Saturday, January 30, 2010

Just A Little Mouse

There are mice in the house, and one rat (aaiiii), as is wont to happen in old farmhouses. I put out a covered trap baited with peanut butter and never caught a mouse. Then randomly, yesterday I looked over and there was a mouse, dead in the trap. I gave it to the snake, who thanked me.

Now, I am not mourning the loss of this mouse's life. However it does remind me of when I worked at a pet store, we would sell mice as pets. And we'd keep some mice in the back as breeding mice, and I would have to clean their cages, so I got used to handling mice (and pet rats too) quite frequently. However, I'm not sure why, but some of these mice developed tumors. The tumored ones would often be sold as snake food. We had one mouse that was obviously dying of a bunch of huge tumors. It lay on its back and thrashed around, and one of the employees came in the back and gave it a pitying look but did nothing. What could she do? It was dying. But I didn't want to see it suffer, so i took it out of the cage and put the edge of the cage over its neck and smashed its little head. It was very easy, like crushing dried cereal. I wondered how it could be so easy to break a body and end a life, and how fortunate it was that I could do it so easily, otherwise the mouse would still be suffering.

I left the pet shop that day feeling the weight of that tiny mouse's life on my hands... but also knowing that I ended its pain in the only way I knew how to. It may have been just a mouse, but it was the first animal I had intentionally killed to save it from suffering. Besides, who's to say a mouse's life is any less valuable than yours, or mine. A life is a life, whether it belongs to a king, a child, a cat, or a mouse. It's not wrong to kill, but it's a good thing to let killing take its toll on you when it is necessary, otherwise you might learn to disregard life.

This mouse I killed in a trap yesterday was necessary too... I can't let my home be overrun with rodents, especially not with a baby crawling around on the floor. but i can't fool myself... a mouse isn't just a mouse. Every life deserves a measure of respect, and every animal killed by man deserves to have a memory in the minds of man.


  1. Thank you for this. It's brutal and lovely and perfect.

  2. This is a wonderful post. I wish there were a way to have everyone in the world understand what you wrote here.