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Mouse in the House [publisher's letter]

Tracy Patterson

While reading the article on page 30 in this month’s Natural Pet section, I couldn’t help but think of my childhood pet mice: Miss Mousie, Sir George, Little Ann and Old Dan, along with a half-dozen babies, compliments of Little Ann! These sweet critters rounded out our menagerie, which also included two dogs, a budgie and a couple of cats!

My mice were the best pets ever―they packed a lot of affection, intelligence, and sometimes attitude, in those tiny bodies. And they never ran away, unlike my friends’ various hamsters and gerbils, who often escaped and proved quite challenging to find.

I do recall one time when I accidently left the door to Sir George’s cage open. In the morning, I went to feed him and noticed he was missing. His cage was sitting on top of a desk, and Sir George had made his way off the desk to go exploring. I was completely panicked because the cats’ radar would, of course, be alerted to a loose mouse in the house. While standing there wondering how (or if!) I was going to find him, I felt something, and I looked down to see Sir George tickling my foot, as if to say, “Please pick me up; I’m ready to go back to my home now.” So I did just that after we had a little cuddle. You can’t imagine how relieved I was that he didn’t end up being a cat’s breakfast!

I’d had my mice for a while when I decided I wanted a litter, with permission from my parents, of course. Six baby mice arrived, hairless at first, but it wasn’t long before they had their white fur―little popcorn-size balls of fun! I had a large box set up as their playground with a variety of “toys,” like paper towel tubes and empty Kleenex boxes. They would all play like crazy, then sleep, then play again. The problem was that the box was relatively shallow, so when they got a little bigger, they started jumping out of the box. Mum and I would laugh ourselves silly because they looked like pieces of popcorn popping out of the popper, and we would be grabbing them midair and setting them back in their “bowl.”

It’s been nice to go down memory lane and think of these little creatures that I had in my life. They were completely my responsibility, and they taught me so much. Not to mention the endless hours of fun I had with my tiny fur kids.

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