Saturday, 4 April 2009

Disability Rights for Mice

Now I could never be accused of over sentimentality when it comes to animals. I feed the birds, chase squirrels out of the garden and sometimes pick up the pieces my spiteful old moggy brings home. Not birds, they’re not his scene, he catches mice, in all shapes and sizes, but as far as I’m concerned there are only two sorts, the very quick and the dead.

If alive, he drops them on the kitchen floor, and then calls me. That distinct yowling noise has me running for the cardboard tube, the mouse scuttles up the tube and within minutes is back in the garden, bragging of its adventures, ready to be caught another day.
Dead, they’re picked up by the tail and slung out of the back door, a salutary reminder to others of their kind that, if you’re a walking dinner and only half way up the food chain, gardens are dangerous places. Only this time the dead mouse hanging by its tail about to be slung out, wriggled. If not dead, then maybe injured, fainted, shocked? Into a box for observation and a bit of apple, death anticipated within the hour. But it didn’t do the expected, and we forgot the granddaughters were coming.

“Can we keep it,” they squealed, donning metaphorical doctors’ outfits as they rushed through the door. Two blond heads together over the box, much discussion, a few sunflower seeds and a peanut later,
“We know what’s wrong. It’s sprained a leg.”
“Maybe we should…” I was reluctant; the word euthanasia was left hanging in the air.
“But you can’t, it’s disabled,” they wailed in shocked disbelief at my callously practical solution.

Heads together once more and soon, blu-tacked to the freezer, our instructions.

Anyone know what a wood mouse likes for dinner, ‘cos this one’s no longer stuck half way up the food chain? It fallen on three of its little feet, and busy resting the sprained one. I’m hoping for a miraculous recovery, otherwise it looks like we’ve got a pet.

P.S Grandad is at this moment up the workshop, making a cage.