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June 1, 2022 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Not a day for killing

woman in vintage bathing suit posed on beach with waves and book (California Historical Society/USPD - no restrictions/

Sometimes you just want to close the book on reality. (California Historical Society/USPD/

Enough light coming in the window, can’t avoid getting started.

Normal. A worthy thought.

Please let it be a normal day. No horrifying drama anywhere.

“OK, Molly Malamute, out. “I know it’s hot. Get used to it. Won’t change until Halloween.”

Halloween. So many days evoke Halloween now.

“Oh, Good Dog. Promptly done and in?

Oh, OK we can spare a few minutes for a Morning Lizard Hunt.”

Oh, it’s not serious hunting – at this stage Molly is more catch and release. The thrill of the chase. Battle of the swift and wit.

Even if she manages to mouth-capture a lizard, she just sits down and places it between her paw to look at it …until the opponent manages to snap the tail tip off and adopt the “run towards danger” approach, then scramble underneath her to escape through the grass.

Some summers every lizard in the Outer Realm have tail stubs. I’m sure some researcher would think this yard was some sort of special habitat for an previously unknown lizard species

Molly was happily lamb hopping back and forth between grassy yard  and bush row – What? So long? Must be some really athletic Olympian lizard.


The dog kept paw punching, then backing up and looking at the same flowering clump instead of chase-running oblivious to the destruction the flowerbed.

Closer, I could see the quivering of plants. That’s far too much shaking for it to be a lizard. Even for some heroic atomic changed Super Lizard. Snake? We have those.

Then I saw. 

A good-size mouse spread-eagled flat among the yellow flowers.

A coward? Totally terrified and unable to run (rare in past experience)? Injured?

But the tremors and convulsions  – probably not from fear, but poison.

Molly was confused from the lack of engagement by the unexpected visitor. She wasn’t charging – not with teeth and muzzle anyway. Only paw pounding right beside it – “Encouraging it to move,” she explained later.

After great difficulty with much twisting and grabbing of air, I did manage to haul the 85 pound dog out of the hedge, across the flowers, and finally shove her into the house.

She was most miffed. Her game spoiled.

Please let it be gone. Please let it run elsewhere. I returned to see what was waiting. Now there were flies.

Clumped a large clay flower pot over the poor, quivering, and jerking creature – added a big black bucket over that with a brick on top.

No more tormenting flies; dark like a den.

Mouse huddled in corner (1904. Beatrice Potter. Tale of Two Bad Mice/ Project Gutenberg/USPD artist life,

“Please. Have mercy. I meant no harm.”(Beatrix Potter/USPD/

Went to find the sharpshooter shovel.

When I was in elementary school, we would go to the old, unpainted farm house on weekends. Skipper, the dog, would be delirious happy running free range for a couple of days – slept for 2-3 days once back home. He also had a bad habit of chasing cars. Luckily, few came down the red dirt road; mostly farm neighbors. But one afternoon Skipper charged out and caught a car. From the porch I heard the yelp. Dad picked up the sharpshooter shovel and solemnly headed towards the road – telling me to get back on the porch. “We have been made guardians of the land and the creatures who dwell in it. We are charged with keeping those in our care free of pain and suffering,” he said before walking purposely to the road. 


Skipper miraculously  jumped up suddenly and trotted to the porch. No obvious damage – he must have only caught the bumper and spun off. A little stiff for the next couple of days, but he brushed it off. Apparently lesson learned though: never chased another car.

Lesson learned that day.

I notice and relocate any earthworm writhing in fear of the ants stalking it. Brake for turtles on the road. Gently capture and release to safety any confused moth. 

Elegant moth resting on porch column (© image copyrighted. all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Elegant moth regrouping on porch column once we convinced it that it would be naïve to accept The Cat’s invitation to perform in an indoor flying ballet. (© image)

Do not kill. Do unto others. Just the basics. 

This sad little creature – who, like most living things, simply want the basics of life: a shelter for home, nourishment, to raise a family, live its life and be left alone. 

Ill fated. Bad choices. Just innocently in the wrong place.

Just the basics.

It all waits.

There’s light. 

Not a light one, responsibility.

I’ll take on any karmic debt. That’s what guardians do. 

Was so hoping today wasn’t a day for killing.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Mouse among flowers with leaf parasol. (1918 Beatrix Potter. Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse/USPD. artist life,

Quietly, he made his final journey before I returned. From the smallest of creatures, a small kindness. Thank you, little one. Rest easy now. (1918 Beatrix Potter/USPD/


Leave a Comment
  1. shoreacres / Jun 1 2022 6:30 am

    My baby was back this morning, and it’s learned how to get into the birds’ platform feeder. As for your little mouse, if it was poisoned, best to keep it far from Molly. I know you know, but I was amazed to read that some household pets are poisoned by eating small other creatures that have been poisoned. The law of unintended consequences, writ large. (I just noticed your 2015 post “Ratty idea.” I have to re-read that one.)

    I’ve found more than the usual number of small caterpillars in the house this year. Is it wrong that I take them back outside, but leave them in the platform feeder for the birds that are collecting caterpillars for their babies? I rationalize that it’s better than just smooshing them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sustainabilitea / Jun 1 2022 7:29 am

    If we could have just one day with no killing, perhaps the idea would take hold, although I fear not.


    Liked by 1 person

  3. 1bl0gr3ad3r / Jun 1 2022 8:03 am

    My landlords finally stopped baiting their garage (i live above it) after finding a small one and calling me down to help. Poisons. So many variations – – not all chemical. Thank you for living the Golden Rule ❤


  4. Kate Crimmins / Jun 1 2022 8:11 am

    Awww, sad story today.


  5. Ally Bean / Jun 1 2022 8:46 am

    Sad tale, but one that replays over and over again.


  6. Robin / Jun 1 2022 9:11 am

    I understand and I’m glad it was not a day for killing. Mercy/responsibility is hard, but full of heart.


  7. SusanR / Jun 1 2022 9:11 am

    Please let it be a normal day.


  8. disperser / Jun 1 2022 2:46 pm

    I’ve had to bring mercy to a few critters in my life, as well as attend to a few whose last moments were on my property.

    . . . it’s never good for my calm.


  9. The Coastal Crone / Jun 1 2022 4:02 pm

    Sad, but you do what you can for those you can save. Sometimes you have to close the book of reality. Human killing seems to be everywhere.


  10. Curt Mekemson / Jun 3 2022 11:38 am

    It’s so hard, this day in day out slaughter where those with power, or a gun, set out to kill the innocent, simply because they can. I find myself skipping the news, playing ostrich and burying my head in the sand, trying not to do harm myself, and hoping I might do a little good.


Always glad to hear from readers.

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