play.

A few things stood out to our trained eye:

  1. That rat genuinely appears to be minding its own business, trying to cross the dog park in peace (the rats actually run Tompkins, FYI). There's a moment at the 5 second mark where it stands on its legs and looks up at the Dog People with an appealing glance: Can you people control your dogs?? Sheesh.
  2. The dogs are weirded out! They keep wanting to bite and thrash this rat, but it's just too gross. Too gross!
  3. The two Dog Dads at the center of the frame are exhibiting an incredibly synchronized discipline technique, putting their bodies between the (very much alive and writhing!) rat and their ravenous but confused pups, pointing at them to get their attention. It reminded me of that viral stunt where the two guys give each other the finger, but this is Real. (Unless this is some kind of Rat Drowning Bucket stunt, and we can expect some city contracts to start flowing.)

We'll give @cancelcouture69 the last word here: "Everybody knows nyc rats are built different."

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