I have been somewhat distracted this week by the arrival of a tiny baby mouse on the doorstep.
No bigger than a 2p coin and with its eyes still closed we fed it drops of milk and honey and put it in a box filled with rags, not excepting it to last the night.
Delighted the following morning when we found it blindly snuffling around, it squeaked with excitement when we brought food – and over the following few days the tiny creature stole our hearts. It was fascinating to witness its eyes open and see it learn to feed itself from small cubes of cereal soaked in kitten milk.
It appeared to be thriving and we were all getting used to the idea of having a field mouse as a new pet. But sadly after just four days the little thing died. Dark scratch marks on its side perhaps an indication of internal injuries suffered on its mysterious journey from nest to our front doorstep.
But the little mouse had such a big impact I wanted to share its story.
To be honest when we found it I was in two minds whether to try and help. Rushing out the door to an after school club there just didn’t seem time to spend on such an apparently hopeless and after-all silly mission. We regularly kill mice in the garden when they damage the crops and poison rats in the loft or the hen coop. But faced with such a helpless baby animal it’s hard to be rational. And the kids were desperate to keep it so we ditched the running club and turned out the cupboards looking for any equipment that would help.
Scouring the internet for information, we tried feeding it by dipping a paint brush in milk and letting it suck from the bristles. We also managed to drip feed tiny quantities of milk from a washed out ear-drop dispenser. And I rushed to the shops when I learned from kind hearted advice on Twitter that kitten milk may be easier to digest.
It was touch and go for a few days and we were faffing about trying to get milk into it every few hours. It was lovely to see its little eyes open and notice some recognition when we were near.
It was a big day for a little mouse when it started to feed for itself and moved into a new home. We furnished an old fish tank with paper, twigs to clamber on and a toilet roll to hide in. Not forgetting to tuck in its familiar rags for sleeping.
But despite the excitement of a new home mouse was happiest snuggled up in my hand were it could feel safe and warm and looked after.
Mouse needed more than regular food. It needed to feel warmth and love and touch, just as much as you or I in this big confusing world.
And for me to be able to find the space in my busy life to give a little bit of love to a very tiny thing was a wonderful experience.