*This story has a not so happy surprise ending. You have been warned.
Funny, when you google, “How do you take care of a vole,” you get things like, “Getting rid of Voles” and “How to Kill a Vole.” Not quite what I was looking for. Let me explain.
Two days ago, my daughter called me in a panic. “MOM! My friend and I need your help really bad! Allie’s cat has been tormenting a mouse all day. Now the mouse is trapped and squeeking and we were told to leave the mouse alone or we will get in trouble. Mom, I don’t know what to do!” In the last sentence, imagine a cracking voice filled with unspilled tears.
A few minutes later, another phone call. “Mom, Allie wants to talk to you!” “Mrs. Murray, I have a problem and I don’t know what to do. My sister won’t let me save the mouse, but the mouse is suffering and the cat won’t leave it alone. What do I do!?”
FIVE PHONE CALLS LATER, a plan was set. After the gym, I would help my daughter rescue the poor, down-trodden little mouse.
At the gym I received a few more phone calls. When would I be home? Who else could help since I wasn’t there. And finally, the last call of the night: “I GOT HIM!” Looks like we would have yet another pet.
I met Ashes a few minutes later as I stared in to the bathtub at this newly rescued creature with big, frightened eyes. The cage was set up, he was corralled in to it and soon fell in to a hard and much needed slumber.
The only way I could see this little guy was buy sticking my phone in the cage and snapping a few shots. I never really got to look at them until the next day, once my daughter was in school and I was at work.
Hmmm…. Something looks a bit odd about this mouse. Big head. Pointy snout. Well-spaced ears. After a bit of googling later, I realized Ashes was actually a vole.
When I picked up my daughter from school I gave her the big news. “Ashes isn’t a sickly mouse who doesn’t move around much. He is a vole who is acting exactly like a vole acts.” Pretty-Darn-Cool. After all, what kids in her school can say they have a vole as a pet!
Now, how many of you are cringing at the thought of a backyard pest being kept in the house? Anyone?
There is a twist to the end of this story. Last night at the gym I received yet another phone call. “Mom, I let Ashes go.” “WHAT?! After all that?!” “Yes, he woke up and started to look for a way out of the cage. Michael helped me to find a good spot for him in the front yard.”
I am so proud of this kid. No fear of outside critters. A need to rescue animals in trouble. And the ability to recognize when a wild animal needs to stay wild.
As long as she doesn’t cross that line from animal rehab to crazy cat lady, I think we will be OK.
The day I wrote this, my neighbor came to visit. Just after she left, I was surprised to hear her voice behind me. “Ummm, Katherine, you need to come out here NOW before Elizabeth gets home.
At that moment, I knew.
Indeed, there on the front lawn exactly where Elizabeth was soon to be was Ashes. Funny, when she first told me his name I quietly thought, “Ashes to ashes.” Sure enough, Ashes was no longer of this world. I took a picture. Click at your own risk.
I made my 18 year old swear my daughter would NEVER KNOW the end to this story. After some negotiation, we decided in ten years he can tell her what happened. But until then, Shhhhh. Did I mention I had to wait until my son stopped laughing at the irony of it all before we could successfully negotiate?
What a strange twist to this story. Sometimes no matter what you do, nature takes its course.
We have had many beloved pets come and go. She has never been shielded from the truth. But Ashes? Not worth the tears it would cause. Nope. Juuuuuuuuust not worth it.