Ebenezer Scrooge, my Christmas spending mentor, was eventually shamed out of his miserly existence by by the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come in A Christmas Carol. The terrifying spectre (which, in the wonderful film Scrooge featuring Albert Finney, closely resembled the grim reaper) shows Scrooge that the cemetery is where both he and Bob Cratchit’s son Tiny Tim will wind up if Scrooge does not change his ways and try to help Tiny Tim. Well, strangely enough, DJ and I were visited the other night by our very own version of Tiny Tim.
There I was, writing my Scrooge-like Christmas card list (of course, Scrooge would probably disapprove of having a Christmas card list at all!), which consists of only sending (by second class post) cards to people who send me a card first (and using up spare Christmas cards from past years which I always save in a filing cabinet), and thinking of all the money we’ll save by not having any guests at Christmas, when I thought I should check to see if the cat wanted to come in. I opened the back door and Doogs came running in – not surprising given it was only 2 degrees out there. But instead of going straight to his dish he ran to the hallway, which was a bit odd, and sat in a corner. I turned the light on and realised immediately what was going on. He’d brought a friend with him – a tiny little field mouse from the garden, which he must have carried in his mouth. Terrific, I thought. Doogs used to be rubbish at catching things but is making up for lost time in his old age. I approached the mouse to rescue it, recoiling when I realised a big patch of its neck was missing where the evil Doogs had no doubt bitten it. I steeled myself to put it out of its misery, when I realised that despite its injuries it was still very much alive. The little thing ran into my hand and right up my arm, shaking but obviously relieved to be away from the Doog Monster, who yowled, complaining that his new toy had been taken away.
What should we do? The poor mite wasn’t well enough to be put outside and would certainly die. DJ, who is always good in times of crisis, suggested putting it in a little aerated box in the airing cupboard with some food after an internet search told us injured pet mice should be kept warm, at around 28 degrees C. “Should I take him to the vet?” I suggested, wearily. I recently had to pay nearly £200 for Dougal’s abscess treatmentand still haven’t got my money back from Tesco pet insurance yet. And while I pitied the mouse, aka Tiny Tim’s predicament, I shuddered at the thought of having to take every single mouse Doog’s mutilates to the vets. Fortunately DJ found some wound powder he keeps for the chickens and put some on the mouse’s neck, although Tiny Tim, with his big brown eyes, was hardly impressed.
We fully expected him to be dead when we woke up on Thursday morning – whether from shock, his wounds or an infection, but surprisingly he (or she – we don’t know!) is still very much alive. He is obviously a fighter. And I’m in a frugal dilemma still over whether I should take him to the vets – and risk casting my frugal Christmas budget to the wind – or leave it for a few days to see how he gets on. I’ve never kept mice as pets so any advice would be well received!But it looks as though we could have a little visitor over Christmas after all!