Despite being fairly poor when I was little, we always had horses. Having horses meant having big bags of grain in the barn. My mom used to store them them in a small room in the little barn. We didn’t have electricity in either of the barns so feeding the horses in the winter usually meant blindly plunging a cup or scoop or whatever my mom used at the time into the feed bag. She wasn’t silly though, she kept the feed bags in thick plastic garbage cans to keep critters out.
My mom defied my theory that all women are secretly scared of the dark. She’d go out in the pitch black night or morning every single day to feed the horses without so much as a flashlight. It didn’t seem to bother her. When I was a teenager and I started feeding the horses before school because mom had to work at ridiculous o’clock in the morning, I always turned the arena lights on, not caring that it was 5 o’clock in the morning and the blaring arena lights probably woke up all the neighbours. They made me feel safe.
I think I was pretty young when it happened, so I’m not sure if I’m remembering the event, or the story of the event, but either way, I know it happened. One morning (or maybe night, I was young at the time, so minor details are a bit fuzzy.) my mom went out in the dark to feed the horses. She hadn’t been out there very long when she came back inside in a slight panic, blood oozing from her hand.
After removing the lid from one of the grain cans, as she did every morning and every night, she stuck her hand in the bin to scoop out some grain. Except this time, something was lurking in the bin, feasting on the grain after it chewed through the thick plastic. She had to go to the hospital to get rabies shots, stitches, and who knows what else. I think it was a gopher, but don’t quote me on that. My mom will read this (hopefully soon after I post it) and correct any wrongs in the comments, so have a look.
When we first got Rosie, giant bags of puppy food were on special at Pet Barn. I always like a bargain, so I bought one and put it in the garage, filling the small bag I keep in the house each time it ran out.
Mom getting her hand bitten by a something in the grain bin has always stuck in my memory though, so after I unzip the bag of dog food, I always have a look inside before sticking my hand in there to scoop the food out.
I saw something out of the corner of my eye after I opened the food bag the other night. A big, blackish blob scurrying on the wall. A stupid, disgusting cockroach. I rustled the bag of garden soil next to the dog food to scare him out, my foot ready for stomping.
The cockroach ran up from behind the bag, but suddenly, a little furry critter bolted out from behind the bag, seemingly at the speed of light. It somehow dodged the weights bench, the bicycles, and all the camping gear whilst running faster than I’ve seen anything run before and hid in the corner of the garage.
My heart was beating a mile a minute. There is a mouse in the garage. Or maybe a baby rat.
I lifted the almost empty bag of dog food, finding a pile of crumbs below. The little bugger chewed it’s way to food. I should have known better. I should have had the food bag in a metal garbage can. I didn’t think a mouse would get in the garage though. How would it even get in there? It’s not like a barn with lots of open door, a bare earth floor, and wooden made out of chewable wood. Our house is made of bricks, and the metal garage door goes right down to the ground.
Rosie would love to hunt the mouse, she hunts house crickets all the time. Maybe she’s just trying to play with them, but her idea of play leads to death and dismemberment, which would obviously take care of the mouse.
“You can’t let her hunt the mouse,” Aaron told me, “she’s still too sore, and she’s not supposed to run around yet.” Darn it, he was right. Rosie was spayed only a couple days before and the vet said she had to rest for a week.
Tomorrow though, she is allowed to run around again, so mouse/rat, whatever you are, if you’re still there, watch out: Rosie is coming.
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Copyright 2014 Sheri Thomson