December 8, 2012 § 1 Comment
I knew today was going to be a bit off when I woke up at 4am. The fitted sheet had been pulled off the bed and the blankets were all messed up, so I could tell I wasn’t sleeping well before I woke up. All I can remember about my dreams is that I ran over the dog I met last night at a holiday party. That’s bad enough.
The weather was really weird too. It sounded like it was raining, but when I looked out of the window, I couldn’t see any rain though it looked foggy. So I thought maybe it was the wind blowing the leaves, but it didn’t look windy either. The weather the rest of the day has been strange as well, with really low, dark clouds but no rain.
Got to work and the tours were a disaster. One of our docents (one of my favorites actually) had a stroke last night, so we were short a docent for a tour that was supposed to be 40 kids. We’re still waiting for an update on his health status from the hospital. Only two other docents showed up (our of four). The students got to the museum 20 minutes early, but because it was Pancakes with Santa day, they had to wait outside because we couldn’t fit them in the lobby. We assigned the docents to their extra-large groups and sent them up to Rockwell, but Security refused to open the doors until exactly 10am, even though we have them open Rockwell early literally almost every day. The other tour at 10am was supposed to be 12 people, and about 30 showed up. Not much I could do to help.
I decided to take a hike to help clear my head from the events/frustrations of the morning, and I called a friend of mine from work to see if I could take her dog with me. She was more than happy to have her dog out of the house, so I loaded her up and headed to Red Mountain.
The trails were mostly empty, I assume because the weather was so ominous-looking. I wasn’t too worried about the weather because I had only planned for us to be out there an hour based on my previous day hikes there. This time, though, I decided to take a different trail which ended up being much much longer. About an hour or so in, we come to a lovely overlook, but there’s a sign that says “End of the Trail” which I was 100% not expecting at all because the other trails I’d been on there were all loops. It was just how my day was going. I really didn’t want to be out there another hour, so we jogged half of the way back. During one of my walking periods between jogging sessions, I saw a baby mouse in the middle of the trail.
My first thought was to move him. Admittedly, there weren’t a lot of people on the trail, but the people I had seen were guys jogging or on bikes, so at their speed, they wouldn’t have seen the little guy and probably would have run over him, especially since he was smack dab in the middle of the path. Cricket was looking forward, down the trail, so I tried to get the baby mouse onto a leaf so I could move it onto the side of the path, knowing that the smell of a human will repel the baby’s mother. Unfortunately, Cricket turned around to see what I was doing so I instinctively scooped up the little guy before she could eat him.
First mistake. Now he had my humany smell all over him. Judging by the fact that he was covered in fleas, I was pretty sure his parents were long gone. I pulled all the fleas off him as I was pondering what to do. Clearly he was on his own, so many my scent would help protect him instead of doom him. I decided the best I could do was hide him on the side of the trail and let him try to take care of himself. After putting him down on one side of the trail, I decided the other side looked safer because there was this little collection of twigs and leaves that would cover him and keep him from getting rained on. As I was moving him under the twigs, he bit me, and instinctively I shook my hand in reaction to the bite, throwing the little guy into a twig where he lay curled up with his eyes closed. FUCK.
Try to save baby mouse from being stepped on or run over, check.
Try to save baby mouse from being eaten by dog, check.
Rub human scent all over mouse in the process, ensuring that his parents, were they ever to find him again, will abandon him, check.
Move baby mouse to safest area from predators, rain, and hikers, check.
Get bit in the process, shake off baby mouse, send him flying into a twig, check.
Way to screw the pooch, kiddo. Honestly, I feel a little better about the baby mouse dying from the shock of breaking a tiny leg when he hit the twig than from him starving scared and alone in the middle of a very big world. I should have just left him alone, kept my nose out of Nature’s business, but it’s so hard to see something that small sitting there so vulnerable and alone. Maybe it would have been better to leave him there, let him get stepped on, because at least that would have been a faster death. I don’t know. It’s too late now. Poor little guy. The biggest thing in the world that I absolutely abhor is the death of children, especially when they suffer and are scared and alone. No matter if they are human or animal, it breaks my heart. I hate that I could have made things worse for that little mouse.
Sometimes shit goes wrong. Lesson learned that best intentions can cause the most harm, check.