Each morning I stumble to the bathroom followed by both dogs. They collapse on the bath mats and wait. Then they follow me to the bedroom. Then they follow me to the kitchen. I think there are two reasons for what my husband calls ‘the wagon train’.
One, they are bored out of their little brains and are waiting for something interesting to happen.
Or, two, they are terrified I’ll forget their breakfast and so they hover in order to remind me of their starving presence.
Either way, something interesting happened the other morning.
When the wagon train entered the bathroom, both dogs immediately woke up and zeroed in on the toilet plunger in the corner. There was a…stick poking out behind it.
We live in the woods. Finding sticks in the house isn’t uncommon. But this one moved.
Whether it was a young rat or a fat mouse, I don’t know. I didn’t look that close. I’m going to call the poor thing a mouse.
Some of you remember hearing about the tiny four-week-old kitten my husband rescued from the pouring rain. She’s grown up.
She brought in a toy.
I went to the living room where my husband was enjoying his coffee, minus the wagon train, and demanded that his cat come back and finish the job.
When I turned around, our old dog Arwen was coming down the hall, tail up and full of pride, with a…stick poking out of her mouth.
My husband yelled ‘drop it!’ before I could yell ‘take that outside!’.
That poor mouse. It ended up hucked over the neighbor’s fence.
A little later the cat sauntered back in and went straight to the toilet plunger, where she searched fruitlessly. I believe she stashed the mouse there.
But here’s the thing. The bathroom isn’t that far from the back door, which was open. Why didn’t the mouse run outside? It could have. It was in the bathroom by itself for a while.
What kind of threats does a cat tell a mouse to make it freeze where it’s been dropped and wait for death?
‘There are giants in this place. If they see or hear you, they’ll scream and STOMP you.’
‘If you think this is bad, wait until the DOGS see you. Better stay still and quiet.’
‘If you move I’m going to pounce. You may think I’m gone, but I’m not. Hold VERY still and you might live.’
Whatever the threat was, that poor mouse had a rough night. Caught by a cat. Found by humans. Caught by a dog. Sent flying by a human.
I like to think the mouse survived. After all, the neighbor’s yard is full of weeds. It could have had a soft landing. Maybe it just ended up soggy from being in the dog’s mouth. Maybe, right now, he’s telling his friends and family all about the crazy adventures that he survived purely because of his immense bravery and courage and ability to hold VERY still.
Of course they’ll think he’s bragging and not believe a word of it.
Unless they get close enough to an old dog to smell her breath.