I don't know about your household, but it's starting to look a little bit like Noah's Ark around these parts. Over the past few years, we've been accumulating pairs of animals. First it was cats (Rudy and Hazel). Then hermit crabs. Next came two beta fish and now, we've got a mouse. Thankfully not two mice (unless you count the random creatures that Orkin finds in our basement, attic or garage during their regular inspections,) just a single white beady eyed mouse who has finally found a family and a mudroom to call his own.
After weeks of cajoling, my son, who happens to be allergic to gerbils, guinea pigs, rabbits and hamsters, promised his dad that he would be a responsible pet owner if he were willing to fork over $2.99 for a mouse from the local pet store. When I received the fateful call that I would be taking in a new border, I cringed and responded that if I had to have any involvement with the clean-up or daily care of the mouse, he would be out on his tail (pun intended).
And so, after assuring me I would not have to touch, see or smell the mouse, my son happily left the store with a mouse in a box and came back to set up his home. He also selected a name: Milford.
The moment Milford arrived, he smelled pretty funky. I'm suspecting he had freaked out so much during the trip to our house that he had soiled his cardboard container. Once my husband and son set up his cage, the smell lingered on but my son didn't care. He had a pet he could call his own and he was going to sleep right next to him and stand guard against our two cats who knew that something was up and they were going to get to the bottom of it. My son even agreed to sleep with his door closed (and this is the kid who keeps the lights on at night because he's afraid) just so that Hazel or Rudy couldn't get their claws into Milford.
After two nights went by and the smell grew intensely foul by the hour, my husband and I decided that Dylan and Milford couldn't keep co-habitating in his bedroom. And so, my hubby decided to transport Milford to our sunroom where we could lock the door at night and the cats couldn't get to his cage. Great plan - except for the fact that my laptop is in the sunroom and I have been pretty absent minded these days.
Once my husband left for work the next morning, I zipped down the stairs and grabbed my laptop before the kids woke up. I begin tackling my early morning to-do list and didn't even flinch when I heard a loud thud coming from downstairs. I then woke both kids up, helped my son get dressed and then raced to the kitchen to make breakfast. And then I saw the aftermath of what must have been a guerilla operation perpetrated by a tabby cat. Milford's cage had been knocked off the desk and landed upside down on a chair. Milford was hanging on for dear life and my cat was nowhere in sight (typical). Thankfully, the door to the cage was still locked shut so despite the blunt force trauma Milford may have received to his fragile body, he was safe and sound.
When my son heard the news that his mouse had been subjected to a sneak attack by our cat, he thankfully didn't harbor a grudge against me for forgetting to lock the door. He just took the cage back upstairs, comforted his mouse, washed his hands and finished getting ready for school.
Since the cage incident, we've (I mean I've) been more careful about where we place Milford. He's now seeking refuge in our mudroom - a place that's completely off limits to our cats. Personally, I think it's the ideal location for Milford - he's got a great view of the outdoors and many of his rodent cousins and neighbors are nearby in the garage and backyard. And he's living rent free, is doted upon by an eight year old boy and is the only rodent in our home who will hopefully never be duped by a glue trap. If that's not the life, I don't know what is.
Stay tuned for more adventures with Milford the Mouse...