My son Patrick came into the kitchen, his face worried. “I caught a mouse in the basement.” I shrugged. Mice came into our house all the time, part of life in the Connecticut woods. “Put it out,” I said. He looked at me like I’d just spoken Swahili. “How?” I sighed. Time to teach my oldest the ways of humane animal relocation.
Spring’s an unusual time for a mouse (that’s usually ‘ant’ season), but it had been cool and rainy. Mice usually come in the fall when they’re attracted to the warmth.
I think mice are cute. Unlike many women — and a few men I know — I have no terror of them. That said, they leave behind little “presents” that aren’t cute. They must go.
I also hate killing anything. Living in the country for decades, I’ve become adept at removing unwanted creatures in a kind way, mostly insects. With moths, spiders, and hornets, a tried-and-true method is used to evacuate them: I take a paper cup and place it over the perpetrator, and then (this is the tricky part) slide an index card gently underneath. This is where you need nerves of steel, especially if there’s an angry wasp or hornet buzzing hysterically underneath. I slowly lift the cup and card off the surface and with the help of someone opening doors ahead of me, set it free.
Both of my sons had used this method with insects, but never with a mouse. Come to think of it, I hadn’t either.
We went to the basement where Patrick pointed to a small, upside-down clay flowerpot. “It’s under there.” I pictured how scared this little mouse must be.
At my suggestion, Patrick procured a cardboard sheet (the kind that comes inside a man’s shirt dry-cleaning) and I slowly, gently slid it under the flowerpot. Fast scrabbling was heard beneath and the tiny tip of a tail poked out. Yes, a mouse was under there. With Patrick opening doors, I carried the upside-down flowerpot with the cardboard sheet tight underneath.
“Put it somewhere far from the house,” said Patrick. (I sensed he wasn’t a mouse fan). I walked across our driveway and placed it on a rock. Slowly I lifted the flowerpot. There stood a baby gray field mouse, tiny with a big head. It could fit into the palm of my hand. I pictured its mother frantically looking for it.
The baby mouse scurried away into the brush, so fragile against the wild animals that live out there. I didn’t give it much hope. “At least we tried,” I said to Patrick, looking at the leafy spot where the mouse disappeared. He nodded. Maybe this little creature would get lucky.
The world’s cruel, but sometimes it feels good doing something kind, even for a mouse.
How do you feel about mice or insects in your house? Comments are always welcome and if you liked this, please share.
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