This time of year finding a mouse in the house is pretty common. The weather is getting colder and the furry little creatures are looking for somewhere cozy and warm.
Years ago as a toddler I was sleeping away in my room while my parents had friends over. A tiny mouse was enough to turn the visit – and the living room furniture – upside down. After some creative maneuvering with a butterfly net, my dad and one of the guests caught that mouse, but it was too late in the evening to put all the furniture back where it belonged.
As the story has always been told to me, I woke up in the morning and was confused because the furniture in the living room was flipped over and just a mess. I asked my mother what happened.
“There was a mouse,” she said.
“Oh,” the toddler me looked around at the overturned furniture and replied, “how big was it?”
Mom can laugh about that story now, but at the time of the mouse hunt, it was anything but fun.
I hadn’t experienced any personal mouse stories in my home as an adult, but last week it looked like that clean record was going to end.
It all started when our dog spent all of his time outside guarding the east facing foundation of our home, his nose working overtime. He was able to point out a hole that was open in the foundation along a pipe. So my husband sealed up that hole and the dog calmed down. Perhaps things could get back to normal.
The next day I found myself in our basement throwing a load of laundry in the washing machine. On my way to the staircase I saw the dog in a playful stance with his tail wagging more vigorously than ever before. I moved to get a better view of what he was playing with and wouldn’t you know it, it was a little mouse. The dog was having the time of his life – the mouse was not.
This was a very telling moment in my life. It would show me how I would react to a situation like this without any previous preparation. I did not disappoint myself with the grandness of my reaction. I screamed like I was starring in a horror movie and I took those stairs three at a time to get off of the same floor as that mouse. The dog seemed to have everything under control, but it didn’t matter. I jumped with any small sound and for about 30 minutes, I felt like something was crawling on me. It took three days for my throat to heal after that scream.
I called my husband at work to report what happened. I don’t know what I thought he was going to do about it but I had to tell someone. At the end of my story I told him, “I’m pretty sure the dog ate the mouse,” and then my whole body shuddered.
“That’s ok, it’s protein,” he said positively.
For the next few days, we sent the dog downstairs to check things out, knowing that he would not allow a mouse in this house. He is quite the hunter.
Just to be clear, the saying “quiet as a mouse” comes from the nature of the animal, not from the human reaction to it. Well, at least not according to my reaction.