The baby mouse was barely moving and no bigger than an acorn with grey fur but something he did caught my eye. Twitch? I'm not sure but when I saw him, he had almost just been crushed under the heavy boot of a man leaving the parking lot adjacent to the sidewalk path, a thought that struck terror in my mind.
Death by boot squish! What a horrible way to go. I must save him.
Now I'm a city girl but I was raised with some country sensibility. I'm a firm believer in letting nature take it's course but that is a hard belief to follow when the nature looks like a Beatrix Potter character on the verge of a painful death by squishing.
Kneeling down to the tiny mouse I saw his recent past underneath the bush about half a meter away from where he sat frozen. The bodies of his siblings were white fuzzy belly up and in the process of being consumed by ants. He appeared to be the soul survivor of a mouse massacre. Was it a drug deal gone bad? Had his parents borrowed money from the wrong people? Was he a little rodent version of Dexter and I was his Harry?
He was shaking and barely able to move but he appeared to have no injuries. Fleas (ick!) yes but no injuries.
What could I do? People skirted around me and Mr. Mouse, a few glancing at what was under the huge maple leaf I had fashioned into a mouse umbrella. But no one wanted to get involved -- it was a mouse for cripes sake. They obviously hadn't looked deep into his beady little black eyes because I saw life in there and I wanted to save it. He could be the next mouse prime minister for all I knew, or maybe he was going to lead the mouse revolution -- who was I to say that 'he's just a mouse'?
My heart strings are obviously easily pluck-able and I'm the first to admit it. *sigh*
I knew touching him would be very bad. If he had a parent left, they would reject him once they caught a whiff of my hair gel and Demeter perfume.
But I couldn't leave him here, in the freezing rain, to be squished by some absent-minded suit or shopper. Do I pluck him up with the leaf and put him in the bush near the scene of the crime? Do I call a vet?
That thought was quickly canceled out by my cheap-side who screamed 'Do you remember how much it cost the last time you brought one of the cats to the vet? DO YOU?'
I needed Google but it was no where nearby. Mouse and I would just need to go to Google.
And this is where all the nature lovers will start screaming at me:
I plucked up the mouse with the leaf and brought him home. OH YES I DID.
My husband -- who for the record grew up on a farm -- looked at me like I was insane but our 5yo was beside herself with joy. She quickly named the mouse 'Rosebud' and immediately started shredding tissue for a nest. I dropped Rosebud into an old sandwich container where he sat, shivering, and not moving. We didn't touch him. We could see the fleas (ewwwww) walking all over him but that didn't mean we fell in love with him any less. He was adorable.
After some Google-consulting we offered him some warm cream for lunch but he would have nothing to do with it. I knew I was delaying the inevitable -- his death -- so after some discussion, we decided he needed to go back from whence he came: The Death Bush. We all knew he was probably going to die, he was a lonely baby mouse, and it was cold, and he was alone in the big city. Death would probably be a good thing. *sob*
Why delay any more? My 5yo, in her surprising maturity, offered to take him back with me. She carried him in the sandwich container and sheltered him from the still falling rain. When we got close to The Death Bush my girl hunkered down to examine the scene of the crime. She clucked her tongue at the bodies and decided that Rosebud should be set free one bush over. So holding the container at arms length, I extended as far into the bush as I could and tipped it over to set Rosebud free. For the first time I saw this mouse spring into action. He hopped out of the container and immediately started climbing over the leaves and then just like that, he burrowed down and disappeared.
I'd like to think we saved him from hypothermia because obviously his adventure in biped land had warmed him up. That mouse was barely moving when we crossed paths but he definitely got his groove back after a sit by our hearth. Maybe Rosebud was going to make it afterall.
Or he's already dead.
Oh well, I know this is selfish but at least he spread a bit of joy -- and hopefully no fleas -- during his reluctant visit to biped world. It was nice knowing you Rosebud, go forth and do whatever mice do.
|Rosebud, a Toronto Mouse|