Sometimes the sword is mightier than the pen, but the pen is always more human than the sword.

A lot has been spoken and written, and more still will be be uttered, about the breathtaking and sub-human savagery unleashed in Paris in the past day. Others will comment about the sadness, the fear and the evil; I’ll add my voice to the chant, but I’ll not try to outdo anyone in grief.

Instead, I’ll say that as a doctor, my job is not just to save lives but to enrich them. When people wonder why they are alive, part of what I do is to step in and help them try to make sense of it. When they ask why they should keep going, I use what small wisdom I have to guide them. 

And so, in Doc Rat, I try to spread the philosophies I have learned, bought by years of my own experience and the life experience and losses of many, many other people. Anthropomorphic animals may not look as if they are seriously taking on the real world problems of the environment, overpopulation, racism and terrorism, but in a sense the issues that bunnies, mice, wolves and foxes face in the Jennerverse are still fixed with the same tool kit as we may use on our own problems. 

“No-one should want to hurt anyone,” cried Flopsy. And that’s true. Whatever the pressing problem that brings people into conflict up against other people, no one should ever want to hurt anyone. No-one should feel happy to have hurt anyone. The moment anyone can feel okay about having hurt someone is the moment that person has become more animal than human. That person’s punishment will be worse than anything we can inflict in revenge, because a life not connected to other souls is a shallow life without meaning. 

Indeed, you don’t have to have reached the stage of hurting someone to become sub-human. You can be sub-human just with the preparedness to hurt, the preparedness to disregard. Conversely, the preparedness not to hurt and not to disregard, even to our cost, that state of mind is the membership dues we pay for the privilege of calling ourselves an individual of the human race. 

“Quarrydog says “It’s not okay to hurt people.” Boss Alpha Blutenstein says “Sometimes the violence we accept for granted in our own generation will look shocking to the next.” Broken people, broken things and broken relationships will be fixed, not discarded, by Doc Rat and the other healers, and when their recipients build up the strength to do so, they say “Thank you for saving me.”

We only have one life to walk our mortal journey. Sometimes, the lives of some of us will be unfairly brought to an end by the physical strength of others. Violently, in fear, in regret, in terror. I have no answer to redress that. But I can only say that to mean anything at all, our mortal journey must also be a human one. Those of us who call ourselves human know we are this or we are nothing.

And so, what is the means by which the pen counters the bloody might of the sword? In the face of face of a massacre of people for the simple reason that they were there? Only this dearly-bought wisdom: It is impossible to feel okay about taking a life and still be truly human.

The greatest self-punishment of a killer is to exist empty and damned.


Quarrydog and the detectives

Sit back and enjoy the continuing adventure of Quarrydog, as he deals with his role of bringing peace to a divided society. Doc Rat and Nurse Mary have to stitch together the torn fabric of… Look, this comic is part social activism and part funny jokes, okay?


Rat Pause

For the next two weeks, there will be a break in the story line, while I build up a bit of a stock of strips to carry me through the coming month. I have a commitment to attend a doctors’ convention here in Melbourne and then FurWAG in Perth. With those two requirements, if I try to keep up with the current story strips, I am going to fall short.

So, I will have to put Doc Rat on hiatus. Sorry. But to keep the site interesting for you, I will be showing you every day some examples of my rough drafts and commenting on how they relate to my creative process. 

For those of you who are on the edges of your seats wondering what’s going to happen to Quarrydog, I can only give you my apologies and ask you to hold on as the timer ticks down.

Jenner


The Doctor Is In.

Doc Rat by JennerTo all my devoted readers, I bid you welcome to the brand new Doc Rat web site. I know the wait has been excruciating, but you will certainly find this new production has been worth the anticipation.

Why the change? Well, the program for the original Doc Rat site had been outpaced by the advances in today’s operating systems, as a result of which they no longer let it perform to its best standard. That’s why people like you were having problems with it. Naturally, this was not good enough, so it was time for a change. A big change.

I thank my webmaster Wolf Bylsma for his sterling work in creating our new home, often against difficult odds. And the wonderful Level Head for bridging the gap in the interim with his mirror site, archive and postings on the Cross Time Café discussion forum.

So what will you find in the new Doc Rat site? Well, it’s like Ben and Daniella’s nursery – good enough to start off with, with a touch of work to go. We haven’t finished stocking the archives yet, but that will come with time. Things will keep getting better.

Okay, mates, it’s time to become fair dinkum agents of the Rat and start spreading the word:

“The doctor is in.”