Monday, August 07, 2006

Blackdogz Wildlife Relocation Service

Canine Good Citizen that she is, P-Dog accompanied me to the lake this morning to find alternative accommodations for some of the field mice residing in our garden. The wrens don't seem to mind sharing their birdseed, and the dogs and I are entertained by their hijinx (scampering up sunflower stalks and whatnot), but we've come to accept that mice are not pets.

Ordinarily, B-Dog accompanies me to the lake because I try to go very early in the morning and he's somewhat the BBD. But this morning I overslept so P-Dog got the adventure.

Our haul: 4 or 5 mice. Our largest yet, actually. It took them about 15 minutes to flee their traps.

At this rate they may be reproducing faster than we're able to relocate them (heck, they may be reproducing in the traps!). But you do what you can.

Tonight's repast will be very fine cheese rinds: Drunken Goat and Mirabella. I'll need bigger dinner parties if I'm to move this feast into the wilds before Autumn.

Mouse Relocation Procedure

  • Obtain the following supplies: latex gloves (available in boxes of 100 at Home Despot), shopping bags with handles, 2 catch and release mouse traps (usability test before purchasing: a one-handed release is preferable; a large viewing window is essential), hand sanitizer in a pump container; plastic grocery bags

  • Set the traps in the evening, against edges of things (walls, landscaping , shrubs) near the likely mouse residence

  • Check the traps early the next morning (to avoid heat stroke/suffocation--of the mice, but perhaps also the humans under global warming): walk gently near the traps and peek in the windows; note that mice often hide beneath the trap mechanism and may not be viewable in the window so look for tell-tale tails

  • If bringing a dog companion on the release-journey (highly recommended; turns this relocation task into a pleasant morning excursion), prepare the dog for a quick departure (better done now than with mice in bags)--but never put dogs in a summertime car until you're ready to get in it yourself

  • Place in a plastic grocery bag: hand sanitizer, an extra pair of latex gloves, another empty plastic grocery bag

  • Put on TWO pair of latex gloves

  • Gently place the mouse traps in the bottom of a shopping bag

  • Place the aforementioned plastic grocery bag on top of the mouse traps

  • If driving, load the car with the shopping bag (front seat) and dog (back seat, secured away from shopping bag)

  • Choose a release location reasonably distant from your home, in a public park accustomed to people with dogs and bags and wildlife (ideally one with feral cats or carnivorous birds)

  • Walk to a discreet location with both (a) a shady spot covering a bench or tree (free of poison oak or ivy) and (b) dense grass

  • Tie the dogleash to the bench/tree--give him/her a bowl of water if you're planning to watch the liberation proceedings

  • Carry the mousetraps into the grass, gently releasing the lids and stepping to a spot where you can observe the mice leaving without casting a shadow over them

  • Remove the outer pair of gloves and place them in the shopping bag

  • Observe the departure--or go walk with your dog a while (leave the bags hidden in grass away from the traps) Note: passersby will think you're just a fastidious glove-wearing pooper-scooper

  • Doublecheck the traps to be sure no mice are still hiding within the entrance or trap mechanisms

  • Place the traps in the empty plastic grocery bag

  • Walk the shopping bag to a trash bin; toss out the shopping bag and both pairs of latex gloves (removing the pair you're still wearing) and any bags of dog poop

  • Apply the hand sanitizer and return it to the bag with the back-up gloves

  • Carry the two separate plastic bags to the car (one with used mousetraps, one with clean gloves and hand sanitizer for tomorrow's excursion)--the thing is: you don't want your traps to smell like human sweat, so they must be kept apart from the used latex gloves, which become ultra sweaty during this process

  • Return to the car and drive home with your happy dog and good karma

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