Quin loves pets. Ignore the fact that Heinz is our pet and he rarely is very nice to him. In fact, the nicest he typically is to him is when he ignores him. But if he finds a toad in the yard, or a stray bug on a window, he gets his ice cream pale, fills it with a little water and some leaves, and puts the poor thing in there until we force him to release the poor animal before they become a dead animal.
Every autumn we get an influx of visitors. These are the types of visitors that we don’t really welcome. We knew they were around one night a couple of weeks ago when Jenny woke up in the middle of the night to hear scratching on the insides of the walls. Mice…
So I did what I typically do - I set old fashioned, cheap, spring loaded, wooden traps. Baited with peanut butter, I’ve never had a problem eradicating the population in the past. And indeed it appeared it was going to work again. On the first two nights I was able to eliminate two of our guests.
The third night, however, I placed traps in the usual high traffic locales. When I checked them in the morning, the traps were still set, but there was no peanut butter on the tripping mechanism. So I reset the traps, and again in the morning, no bait. These were some talented mice… Deciding that I was going to have to bring out the big guns, I set another trap next to the existing traps, thinking that the mouse might accidentally step on one of the traps tripping mechanism in order to get to the bait on the other. Apparently they were too smart for that as well!
So the boys and I went to the hardware store to procure some glue traps. I’m not a fan of them, but we’ll get to that in a minute. My thought process was to put the glue traps out next to the two unsprung traps without bait and wait for the mayhem to ensue. Imagine my luck, the very next day we had netted two new guests, one on one of the wooden spring traps - he was dead, and another in the glue trap - he was alive. Crap.
Now, I am a man, of course, but when I deal with mice, it takes every ounce of energy I have to muster up the courage to address what I know has to be done. I like the wooden traps as it kills the mice for me and I can just put a plastic bag around it to transport it outside - no rodent/human contact required. The glue traps, however, simply trap the mice so they can’t get away. You have to wait for nature to starve them out or you need to address it yourself…
So, Quin and I discovered the mice the next day. I actually only saw one, and Quin went directly in to check it out. It was he who discovered that we had trapped another one in the mayhem device as I had hoped. When he saw the one mouse looking at us, alive in the glue trap, he immediately went and got his ice cream bucket. I explained to him that we weren’t going to keep the mouse, but we had to take care of them and get them out of the house, so I got a plastic bag and started walking toward the mice.
As I walked toward it, the live mouse started FREAKING OUT, looking like he might even be able to escape the glue trap without some of his limbs and skin, and crawl away to die and rot somewhere in the house. Knowing that wasn’t a good option, and not wanting to get bit, I knew what I had to do, but I also knew that I needed to get Quin out of there. Trying to be as calm as I could be, I asked him to leave. I wasn’t very savvy, however, because even though he left, he immediately started sobbing uncontrollably. I took care of the situation, reluctantly and with as much dignity as I could muster, then got our guests out of the house as quickly as I could.
When I found Quin outside, tears were rolling down his face. “Is he dead?” he asked me. I said he was. I tried to smooth it over telling him that mice outside are great, but mice inside are dangerous to us. He seemed to accept that, even stating that “Heinzy might eat one and get sick, right?”
In the end, I’m still a little creeped out by having to whack the mouse over the head to put him out of his misery. But it makes me happy that Quin was upset by it. It means he has some grasp of the finality of death, and that he is likely not a sociopath or a psychopath, which I find endearing.