Our seamstress here at Dachshund Delights is a fairly even-tempered woman. There's not much that rattles this cool cat. Unless … that cool cat crosses paths with a snake – or – a mouse.
I recall one warm summer day I heard a scream outside the shop. Not just a scream – a SHRIEK. I looked out the window to see Helene standing on the wooden bench we have in the dogs' kennel area (a large fenced in section with pea gravel). She was clutching Garbo (one of the Doodles) in her arms and looking pensively over at the woodpile stacked up outside the fence.
The culprit of her near meltdown? A mouse had scurried under the stack of wood. At least she had the forethought to rescue Garbo from the dreadful beast before climbing to the closest point above ground level she could find.
Now I know it's not nice to poke fun at people's fears and insecurities. But come on, we're talking about a cute little fury creature that inspired a cartoon character that became endeared to generations. A world-renowned icon that has produced billions of dollars for the entertainment industry. Who can think of Orlando, Florida, without thinking M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E?
What could be so scary?
Well, let ME tell you …
Remember the story about Katie trying to unearth the source of an incredibly interesting scent by The Barking Box? (If not, click here.) The scent belonged to one (or more) of a large contingent of descendents, friends & cohorts of the woodpile mouse.
And that contingent had taken up very comfortable residence in OUR GARAGE.
But never fear, Katie to the rescue! Katie, as you know, hails from 2 Dogs Long Dachshunds in the Big Sky Country of Montana, where hunting big game is a passion and where seldom is heard a merciful word.
Having found "evidence" of the community making themselves at home in various places, I decided it was time to clean out the garage and evict the freeloaders. And Katie was quite willing to lend me her assistance.
Her nose, adept at finding miniscule molecules of odoriferous matter (read Life With Katie Part 1), investigated every box, shelf, can, bag & crate that I drug out of there. The only way to make sure all the urchins were gone was to completely empty the garage of all contents … and all containers of their contents.
Before I dragged it outside, she zeroed in on the base of a plastic tool rack – the kind that holds shovels, rakes, hoes … any long-handled kind of tool. Despite her interest, there was no obvious sign of any life form around the base or in the corner. So I proceeded with my task of sweeping off cobwebs and dust from the window next to the rack.
Note to self: When Katie alerts to a strong scent, PAY ATTENTION.
As I reached up with the broom, the source of Katie's interest LEAPT from one of the shoulder-height tools, launching itself through the air and onto the ground. This display of mousely bravado was just inches away from my face.
Helene's mouse-in-the-woodpile scream had nothing on the screech I let loose.
Katie's nose was too busy following the on-ground trail of Mickey Knievel that she didn't even see it run past her after its death-defying (damn!) landing.
All contents now outside of the garage, I worked my way through what needed to be thrown out (thanks to the housekeeping habits of the mice) and what was OK to keep. Again Katie zeroed in on a location of strong Eau de Mouse. This time it was our gas-powered leaf blower. She worked the nozzle end – then the plastic cage cover that protects the fan. Back to the nozzle … sticking her nose as far in the opening as she could. Again to the fan cover.
The stowaway took its chance and darted from the nozzle, hoping to escape while she worked the other end. Surprised that The Scent could actually move, Katie saw it escape but she paused a moment before giving chase. Her hesitation was just enough to give the vagrant time to find other cover. She gave up her search and came back to the leaf blower, figuring if she shook out one, maybe there's another.
I, however, told her she blew her chance and let it get away. Even though she insisted there was a mouse in the tool, I told her there wasn't. I picked up the blower and put it on top of some shelving. Katie wasn't fooled. Nor was she going to give up. Like a hound dog with its prey up a tree, she cried and barked and whined and jumped. Nothing I said could convince her that she had already flushed out the mouse.
So I took the leaf blower down and pulled off the nozzle so she could look for herself.
"See?" I asked her. "It's gone."
There was, however, some nesting material there, so I figured that was what had her nose in a tizzy. I set the blower down away from where I was working so she could investigate until she was convinced.
She was definitely not convinced. The whining and crying started up again as she tried her best to remove the plastic cage cover. I got a screw driver to take off the cover so she could see for herself and all this nonsense would be over.
Note to self: Refer to first note to self.
I popped open the cover – and out popped 3 more mice!
Katie's nose again was zeroing in on The Scent's home base and she didn't connect the movement and The Scent as being one. Not until I turned her around and pointed her in the direction of the scurrying in the leaves.
This time she got her prize.
And I very humbly said I would never make fun of Helene's silly little fear again.