Friday, September 24, 2010

Pet, For a Day

I have two little boys who want more than anything in the whole wide world (well, maybe not anything, but most things) something furry and soft and alive to call their own. The trouble is, C and I are just not pet people. I know that probably sounds awful, but I feel like I'm hanging on by my fingernails just to keep everything together most of the add another heartbeat to our home would truly send me over the edge . Plus I'm allergic to many furry things. And neither of us wants to clean up after another animal (other than the three bipedal ones we already have). Or figure out what to do with it when we go away.

We may some day get something farmish and useful, like chickens or a goat, but for now we are petless.

But those boys love animals. So much that they regularly offer to trade me in for a dog or cat (my allergies being the scapegoat and cover for our petless condition). Last weekend, C was scything the overgrown weeds around our "yard" and accidentally injured a mouse. Z brought me to see it, curled in some dry grass, nose bloodied--whether from a cut or a blow I do not know.

Now I admit I get a little squeamish around mice. They do kind of ick me out. And I'll also admit that when they invade my house or car I do not hesitate to give the orders that snap traps be installed. But here was this injured creature, and here was my boy who has shown moments of aggression lately, concerned for the welfare of this tiny ball of fur. So I found a container and we filled it with dry grass and scooped in the mouse (heebie-jeebie) and gave it little dishes of water and grated apple and cheese (what else?), and brought it into the house.

I fully expected it to die overnight from its was after all bleeding from its mouth and nose, but by morning, when I got up to make breakfast, I could hear it rustling around in its enclosure. I couldn't tell if it had eaten or drunk anything, but it was moving and no longer bloody. The boys came down to see it first thing when they woke up, and wouldn't let it alone for all their holding and touching. Let me tell you, despite my deep reservations about caged animals--especially caged wild animals--and despite having trapped this one's cousin in our house just months ago, I had a brief vision of going up to pet smart and getting an aquarium and wood chips and mouse pellets and a water bottle for the thing.

Happily, that vision passed before I did anything rash, and after the sun came out and the air warmed up in the afternoon, we returned little mousy (we didn't even have it long enough to give it a name) back to nature. Immediately it disappeared down a tunnel of dried grass that must be part of network crisscrossing all our land (except the lawn), and that we never even knew existed. Z was not happy that it took off so quickly before he got a chance to hold it, but I was happy that it seemed fully recovered and hope that the boys learned something about kindness, in seeing their mother open her heart to a creature that just makes her want to shake all over.


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