Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Chats du jour: Diana triumphs again


Laverne has begun hunting again. The moon is full and it's time.

Wait. The moon isn't full. But it's still time.

She has been going out in the evening for a few weeks now. She crouches next to the basement window where the field mice have a little nest. Until yesterday, all her waiting had been in vain.

Then last night, after she had been out for over an hour - over an hour without whining, which is a record for her, because she usually wants to come in five minutes after I've put her out because it's cold or there's a dog barking or someone is running a lawnmower or she has to use the litterbox, she started the Whine of Triumph. It's the whine she gives when she has something in her mouth that she wants me to admire.

I turned on the garage lights and went outside.

She had something.

I looked - it looked like a rather large mouse. It was no longer alive or at least it was doing a good job of pretending to be dead. I picked Laverne up and made her drop the large mouse. I called SH outside so he could see her trophy and admire and praise her for her good work. She does this while harnessed, you know, and with clipped toenails.

I didn't feel like moving the corpse into the trash, so I left it for this morning.

When I went out this morning, I saw it in daylight.

It was not a mouse. It was a rat.

Good riddance, I thought. The world is better off with fewer rats. I picked it up with my tulip hole digger and tossed it into the trash. I don't like throwing away the dead mice and the dead chipmunks because they are so cute, but rats are not cute. Yes, I know that is not the proper way to determine which beings are deserving of life and which are not. Cuteness <> deserving of life. But rats are nasty and we can hate them for other reasons besides their lack of cuteness. The bubonic plague, for one.

She wanted to go out again tonight. Again, after she'd been out for about an hour, I heard the Whine of Triumph. Only when I got outside, I couldn't see anything. I decided she just wanted to come in, so I brought her inside.

Before I could remove her harness, she pounced on something, then flew down the basement stairs. I turned on the light and ran after her. I saw something small and dark streaking in front of Laverne.

She pounced again. I got close enough to see that she had a tiny baby mouse trapped under her paw.

The mouse got loose. It ran behind the crappy made in China CD storage cabinet that SH bought from Menards before we started our made in China boycott and before he stopped shopping at Menards. Laverne ran to the other side of the cabinet and forced the mouse to run out from the side by me. I wasn't prepared. The mouse saw me and ran back behind the cabinet. It sat in halfway between both sides, quivering.

I grabbed the handkerchief I had left on the coffee table downstairs from when I was watching a very sad movie. I wanted to rescue the mouse, but I didn't want to expose myself to rabies. One series of rabies shots in the stomach in a lifetime is enough.

I tried to reach behind the cabinet, but there wasn't enough room. Laverne crouched at the other end, just waiting, tail swishing.

I heard SH coming down the stairs. "Hey!" he said. "You didn't do the dishes!"

"Bring me the yardstick!" I yelled.

"But the dishes!"

"Bring me the yardstick! Now!"

"Are you sure you don't want the tape measure?"

"I'M SURE! Bring me the yardstick! NOW"

The last thing I needed was for the mouse to escape into the wilds of the basement and then die. Dead mice can be very stinky.

He grabbed the yardstick and thundered down the basement stairs to find me on my hands and knees next to the cabinet and Laverne poised near me.

"She caught a mouse. I didn't see it," I explained.

"LaVERNE!" he scolded. "Bringing mice into the house!"

He moved Laverne out of the way, then stuck the yardstick into the other end of the cabinet. The mouse ran toward me and got past me. SH jumped up and chased the mouse. It ran toward the laundry room, but he trapped it with the yardstick. I covered my hand with the handkerchief, then gently closed it over the mouse. I held it close to my face so I could see. It stuck its tiny little mouse head out of the handkerchief.

It was so cute. SOOOOO CUTE. Take a look at this photo, which I didn't want to copy here because it's copyrighted, to get an idea of the cuteness of this mouse. It was about the size of a quarter. No wonder I couldn't see it when I checked Laverne's mouth for trophies. It was all the way in her mouth.

I carried it outside and put the handkerchief on the ground near the mouse nest. It scurried away. It lives for one more day, but it might not be so lucky tomorrow.

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