End of a short era

So we brought the last 2 mouseketeers to the NM Wildlife Rescue Center in Albuquerque this morning.

We lost Cyclops in the dark hours between 4 and 6AM, though he seemed fine at midnight and 2, ate and pooped well and did all the things a little mouse does (which is eat, sleep, poop and wriggle). That was a shock to Ken and me both because once again we thought last night that we were heading in a more positive direction. (In hindsight, I’m wondering if that increasingly popped-out left eye was a sign of some internal damage incurred during the dogs’ exploration of the nest and the babies last Saturday. Maybe there was something going on there that would have killed him no matter what we did. Not that that helps…)

Anyway, the nice lady at the Rescue Centre said it had been a long shot, everyone told us it would be a long shot, we knew it was a long shot… and none of that stopped me from getting attached and trying. We brought Lazarus back from the dead twice on Thursday (hence the name), but after Cyclops this morning we realised maybe we didn’t have the know-how or the equipment. Lazarus and his unnamed brother will hopefully have an easier time in a facility that includes incubators and experts. Not that we don’t know a great deal about mammals (we both do), but we’re clearly not neonate rodent experts.

I know it was the right decision, but I still feel bad for ‘giving up’ on them, even though that’s not at all what we did.

Well, enough of that for now. As for the title, click-baity as it is for those who have been following the mouse saga, it was the least click-baity I could think of. My first idea, “And then there were none,” would have been a great deal worse.

No pix. I forgot to take pix when we dropped them off in their little shoebox with the donated sheepy dog-toy and the shredded paper and toilet paper. Also, I had something in my eye and had to escape to the parking lot. I still do, actually.

Alert! Mouse post! Move along…

So, now that we have the rodentophobes out of the room, a quick update on the rodenty shenanigans. (Part I for those who missed it.)

We lost one of the 4 on Wednesday, and I had something in my eye for the longest time after that. Then last night I got up for the 3AM feeding (every 2-3 hours, 24/7, because they have stomachs the size of fleas) only to discover that another baby mouse seemed to be ailing. He was lethargic, super dehydrated, and didn’t want to eat anything.

Long story short, with the SO’s help we alternated holding him in a hand (warmer) and feeding him every 10-15 minutes, even if it was just a small drop. By 7AM he was filling out a bit and actually had a little visible milk in his tummy — that’s getting much harder to see now that their fur is coming in, which doesn’t help, though the fur coming in is a good thing obviously. At I write this it’s 1PM and he’s been back on the 2-hourly feeding since 7. He’s still pretty skinny and not quite as energetic as the other two, but he’s still here.

Not having raised orphaned field mice before I have no real basis for comparison, but these guys seem a little slow to develop to me. Which may be at least partly my fault — I focused more on the danger of over-feeding them (bloat, colic) than on the rather more dire danger of under-feeding them (you know… death). As a result they’re skinnier than they should be, or at least were until last night when I started stuffing them like Christmas geese. Now we’re finally seeing the round tummies I associate with replete neonate mammals, and they’re filling out their skin a lot better. A couple of them have really one weirdly bulging not-opened eye, but because it’s not just one of them (and doesn’t seem to cause them any pain), I’m treating that as a bridge we’ll burn when we get to it and calling the bulgiest little dude “Cyclops”.

So — so far so good, apart from losing almost half the contingent we rescued last Saturday. I’m trying not to flagellate myself excessively for that, but it’s difficult when one has a lifelong habit of wanting to take responsibility for the entire universe and probably beyond.

While the rodent contingent is doing well enough, I , predictably, am a wreck, both from lack of sleep (5 hours last night, in 2 – 1 – 2 hour snatches) and from the emotional roller-coaster of trying to keep tiny little creatures I know nothing about alive. Well, predictably for everyone except What Consequences? Girl, i.e. me. But as I’ve said before I wasn’t going to let them die in my back yard or pile them up somewhere so that they could die conveniently out of my sight; that’s not a mindset I understand even if they are at best a nuisance in our environment. As long as they’re not in my house (present guests excepted), I have no problem sharing my mountain with the field mice. I’m pretty sure they were here first.

I’d add pictures but they’re on my phone and my phone is in the kitchen and I’m not getting up and walking that far, no way no how. You’ll have to imagine them. They look more like mice and less like jelly-beans every day.

Positive vibes and sleeping tips gratefully accepted.