Saturday, March 22, 2014

Looking Death In The Eye

My friends lost their dog. It was very sad. He escaped from their yard and was hit by a car. It's such a tragedy. I can't stop thinking about him.

I can't write about this. It just makes me want to ask, yet again, why there has to be so much pain in one lifetime. This dog was so sweet and so young. And he was loved. It's a heartbreaking story. He was only two. Why do bad things have to happen to sweet dogs and their families?

It's been a recurring thought. Many people have tried to explain suffering to me. I just can't always take in what they're saying. I keep asking the question over and over again. I must be in denial.

It's as if I never heard the saying, 'Life sucks and then you die.'

Seth caught another mouse tonight. Even that act is fraught with tiny tragedy. Oh, this one survived being caught and carried in Seth's mouth. When Seth made a big noise in the kitchen, I just knew. I hate when they're in my kitchen. I'd cut off more than their tails with a carving knife. 

I sound so mean, don't I?

But I really hate that mice might get into my cabinets. I have to do so much cleaning and throwing out when they get into my house, especially when my kitchen is at stake. I hate it.

So, I got a plastic tub with a tight lid and stood there, petting Seth and hoping he'd drop the mouse for me. He ran with him into the living room and let it go in front of the piano. Damn. I caught Seth's gray foot instead of the mouse he dropped. The mouse scampered off.

Both the dog and the cat stood at one end of the piano looking at the gap behind it. I moved the box of dog toys away from where the back of the piano met the wall. Seth struck a pose, but there was no mouse. Teddy pranced back and forth behind us. I played a couple of notes. Nothing.

I went into the bedroom where Mike was still up reading.

"Seth caught another mouse."

"Good!" he said, looking over the top of his glasses.

"Then he let him go under the piano."

"Can I get the pellet gun and shoot inside your piano?" he asked with a grin.

"No! Seth will get him. I know he will." And I left the room and closed the door. That man is going to put little pellet holes all over my house if I let him. My vacuum cleaner doesn't like to pick up the BBs either and I pulled three of them out of my carpet since the last time he got going after a mouse.

So, I sat back down to my friends on Facebook and had nearly finished catching up for the night when Seth got to rooting around in the computer cables at the other end of the piano. Usually, I shoo him out from there, but not tonight. He had free range tonight.

There was another scuffle and - Bingo! - he had it again. I grabbed the little plastic tub and Seth walked casually back into the kitchen.

'No, not my kitchen,' I thought. But there we were. I carefully turned on the light and looked down at Seth.

"Good kitty. Good boy, Seth," I said. I put the lid down so I could pet Seth. That had worked one time. When I told him he was a good kitty and petted him, he dropped the mouse right at my feet.

Yup! He dropped it again!

And I had it. I slammed that plastic tub down on the mouse. Only the mouse was almost too fast and I caught it at the waist.

I was not going to lose this bastard in my kitchen. I pressed down hard. I held it.

Carefully, I got the lid to the tub and slid it toward the half-in and half-out mouse. When I pushed it toward the mouse, it wiggled away, back into the tub. I got the lid onto the tub and closed the lid tight. I took the whole thing into the bedroom to show Mike.


"Way to go Seth!" he said. Seth jumped onto the bed, Teddy pranced back and forth, and I stood there with this mouse in a little clear tub. I get no credit, do I?

He had big eyes.

"It looks like he's hurt," Mike said. The mouse's legs were splayed out behind him.

"I squashed him when I caught him with the tub."

"Seth may have broken his back when he caught him. Good boy, Seth." Nope. No credit.

We both looked at his big eyes. I knew I should probably put him out of his misery, but I couldn't with those big eyes. Mike didn't say it. I didn't say it. Neither of us wanted to kill him this way. Mike could put a BB into one under the couch, but he couldn't look into the eyes of one in a clear plastic tub and kill it. Why is that?

As we watched, the little guy got his feet under him.

"He's going to feel like shit in the morning," Mike said.

"He probably feels like shit right now. I'm going to take him down to the baseball field before he escapes back into my kitchen."

"Bring Teddy. He'll want to go for a ride."

It was cold out. I wish I'd been wearing more than my pajamas and a jacket. As I parked in the lot of the baseball field, the dome light came on and I looked into the mouse's big eyes again.

"I'm going to put you outside," I told him. "You're going to have to watch out for the mowers and the little kids waiting for their brothers to finish the game."

He didn't answer me. He just stared right at my face. He was a very brave little mouse. He didn't beg. He didn't shiver.

"It's cold out here, so I'll put you into the tall grass." I said as I stood in my own headlights. I must have looked ridiculous, as always, but this was too serious a moment to think of what people were thinking of me. This was a life that I held in a clear plastic tub, a life that had nearly ended in my kitchen.

I opened the container and tipped him into the grass. He didn't move. I felt bad about the cold. I really did. I felt bad about squishing him with the plastic tub.

In the morning, when the little kids arrive for baseball practice, there might be a tiny dead mouse lying in the grass. There might not. Dead or alive, no one else will never know how brave he was as he looked me in the eye.

Thank you for listening, jb

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