Posting day: Sunday, and, sometimes, maybe, extra bits in between.
Sunday May 16th 2021
Yes, we have a mouse.
Perhaps it’ll go away of its own accord.
On the other hand, perhaps it won’t.
It doesn’t, of course.
Now I begin to notice signs of a small rodent operating in the vicinity.
No, that hole was definitely not in Isis’s bag of food when I fed her last night.
Something has to be done.
I can’t find my humane rodent trap, but friend Y., who is a dedicated creature rescuer lends me one of hers and donates a little bag of tempting seeds much favoured, Y. assures me, by mice.
“Of course,” she reminds me, “You can’t release her outdoors yet. It’s too cold. It’ll kill her.”
Of course it is. I’ll have to wait for the temperature to rise.
In the meantime, little mouse will have to be fed.
At least it’s clear that s/he likes the Royal Canin Gastrointestinal High Fibre food recommended for Isis’s anal gland problem ………..
I wonder whether mice have anal glands. Good grief, can you imagine how challenging it would be for a vet to attempt to empty them?
I don’t want to use up Hairy’s special food. What else have we in the house which would appeal to a mouse? Ah. In the cupboard there’s a large container of nuts which need eating. I imagine that a mouse would enjoy a nut or two. In fact, surely mice will eat almost anything?
A week goes by, and every night the nuts, served in a genteel fashion on a fresh sheet of kitchen roll, disappear. Usually something like a bit of crumbled cereal or dropped toast is added in. There’s never anything left by morning.
Sometimes it’s necessary to follow Isis into the garden to clean up after her. On one such morning, I wiggle my feet into an old pair of boots kept by the kitchen door. No problem with the right foot but when it comes to the left, I find I’m standing on gravel.
Don’t know how that got there. With an irritable mutter, I take the boot off again and tip it upside down. Bad decision. It’s not gravel. A stream of broken up nuts spreads itself across the floor.
Ew. Ungrateful little ***!
Unearthing a brush and dustpan, I set to.
Although the boots don’t seem so in the photo, they are quite tall – half way between ankle and knee. This seems a long way for a small creature to climb repeatedly, each time with a face full of nuts. Well, well. One can’t help but admire its tenacity.
My boot must have been mouse’s larder. So perhaps s/he does like nuts but knows they will store well. They are an emergency stash in case of hard times. Meanwhile, alternative sustenance would be appreciated, please.
Perhaps I should give it a new larder.
For goodness sake, it’s a mouse! It can make another store under the floorboards. You’ll be leaving a ‘tick your choice for tomorrow’ menu out next.
Back to the drawing board.
Biscuits. Yes, it likes shortbread biscuits. In fact, it appears to love shortbread biscuits. Not a crumb remains to be seen next day. Good. The fat in them will be good for a mouse in this cold weather.
Then, one night, Isis seems to be taking a hell of a long time over her drink of water. A quick peek into the kitchen ascertains that Isis isn’t drinking water. Crunch, happy crunch. She is, of course eating the mouse’s shortbreads.
Irritating dog. Now the little meal will have to be prepared again, biscuits crumbled again, the counter decrumbed once more, the kitchen roll replaced with clean, unlicked sheets and, of, course, hands washed yet again.
As all dog people know, having a dog entails an incredible amount of handwashing. Pat, pat, stroke, stroke – wash your hands. Feed her. Wash your hands. Pick up her toys, dry her feet, hang up her towels, pick a bit of something out of her coat … and on and on.
Believe you me, having a mouse is even worse. I’d definitely pass an audition for Lady MacBeth.
Now where can we place mouse’s food? I don’t want to put it on the counters. I’m far from houseproud, but shudder at the idea of mouse running and pooping around the kettle and toaster
Eventually, the new dining area for mice is sited close to the skirting board and behind the metal bin. This offers access for a small rodent but not a marauding dog. Just to be on the safe side, I place a plastic bag in a strategic position. Isis can’t reach mouse’s dining room without disturbing the plastic bag and alerting Human.
Phew! These animals. No wonder there never seems time for riveting jobs like tidying and cleaning.
At present, mouse is demolishing dog treats, oats and biscuits with the occasional bit of something else. There are no leftovers, and Isis hasn’t attempted to raid the supply.
Mouse is still very active, and Isis is still leaping up and down oofing in annoyance and leaping into her dog bed.
Sometimes she becomes really cross and protests with loud, aggressive barks.
On these occasions, I attempt to pacify her with pats and strokes.
“It’s only that mouse again,” I tell her stupidly – she knows perfectly well what it is –
“And soon it’ll get warmer and we’ll take mouse to Highbury Park.”
*Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk