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Springing upon a mouse

Connecting the Dots: Deciding when to fight
Mousie was chattering. I wouldn't call it singing. And she didn't need a piano...

A funny thing happened the other evening when Vinny and I went walking.

He patrols the streets on a retractable leash, lifting his leg here and there on the snowbanks that remain. He struggles over the rough terrain of those same snowbanks to get to trees, telephone poles and street signs as any self-respecting male dog would. That’s been my experience over the years of owning male shepherds, basset hounds and now a fluffy poodle whatsit.

But yesterday, here’s what happened.

We were just about a pitching wedge (9-iron for me) up the sidewalk, now bare from spring sunshine, when my small cute dog suddenly stopped, alert, looking. “Whassat?” he said.

I spotted it - a tiny sign of spring life on grey cement was now a long putt ahead. (Can you tell I’m in the mood for green amid a dreary March?)

Zigging and zagging. Yes, a mouse. My years as a farmer told me to let the hounds out. Vinny and I rushed forward. Besides I was interested to see what my little town dog would do. My basset hound was a better mouser than the cats. And kinder. It was a quick end to every rodent he snapped up.

The tiny gray rodent did all it could in the split second of attack. It huddled against the crusty snowbank on the edge of the sidewalk.

With terrier-like instinct the small dog made a grab, flipped the mouse, and shook his head. I knew Miss Mouse had bitten back. This had flung her across the sidewalk and bought the wee timorous beasty some time as her attacker pursued. (You can tell my allegiance is shifting, can’t you?)

Yes, I slightly restrained my 20-pound furry four-wheel drive, thinking, “that’s not my mouse.” And it wasn’t. Pitted against a giant, Miss Mouse made a stand. Mouse secured her position within a tiny, icy cave, JUST her size. With chatter and gnashing of tiny teeth … I could see it wasn’t worth having a mouse bury its teeth in Vinny’s nose. He wasn’t so sure. But that was my decision this day.

The principle at play? Tiny Miss Mouse saved herself. There are times to fight and fight hard. Unforeseen circumstances may fall in your favour; unseen forces may restrain your foe.

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