My dog Suzanna is afraid of thunderstorms. (It seems random, I know, but all will become clear shortly.)
Last fall when Harry the Beagle came to live with me he destroyed a small patch of grass in my side yard*. At the end of May I purchased a large bag of Kentucky Blue grass seed and some Scott’s Weed and Feed in an effort to mend the destruction. There are one billion grass seeds in a single teaspoon** so there was a great deal of grass seed left over; the bag of seed has been resting quietly in an open storage bin in my garage since early June.
During the final week of my summer vacation I went to the beach for 4 days. I left my wonderfully responsible and highly competent co-worker and house sitter Amber in charge of my house and pets. When I returned last Saturday I discovered that the bag of grass seed had been ripped open and billions upon billions of tiny seeds were spread in and around the storage bin, as well as on the concrete floor of the garage and on the indoor/outdoor carpet that serves as a division between garage and laundry room (I’m still waiting for Vern from Trading Spaces to stop by and put up a nifty wall and lots of cool storage shelves, but in the meantime we do the best we can with our small areas). I was irritated, but I was sure I knew the whole story behind the grass seed massacre: there was a storm, and in her frenzied fear and anxiety about being alone in the garage, Suzanna blindly clawed at things hoping to alert someone of her situation.
At the moment of discovery, I decided I wouldn’t bother with cleaning up the seed until this weekend, when I had more time on my hands to do the job right. I left it there, convinced that its origin involved a scared dog and the sounds of an approaching storm.
Today I went into the garage to tackle the mess, and upon closer inspection I discovered two things that disturbed me greatly: 1) there were several small holes in various places on the surface of the bag that did not appear to have been made by dog teeth or claws, and 2) there were quite a few mouse droppings surrounding the bag and the seed. I conducted a thorough inspection of the rest of the garage and found mouse droppings in numerous other locations. I also discovered that my electric critter repellent was unplugged. In this moment I knew that Suzanna may have been involved in the grass seed incident, but she clearly did not actually instigate it.
I began an intense clean-up routine that involved gloves and lysol, but the idea that small unsanitary creatures with sharp teeth were possibly watching me from behind the dryer left me feeling dirty and unsettled. My plug-in repellent was back in business, but I wasn’t sure, given the mounting evidence, that it was enough to rid me of an already existing mouse population. I knew I was going to have to take drastic measures.
When I was a child I collected mouse figurines. I still have my collection in a box under the guest bed. I always stop to look at the mice at PetSmart. I think mice are cute–as long as they are not in my living space. Since I wash my clothes in the garage, and since my dog beds there while I am at work, I consider the garage part of my living space. But because of my aforementioned attachment to the little buggers, I am ethically against doing them harm. Mousetraps are evil torture devices, and those little sticky pads–horrors! But after a long, agonizing half hour in the pest control aisle at Lowe’s, I bought a box of D-Con. GASP. Just typing it makes me feel like a murderer. But they’re out there now as I type this–little boxes of poison. I put them out of Suzanna’s reach, but knowing that other creatures CAN reach them leaves me feeling very inhumane.
I see this post as a sort of confession. Bless me Father, for I have killed mice. And wouldn’t you know the damn grass seed never even grew.
*Harry doesn’t live here anymore, but his legacy lives on. I have yet to make grass grow in the wake of his destruction.
**This is an estimate. I think it might actually be more than a billion per teaspoon.