When I say Jack Russell Terrier, what comes to mind? You probably think “mouse and rat killers.” (Right after thinking “Wasn’t Wishbone a Jack Russell?”) I mean, that’s what Jack Russell Terriers are bred for; they go “to ground” and with amazing tenacity, they follow the mouse (let’s not use rats, for peace of mind) right down into that hole and kill it. Relentlessly they chase after it, growling, snapping and gnawing through the cold, wet and icy ground, and they are not satisfied until the mouse is dead … finito … done … all over … the end.
Yes, this is what I thought too, until mice invaded our humble abode. At first, I’ll admit I was in denial. The cleaning lady from the Ready Set Maids of Houston said she saw one and I just looked at her and smiled, chalking it up to an overactive imagination. We don’t have mice; we have a Jack Russell named Rascal, a Beagle named Scooby, and a Schipperke named Skippy on the prowl at all times. A Jack Russell’s skills we have already discussed. Beagles will chase down prey and hold it in place until you can send your husband to capture and release it back into the wild, and for heaven’s sake a Schipperke was bred to keep rats, big rats off ships. Our Schipperke could certainly handle an insignificant mouse. Ya think? After a second notice from her, I thought it was actual prowlers, Googled around and started choosing a reputable company to upgrade my security. That is until one day..
Then my denial met the mouse as it ran out from behind our microwave oven. I yelled, “Mouse!” (My family says I screamed, but we all know I am not of a hysterical nature.) Rascal looked at me as if to say, “Would it like a cookie?” The Beagle and Schipperke never noticed. Hello Orkin.
Orkin knows all about mice. A big Orkin guy came out to the house. I’m not sure why, but the fact that he was big gave me confidence. I wanted the mice to know we were serious from the start. Big guy gave me some story about how dog food can counteract mouse bait — it’s the vitamin K in dog food. I smiled and said, “Give me the contract and get rid of the mice.”
In the meantime, I had not given up hope that my pups were on the prowl for the wanted mouse. Every time Rascal would scratch the door where the garbage can lived, I would throw back the door, Scooby and Skippy would come running, I would drop back fifty paces, point, yelling, “GET IT!” Scooby, Skippy, and Rascal would sit for a treat. As my mom always says “you get the behavior you reinforce. I clearly was not reinforcing mouse killing behavior.
One night Joe and I were in bed discussing the mouse problem, and I reassured him that our Orkin man was big and capable. I was confident the problem was on its way to being solved. Joe was quiet for a minute, and then added that he would much rather be trapped than poisoned. This only goes to show that you can gather all kinds of useful information about your spouse as you move through life’s little curves. I fell asleep only to be shaken awake by Joe’s urgent whisper, “Did you hear it?” “Hear what?” “The noise!” “What noise?” “That noise!! Are any dogs out?” The only dog out was sleeping soundly beside me. I then suggested he take a look around, to which he responded, “I don’t see that well at night,” and fell promptly back to sleep. I, on the other hand, lay in bed, wondering what was going to run across me in the dark night. As if reading my mind, Rascal pushed herself closer to me, and her confidence that I would GET IT allowed her to snore right along with Joe.
Fast forward to the day before Thanksgiving. It’s a busy holiday for us and I greet it with the organization of a drill sergeant. Our mouse problem seems to be under control, and I was ready to face both the family and business aspect of our holiday. In retrospect I can see God grinning. We were ahead of schedule, so my son and his father were enjoying sipping their hot chocolate and coffee in the living room. I pull out the garbage can in the kitchen, and a mouse jumps up, out, and dashes over my shoulder. I scream, “Mouse! GET IT!” Joe comes running, and of course, so do Rascal, Scooby and Skippy, sitting quickly for a treat. Our son calmly gathers his books for school announcing, “I knew it was a mouse.” Thank you for sharing, son. Joe never saw the mouse. My dogs are entirely too well fed, and are an embarrassment to their breeds. Hello Orkin – again!
Why is that people feel they need to meet your hysteria by being reasonable and calm? I wanted the Orkin man on the phone to be indignant, outraged and angry. Instead he listened to me calmly and asked, “Well when would you like us to come back out?” Oh, let me think a minute. . . NOW!! The Big Orkin man came, saw, and conquered. I have to admit though; my optimism was a little shakier after this visit.
As I set my Thanksgiving table, I wondered if I should just plan on the mouse arriving to join us. At least he would not surprise me again. I could set a little plate, a little wine goblet, and a tiny mouse napkin. We could stack all those outdated, never-used phone books that Joe won’t throw out onto a dining room chair and welcome the mouse in our house. (Yes, I know there is never just one mouse, but this is my mouse fantasy!)
However, our invited guests had never owned so much as a goldfish; they had never slept with 8 dogs, gone anywhere for three weeks with a Great Dane that had separation anxiety, had their suit coat peed on moments before walking out the door to a major appointment, tried to wrestle the company pot roast from a deer hound, or looked everywhere for a cell phone stolen and buried in the yard. They just would not understand a mouse joining us for Thanksgiving dinner. Grace was said, dinner was served and eaten … all had gone well. Towards the end of the evening, one of our guests went into the kitchen. I heard the garbage door open. When she announced she would put a new garbage bag in the garbage, I flew into the kitchen, followed by Rascal, Skippy and Scooby, who quickly sat for a treat. Do you know what I was most thankful for thatThanksgiving? Not even a mouse.
Glad you were in my Odd neighborhood. Feel free to drop by any time. Odd Loves Company and odd loves you and you and you!! I would love to hear from you in the comment section of this blog, or on Facebook or Twitter!