I saved her, and she saved me. People usually say this about dogs. But it’s a different story for me. I was saved by a mouse.
I have just been through a breakup. We have been together for almost 11 years and I believed we will grow old together. Instead, he broke up with me by e-mail. He packed his things and left. I was utterly devastated. And I was suddenly so alone in our (now mine) little flat that it hurt. Even if I’m an introvert, I’m not well suited for solitude. I crave connection.
An unexpected meeting
One day, I was taking a walk in the little valley nearby my home when I glimpsed a spot of white by the road. I stopped and I couldn’t believe my eyes. A small white mouse was sitting in the grass, calmly chewing on something and eyeing me fearlessly. I froze. Then a thought flashed through my mind, an exciting thought. I have to catch her. She wouldn’t survive here.
I didn’t allow myself a pet for the longest time because of the terrible state of my mental health. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to adequately care for another living being. But if I needed to save her, if she would die otherwise, then I will have to – get to – keep her.
I couldn’t contain my excitement as I lowered my hands to her. She was caught easily. I named her on the spot: Daisy. Her little nose poked out of my handbag as I carefully carried her home.
I didn’t know the first thing about taking care of a mouse. We had plenty of small rodents at home when I was a kid, but never a mouse, and anyways, it was years ago. For lack of better options, I put her in my biggest pot and served her water and oatmeal, which she consumed happily.
The next day I visited a pet store and bought all the things a mouse could need. A terrarium, small bowls for food and water, a wooden house to hide in, a running wheel, food, and bedding. Then I welcomed her home properly. She explored her new habitat – and immediately started trying to get out. My heart ached for her. She was used to the sweet taste of freedom – but that freedom would mean a death sentence for her out there. But I needn’t have worried. After some time, she settled in her new home like a tiny monarch that rules her kingdom.
When she started biting me, I was furious. Not with her, but because I realized that was probably the reason someone tossed her so carelessly outside to die. I wouldn’t get rid of her for such a reason. Every time she had bitten my finger, I lightly tapped her nose and said loudly: “No.” I don’t have the slightest idea if a mouse can learn to understand ”No”, but it was worth a try. I bought her plenty of wooden toys to gnaw at. And really, after some time passed, she stopped biting me almost completely. She takes a small nibble when she is bored or adventurous, but she doesn’t hurt me. Her bites are gentle, exploratory, like she is asking “And what do we have here?”
My cute companion
Often, I marvel at the small life in the palm of my hand. She is willful, cheeky, clever. I have never realized that a small mouse can have such a big personality. She has beautiful little paws that feel like a gentle caress on my skin, the softest fur, the cutest little whiskers, and tiny ears.
She is nocturnal, but I take her out of her terrarium in the mornings and evenings, to spend time with her, to be in contact with this fascinating little being. When I wake up in the night, I hear the comforting squeaking of the running wheel. Lately, she started coming out also during the day. I think she wants the company.
She sometimes lets me scratch her chin. She comes out of her house when I talk to her. She observes me through the clear plastic walls of the terrarium when I come close. I believe she knows my voice, that she recognizes me. When a friend visited, he exclaimed in surprise “She can see me!”
The love of a mouse
She became my true friend. When I came home from my post-breakup trip to Dresden, where I cried myself through every evening, she put her tiny paws on me and suddenly my heartache lessened. I’m so glad I have the company of another living being in my home.
I have always wanted a dog, and I still do. I have thought before that a rodent didn’t have that much affection and intelligence to offer. But I have never realized how much love and company can be found in the presence of a tiny mouse. I’m so glad I met her that day.