How could the farmer’s wife do it? I mean, I’m not a huge fan of mice either, but did she really have to cut off their tails with a carving knife?! Was there really a need for that? Believe it or not, my husband and I have this debate periodically.  Maybe if she’d used humane traps, things would have been different. Maybe if she’d lured them out of the farmhouse with cheese…or hired a pied piper… Although, my husband has pointed out that, in this instance, the three blind mice “all went after the farmer’s wife” who only then “cut off their tails with a carving knife.” Self-defense, he says. Pure and simple. In some states one might even argue the “Stand your ground” law. Still, it seems awfully excessive to me, wielding that carving knife against three disabled rodents. But then, that’s my nature. I can’t stand the idea of a defenseless creature being scared or harmed or cold or hungry. Even imaginary ones.

I’ve chosen this rather odd topic because I woke up to find a mouse in my house this morning. Now my husband, Tom, and I have an arrangement: I set out the no-kill, no-mame trap at night before I go to bed. If it has an occupant in the morning, he takes the mouse to work and releases him into the woods. I don’t have to touch him. I don’t have to see him. But this morning one of the little four-legged fur balls found his way into the trap after Tom left for work. And when I got up, there he was—clearly scared out of his pea-sized mind.

Yikes! What now?

I could leave Mr. McFurrypants where he was until Tom came home from work—but that would mean another twenty-four hours in Mouse SuperMax and if the little guy was’t dead yet, he might very well be by then. Nope. It was up to me. I considered him for a moment. Something about him struck me as intelligent. Like if I put him out back or across the street, he’d just reverse navigate himself right back into my cabinets. And that, right there, was the problem. I maybe could’ve looked the other way until the spring, but this guy and his Mickey Mouse Club were making themselves quite comfortable in my pots and pans, and on the counters. Sweet, cute, furry, blind, whatever—I wasn’t going to risk Leptospirosis or some other freaky mouse-born disease. He had to go.

A half-hour later I was on my way to catch the 9:14 train with my friend in tow when I  pulled off the road to a wooded area that seemed leafy with plenty of material for nest-building. It only took an instant for him to realize he’d found sweet freedom and I got one last look into his beady little eyes as he bounded over the leaves and up the trunk of an oak tree. I even tossed a little piece of cheese nearby—just in case he got hungry. Then I said a little prayer that he wouldn’t starve or freeze or be ingested by a rogue boa constrictor.

Mouse removed safely. Train caught. Crisis averted.

McFurrypants is the fourth mouse we’ve put into the Rodent Relocation Program…and I doubt he’ll be the last. But I try not to think about that too much as I sit on the train, writing this and watching the world go by. I’m hoping the little guy isn’t cold or scared or missing his mouse family. I’d like to think that maybe—just maybe—he was tired of the rat race and is happy to be away from the pressures and the grind. Maybe he’s building himself a mousey condo even as I type this, eyeing some pretty little Minnie by the birch tree and wondering if he should go borrow a chunk of cheddar so he can get a closer look. Yeah. That’s the image I’m going with.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve just spotted a spider in need of rescuing and I need to construct a ladder out of tissues and chewing gum.

Are you a softy for all creatures great and small, too? What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done to see a critter to safety?