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