My wife and I make our home in a wooded area outside of Chicago and this past weekend we discovered a mouse running around our kitchen. I had heard about it from our housekeeper during the week, but kept it from my wife knowing it would freak her out and that she would immediately highlight the possibility for disease and that it would endanger our dogs, yada yada.
Well Saturday morning she saw it scurrying across the kitchen floor and the blood curdling scream told me it was time to come clean.
As expected, she demanded that I deal with it. As soon as she felt confident I understood the seriousness of the situation, she wanted to name him.
“Herman,” I said.
“I think he’s more of a Floyd,” she replied. “Floyd Herman?”
Before I continue, it’s important that you know something about me. While I love ribs and bacon and burgers and fish, other than mosquitos, I refuse to kill anything.
Spider in the tub? I’ll take it outside. Wasp in the house? I’ll shoo it out the door.
Being a dog owner, I believe in the souls of animals. And though I understand intellectually that 60 billion animals give their lives to us as food each year, I am not going to be the one to extinguish a life. There was no way I was killing Floyd Herman.
That meant I had to humanely capture our little man (who might totally have been a girl mouse of course).
I started by setting up a bucket and ramp mechanism with a peanut-butter coated soda can suspended from string. The idea is that the mouse runs up the ladder to retrieve the peanut butter and then falls down the side of the can when it spins, ending up at the bottom of the bucket. I placed my contraption in the kitchen and set up a GoPro nearby to view the action from another room.
Yeah. I’m pretty bad-ass like that.
My investigation quickly showed me that Floyd had a traditional path from the cabinet to behind the dog food bowls, and that he loved the smell of peanut butter. He stopped next to the bucket to sniff the air numerous times, but I was unable to get him to climb the ramp.
So the next morning I headed to our local hardware store and discovered that I could kill Floyd for less than a dollar, but if I wanted to remove him from our home with love I was going to spend just over $20 for a humane trap, which I purchased.
At home, I figured out how to set the trap, slathered it in peanut butter and set it directly in line with the path Floyd had taken the night before.
I swear to God, within 30 minutes we had Floyd Herman in a little cage. Annnnd he was freaking adorable. Now we had to set him free.
We placed Floyd and his portable prison inside of a priority mail box and then hopped in the car to drive a mile away to a forest preserve area where we released him into the wild. It was a heartfelt goodbye and the end of a great adventure.
As we were walking away after spending ten minutes ushering Floyd into the woods, I looked at my wife and said “We’re really good people.”
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And I meant it. I like us. We’re far from perfect. And I’m a total hypocrite in the way I consume animals at nearly every meal. And yet I appreciate and even adore the way we both look at life and feel connected to the souls of others, including our animal friends.
It’s a reminder to me that leading with love extends to all corners of our lives. There is love in how we relate to those we care about, how we approach our work, and how we respect those around us whom we barely know. We’re sharing this planet with so many forms of life and every interaction is an opening for love.
Goodbye Floyd Herman. I hope the rest of your days are filled with adventure and heart. We will miss you.