July 28, 2011

I Killed Mickey

A few months ago we had the jungle out back - our out of control garden - cleared out. In doing so, we inadvertently invited a family of mice into our basement.

This posed something of a conundrum.

Mice are cute and, generally, I don't like killing things. I'll never be a hunter or an exterminator. I mean, I'm a vegetarian for Christ sake. But mice and my family cannot coexist. This is not a two-species household (with the minor exception of Mia's fish, Glitter).

The exterminators came and put down traps. Glue traps because we refused to have poison in the house. Inevitably, they did their job and we found ourselves with four dead mice stuck to cardboard. And one live one.

Again, a conundrum.

The mouse was gray and furry and incredibly cute. It was obvious he'd recently stumbled into the trap. He was alive and twitching his nose and trying his damndest to get away. I bombarded myself with moral arguments and came to only one conclusion - the right thing to do was to kill it, put it out of its misery.

I grabbed the trap and shoved it in a kitchen garbage bag. The bag had the unfortunate quality of being white and somewhat transparent. So I shoved that bag inside a black trash bag. Then I took the bag to the garage, put it on the ground, grabbed a shovel and gave the bag a smack. Several times.  Each swing was heartbreaking. Convinced I'd done what I'd intended to do, I threw the bag into the trash bin and tossed aside the shovel.

I felt exactly the way I knew I'd feel - terrible.

I killed a mouse. And let's face it, unless it's Mickey, the world isn't going to miss a mouse. Killing the mouse was the right thing to do. Otherwise, it would have died a slow, terrible death. But still...I don't like to kill things. I'm not squeamish or weak or cowardly. I just don't like to kill stuff.

Posted by Chris at July 28, 2011 7:41 AM

I would hope that most people would feel that way. It shouldn't be easy to take the life away from any creature. I can't even kill a bug!! I have to scoop them up and take them outside! I'm sorry that you had to do that but, it was the right thing to do. Maybe old fashioned mouse traps would be the way to go next time!

Posted by: Jennifer at July 28, 2011 8:11 AM

awww. I admire your ability to do what was right. As much as I would have WANTED to do the same thing, I am not sure that I could have... ugh. What a crappy position to be in. :(

Posted by: Jen at July 28, 2011 9:33 AM

So sorry you had to go through that! We also occasionally (being in an old house) get mice - a few years ago, after my old cat got too fat and old to take care of them for us, we tried the sticky traps - being the more humane way to catch them. Well, caught one we did and, yes, it was still alive.

My husband could not kill it - so he somehow pried it off the sticky pad with a stick out at the wood pile and let it go. We laughed about it for days because the poor thing still had the sticky glue on the bottom of his poor little feet and as he ran away, he picked up a lot of sawdust and sticks and other debris from the wood pile.

After that, we used the mouse traps...for some reason, it just seemed...well...cleaner.

Posted by: cyndy at July 28, 2011 9:54 AM

I couldn't kill a mouse.

Pardon me while I sit in my skirt and smooth my hair and allow the man of the house to take care of that bit of yuckiness.

Posted by: Mindy at July 28, 2011 11:58 AM

Ugh, we never kill mice. Despite having several cats we have had the occasional mouse. My husband won't even kill bugs (he traps them and puts them outside) so there was no way we were going to kill a mouse. We managed to trap the mouse in a Tupperware bowl and set it free in a nearby field. I think glue traps are even less humane than regular traps. They suffer more! One of our cats aught a mouse once, didn't kill it, we managed to get the moue outside and my husband sat talking to it until it snapped out of it's shock and scampered away. Even our cats are animal lovers!!!

Posted by: Lisa at July 28, 2011 12:11 PM

Oh, dear. I'm sorry, Chris. I can't co-exist with mice either but I leave it to my heartless husband to despatch them. Once we had a baby possum LIVING IN OUR SPARE CLOSET. For how long, I don't know, but husband caught it and drowned it. Nasty business and I'm glad I wasn't there.

Posted by: Brooke at July 28, 2011 12:26 PM

i'm pretty sure this post and comments are bringing me down more than yesterday's political post, haha. drowning a baby possum?! hitting a mouse with a shovel?! now i need a drink ;)

Posted by: kati at July 28, 2011 12:49 PM

Those glue traps are brutal! I'd not have the heart or stomach for it, I'd got for old fashioned and cheese.

Posted by: Nat at July 28, 2011 12:58 PM

You did the right thing - mice can be vectors for some nasty things, so putting the mouse out of commission was right. We had a small mouse problem a few years a go... I couldn't deal with traps but we have a pest control service - I called them and they took care of it out of sight in 2 days. I'm chicken like that :)

Posted by: Sue R at July 28, 2011 1:43 PM

A couple of years ago I was visiting my sister in CT. I woke up one morning and I found a raccoon in her back yard and I worried the thing was rabid. We called the Police and my sister was all tears and stuff when the Policeman said that he's have to "dispatch" the raccoon. My sister ran into the house screaming...wimpy city girl that she is. The cop looked at me and I said, "Go ahead, I'm from New Hampshire, we love this kind a shit!"
Actually I just know that sometimes it's just best to put down animals that have come into an area where they could hard humans.

Posted by: Maribeth at July 28, 2011 1:45 PM

Hubby has had to euthanize a mouse or two from our garage. I'm a wimp and can't do it. I just don't have the cahones to do it.
We find traditional traps work best too, with a little peanut butter. Bang done, no suffering.
On occasion, I am a believer in "Pink work" and "Blue work" That is definitely blue in my household. If cleaning out the fridge is pink work (not said, but ends up the way), I think it is more than fair if you consider the frequency.

Posted by: Lin at July 28, 2011 1:45 PM

You're a Christian and just don't know it yet!

Posted by: sw at July 28, 2011 3:59 PM

What kind of glue trap was it? I'm not sure what kind the exterminators use, but the kind you can buy in the store can actually be used as live traps. We had a mouse problem for a while, and would release the mice from the glue traps using some vegetable oil and tongue depressors. Of course, we did this well away from our living area! Just a thought, if you ever encounter this issue again.

Posted by: Michelle at July 28, 2011 7:18 PM

I'm really bad because I definitely don't want them in my house, but
I don't really have the courage to dispatch them myself. I feel too guilty and squicked out. Although I have to say I don't really find mice cute any more, I think that's largely because I was vacuuming up their poop for so long I got over the cute thing when we finally caught them. Thankfully, because of my cat, I haven't had to deal with mice in quite a while :P Though she did leave me a "surprise" a while back. Ewwww.

Posted by: Heather at July 28, 2011 7:53 PM

About 10 years ago, we had mice in the library where I worked. After much hysteria from my co-workers, I allowed a snappy trap to be placed in my office. When I came to work and found a dead mouse, I cried for an hour and banned traps thereafter. Many years and libraries since then, I have come to favor either the snappy traps (quicker and thus, more humane) or the bait and set free boxes (where the librarians will round up the boxes, drive to a local park and set the vermin free). Either way, I feel your apin. Keenly. But I wouldn't let mice live among my children either.

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