Sunday, July 31, 2005

Beatrice & Regina

We now have two female rats - a brindle shorthair named Beatrice (or Bea for short), and a white shorthair with fan hood named Regina (or Ginnie for short). They are sisters, and only half grown, but already about 8 inches long (not counting the tail) They have beautiful large brown eyes, are smart as a whip, and love to cuddle.

We have a 'high rise' wire cage topper for a 10-gallon aquarium, that we modified to accommodate a 12" Superpet Silent Spinner, plus a hammock for the top floor to them to hang around in. It's chuck full of stuff now, with four levels. I think they should have a lot of fun snuggling, exploring, running, and eating in there! (Although I definitely am interesting in making a rat apartment...VERY cool!!

On the other hand, I'm just as tempted to just get a 20-gallon high, then get one of these marvelous Martin's toppers...

Saturday, July 30, 2005

"Get out the vote", Mouse-Style

Well, I must say I am very impressed with the fans of Mabel (and we are mighty appreciative, let me tell you) - his standing in the Pocket Pet Photo Contest is at 39% of the vote, with 171 votes out of 332, at this hour.

Fellow animal lovers, we ask that you get out the word and make this a landslide. Give "Mabel" your vote, and make sure the deserving mouse wins!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Love in the shape of a mouse

Sweetest little treasure
In the palm of my hand
Sitting and blinking
Smiling only the way a mouse can

Paws stretched forward beneath his chin
Ears perked and eyes winkling
Contently settling in

Every little twitch
Like the beat of my heart
Conversing without words
Keeping the silent wish
That we will never part

Love in the shape of a mouse

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Eulogy to a Mouse

While I loved Mabel the mouse, I did not love him as Christopher loved him.

To watch them together was to see something very special. Sometimes there was out-loud communications, even noses touching whiskers and paws. Sometimes there were playful runs up an arm in a attempt to run away, but always he would return to...the hand.

The hand of Christopher.

That is how I will remember Mabel. With Christopher, in the dim light of the evening, maybe near a small lamp. Christopher's arm bent, with hand turned palm-side up, fingers slightly curled. In the crook of that hand, in the cushiony pillows of the palm, lay Mabel. Sometimes eyes open, sometimes eyes closed. But always wanting to be with Christopher.

The last evening of Mabel's life, into the wee hours of Saturday, he lay quietly in Christopher's hand.

Christopher and Mabel didn't need to say a word - but if they did, it would have been Love.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Mabel Mouse

It's late at night and I am holding Mabel. He seems to be colder than he should be and his breathing is not as deep as it usually is. But, he is still perky, eagerly grabbing unto any treats offered to him and complaining if I move too much while he relaxes in my hand. It has been difficult for me to watch him slowly slip away from me and this world. While in the last week he seems to have been improving I lived in dread anticipation in what was to come. Mabel had been so much more like his old self the last few days.

We put Mabel away and Trish suggests that we put the heating pad underneath the corner of his cage where he sleeps. I watch Mabel go into his nest with a little piece of treat and he snuggles into place. It almost looks as if he has made himself a little pillow from some bedding. I watch as Mabel lays his head down and slowly closes his eyes, his head and body gently moving has he breathes his way to sleep.

It is the sound of rolling thunder that wakes me in the morning. I find Mabel. It looks as if Mabel had tried to crawl out from the nest to his food or water bottles and only went so far. He was on his side with his tail behind him, almost as if he had been captured in mid-run. I picked him up and lay him out on a soft cloth, checking him for any injuries or wounds. I asked Trish to take some pictures while I prepared for the trip to where the other mice are buried. When all is ready I wrap Mabel up in his cloth and we go. I find the spots where Mabel's one time cage mate, Belle, and Mabel's and Pudding's littlest-little girl, Lena, are buried. I find a spot for Mabel and put him in place.

Mabel had taught me a lot about how to love a mouse. I will miss him.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Back in the Swing

I've been sick. Tonight I finally got back on the wheel. Damn it feels good...

Vote for me (I'm the handsome one - #10)

Monday, July 18, 2005

In mourning?

After the death of Belle, I noticed some behaviors with the remaining female mice that could be construed as mourning.

One mourning-like behavior I noted with the mouse, "Little" Quimby, was that within a short time Belle was removed from the nest, Quimby was frantically rushing around the cages and tubes like she was looking for someone. Quimby would also go sit up in the top wheel and insist on sleeping there by herself. She also would not put up as much resistance when I would try to pick her up.

Other mouse mourning-behaviors in the case of Dixie was that Dixie would isolate herself from the rest of the group. Sitting alone, sleeping alone and generally not wanting to interact.

Pudding, the mother of all the mice, also exhibited some behaviors. Belle and Pudding had come into my life together as a pair, sisters as they were, from out of the same pet shop at the same time. Pudding had also been nonchalant and independent. But after Belle's leaving Pudding started to be more snuggly, coming to the cage bars or doors and wanting to interact.

I am worried that there are some negative behaviors. One example is "Big" Quimby appearing to be aggressive with some of the smaller, younger mice. At first I thought it might have been over food or turns running on the wheel. But the behavior appeared more prevalent after Belle's death.

In the meanwhile I am planning to keep an eye on them and little details such as their eating habits and how they deal with cage cleanings.

Friday, July 15, 2005

The mouse city has...grown...! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


We all wait for the enviable while hoping it never comes.

This morning while doing the feeding and checking routine with the mice I noticed some odd behaviors with the girls. Some were agitated while some were more affectionate than usual. The one thing that stood out was that I noticed that the girls would not go into the nest in the cage with the big wheel. One mouse in fact made her way towards the nest, stuck her nose in and immediately ran the other way. I opened the cover and found Belle. Belle was positioned like she may have died in her sleep while the other girls might have been nudging her or trying to snuggle with her. Belle was not completely rigid and in fact felt slightly warm, as if she had not been dead for too long or that the other mice may have snuggled with her during the night.

I took Belle out and gently wrapped her in tissue paper. Trish came over with a nice piece of fabric and I laid Belle out. We spent some time petting her, remembering her as the perky, seemingly fragile Auntie Mouse. I wrapped her up in her burial cloth and took her to the park where other members of her mouse family are buried.

As mentioned in the Tuesday, May 31, 2005 entry, Belle had a tumor-like growth. Research showed Belle could live for some time in comfort. I could not find any obvious injuries on her so I am assuming she died from complications related to the tumor. The evening before we found her she had been frisky and playful

"...Love in the palm of the hand"

A lady named Shona, on one of my mouse lists, creates these sweet little mouse poems...
Mice are small Wonders,
Tiny toes, tiny tongue,
Soft coat, Innocent eyes,
Love in the palm of my hand.

Monday, July 11, 2005

My Brave Little Boy

Mabel is aging right before my eyes. Between an apparent skin irritation and the possibility that his vision is starting to fail my brave little boy mouse is holding on. I also fear that he has the beginning of arthritis. We have been treating the skin problems and making his home a more accessible for him to get to the his food and water.

These days Mabel sleeps a lot, especially while I hold him. I want him to be comfortable for as long as possible.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Lumpy the Daredevil

A recent post on one of my mice lists caught my eye...
...One of our mice "Lumpy" gets his wheel up to speed and just stops and rides the momentum for three or four more turns. He also uses his wheel to literally fling himself to whatever part of his enclosure that he wants to go, including to cling to the screen top of his enclosure or to the top of his water bottle.
I thought my goodness, what an amazing mouse!

Than another list member responded, saying...
I admit I have had mice flung off the wheels by larger or faster mice, but I've never seen a mouse deliberately fling himself off with the intent of landing in a particular spot. Lumpy sounds quite creative. The only mouse I've had that was that creative was Athena who invented a complicated race course using the wheel, shelter, ladder and screen on top of the tank. The idea was to spin the wheel as fast as she could and than run the course in full ending up back on the wheel before it stopped spinning. It took a little while to figure out what she was doing, but once I understood, it made perfect sense.
I must say mice never cease to amaze me. As someone recently said, Mice are wonders in a little package...