This article is from the Spring 2000 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
Our Pets & Friends
By Lynn Lehman
Igot started in mice about 5 years ago. I had been wanting some for a long time, but my parents would not allow them. So when I got married and we moved into our own house, my husband let me pick out two mice. At the time, I didn’t know much about mice, so I picked two tiny and sickly-looking mice thinking I could help them because I felt sorry for them. Of course, they didn’t live but a few days, so back to the pet shop we went to pick out two more. This time, I picked two much healthier looking females. One was black, the other brownish-red, so I just named them Blackie and Brownie. Blackie was a bit shy and didn’t like to come out, but Brownie was my favorite. She was so sweet and friendly, always eager to come out to visit me. She would wait impatiently, pacing back and forth and rearing up on her hind legs to let me know she wanted out. She would sit in my hands and eat her favorite foods. She would not eat in the cage. Then, when she finished, she would run up and down my arms or just snuggle in the crook of my arm. She also loved to run around a blanket on the bed and hide in the little nooks in the blanket where it was crumpled up. She would never go potty outside the cage, unless I left her out too long or if she wasn’t feeling well. I love all my mice, but Brownie was even more special, and I have yet to find a mouse so loving of human companionship as she. Some have come close, but none have all those wonderful qualities that she had. (I have had from 2 to 17 mice all at one time; currently I have 12.)
While I was still living with my parents, there was a family of wild mice that got into the basement, so my dad set out mouse traps. I went and bought a mouse cube (a humane trap that allows the mouse to be caught, unharmed, then let go elsewhere) so I could save them from the traps. When no one was around, I would take the mice out to the field and let them go safely. But the very last mouse I caught was a very old mouse with a crooked tail, and I could tell she wouldn’t live much longer. I didn’t have the heart to let her go in her condition, so I planned to keep her in a big ice cream bucket until her time came. While I was transferring her from the cube to the bucket, she jumped into my hand. I became very afraid that she may bite or may carry a disease, but I took the chance and held her for awhile and she was not afraid. It was as if she were a pet and she reminds me so much of my Brownie. In fact, each time when I went to put her back in the bucket, she would want to be back cupped in my hand and she would never try to escape. She only lived through the night, so I was glad to have known her and kept her through her last hours. It was very strange that a wild mouse, who all her life was surely afraid of people, would want to be held in her last moments of life—it was very touching.