Thursday, July 06, 2006

Cats and dogs and mice...

So for those of you looking for your fix of puppy pictures, I'm afraid you're going to have to wait at least another week. The breeder is a bit too busy this weekend to take any new photos. Which is a bit disappointing as we want to see how they're doing, but it's not like I can force her to take photos.

In other critter news, we're now down a critter in the apartment. Cathy brought her classroom critters home for the summer -a gecko named Minnie and a mouse named Sparky. However, there was a problem. Sparky was obviously not doing well. We knew this because our keen powers of observation detected a large tumor on the mouse's back where the fur had fallen off.

This left Cathy with a problem. The mouse's days are clearly numbered. It was five years old and was beginning to look like Mickey Mouse reenacting the Hunchback of Notre Dame. So, did we let it eke out the summer, only for it to die in the classroom this fall, causing mental trauma to young children? Or, better still, would it die while we were away the summer, meaning the person we have swinging by the house to water plants and tend the critters would find a dead rodent - one that might have been an ex-mouse for several days and leaving that wonderful smell that dead animal leaves.

Or, we could take matters into our own hands. Cathy sought opinions from others on the most humane way of euthanizing the mouse, but most of them seem to consist of flushing it down the toilet. Which struck us as being a bit of a cruel way to end the life of a faithful class pet.

Fortunately, Cathy knew I had experience with ending the life of mice.

About 10 years ago when I was in Korea, I went and bought two mice. They didn't even last long enough to get names. They got them posthumously - Cain and Abel. That's because one killed the other and, in a matter of hours, committed suicide.

Really. Leapt off a table while I was cleaning it's cage. Mousy death leap. Apparently it felt really, really bad about killing his brother mouse.

The solution we came up with was to give Sparky some last days of freedom. So we took him just outside of town, opened up his cage and let him lose into the world. Freedom!

Except, of course, he really didn't want to go. We took the cover off the cage and he sat right where he was. For all his attempts at trying to break out of the cage, apparently they were half-hearted at best.

Finally, with a little nudging, he landed on the ground and scurried away under a rock. So hopefully Sparky is enjoying his new freedom and hasn't become raven food.

Let's see, two other pet related things. Both are a little cruel I'm afraid. I love animals, you understand, but they just caught my eye today.

If you don't like cats then this is your game, If you do, then don't look. Seriously. If you like them and look and get pissed off, you can't blame me. Oh, and my high score is 1167.

Ummm, and then there is this story, which will not win Air Canada any more pet lovers. Seems a dog they were transporting got out of its kennel and wandered around Halifax airport for two weeks before being on the wrong end of a dog-airplane collision.

It is worth mentioning just for this part, where the reporter asks if there was a risk to travellers by having a dog loose on the runways.

He said the dog posed a Ă‚“very minimalĂ‚” safety hazard to the aircraft that struck it.

"This is a small- to medium-sized dog up against an A-320," Mr. Spurway said.

And that's enough weirdness for one day, I should think.


Clare said...

I hate to be the one to bring it up, but it is irresponsible to release unwanted pets into the wild. Introduced non-native species have done untold damage to eco-systems world wide. While the chances of a problem might be small, another mouse owner releasing his pet near yours, it being of the opposite sex, offspring being hardy enough to survive etc., the potential for damage is great. (There are a lot of Carolina painted turtles in areas where they don't belong and they compete against native species because little Timmy no longer has interest in his turtle and mom and dad take it down to the nearby pond)

Euthanasia is by far the better option and for future reference a quick and humane method is to put the animal in a box hooked up to your car's exhaust.

colette said...

Craig, that was the absolute shittiest thing to do. He could have died before you even left Iqaluit. If you didn't want to take care of it, then why did you guys bring it home?

Clare, the exhaust method isn't terribly humane. Exhaust gases are hot and burn before killing. Animal control officers have been prosecuted for cruelty to animals for using that method. No doubt it would have worked on something as small as a mouse without burning but not on a larger animal.

towniebastard said...

In retrospect, Claire, you're right about that and it honestly never occurred to me. It should have, but it didn't. And the box hooked up to the exhaust would have been the better method. Not that I think we'll have to go through this again anytime soon, but we'll keep that in mind.

And Colette, we honestly didn't think it was cruel. The thinking, and you can argue that it was poor thinking, was that the mouse's days were numbered, what with the giant tumour on its back. Why not give it a few days freedom before it succums?

Dumb? Perhaps. But there you go....