To the best of my knowledge, I've never killed an animal. Not even with my car.
Well, I did go fishing with my dad when I was little, so that's probably not true, but you know what I mean. It's not just my bleeding-heart animal rights side either, although that's a big part of it. I think all things furry are adorable and deserve to live out their furry little lives without my interference. But I'm also totally creeped out by death. And suffering.
So when I bought my house last year and discovered that it was full of mice, I just resolved myself to peaceful coexistence. The mice mostly stayed in the basement, where I rarely go, and really only seemed to want to come inside during the colder months. I didn't see any sign of them at all last summer.
But this winter there seems to have been a population explosion. I blame myself. I left a big bag of bird seed in the laundry room for a few months and didn't realize that the mice were feasting on it. They must have told their friends. And then their friends invited their extended families and their extended families posted it on craig's list... Now I see signs of them everywhere. And I think you know what I mean by "signs".
I've decided that something needs to be done. I'm a pretty tolerant person, as far as grossness goes. I have two little kids so there's poop and snot aplenty at my house. I have two big dogs: again with the poop. But when there's mouse poop on my bedside table, I draw the line.
I consulted the experts (David), and was told there was no realistic way to do this in a humane (not killing them) fashion. Although I did entertain the idea of just using live traps and bringing them to work with me and letting them go there. (And honestly, I still haven't ruled that out.) So I tried to prepare myself to cause a death. Lots of them, actually. I lay awake at night trying to picture myself loading mouse traps. Worse yet, emptying mouse traps.
Then a few days ago, I woke up in the morning for work. I made coffee and went into the bathroom and turned on the shower, curtain closed, to heat up the water. I brushed the sleep tangles out of my hair and pulled back the shower curtain to see a little gray mouse standing on her hind legs, face into my steamy shower, gently swaying back and forth, in a way that I couldn't help but think looked every bit like she was totally enjoying herself.
I turned the shower off, went into the kitchen, grabbed a plastic bowl and scooped a very wet mouse out of the bathtub and just popped it out on the back steps. If I had had clothes on I probably would have walked out and put it in the shed. I went back to the bathroom and took my shower. The whole time worrying about the poor mouse that I had put outside in 10 degree weather, soaking wet. I fretted. I wished I had given her a chance to dry off, or at least put her outside wrapped in a towel.
I told myself that I was going to need to toughen up if I was going to rid my kitchen counter of mice and make it safe to keep the tomatoes out in a bowl again.
As soon as I got out of the shower I went and checked to see if by chance she was still out there. And if she had been, I very much think I would have brought her back inside.