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Spanish Street Dogs; the other Waifs and Strays.

Spanish Street Dogs; the other Waifs and Strays is about the many and varied dogs that we find around our village. Many are abandonados, some are just plain lost, all are real characters, mostly streetwise but occasionally foolhardy. These are some of the stories...

Waifs and Strays... Of Mice and Men... and Women and Dogs...and Cats
14 September 2012 @ 19:39

Picture the scene... mid July (so getting towards the hottest part of the year), just finished dinner / tea so its about 9pm, O.H. (Summer) takes a trip to the fridge in the kitchen; not having a window it's dark so she snaps on the light and sees out of the corner of her eye a very small grey shape go scuttling across the floor and disappearing under the kitchen cupboards... liitle subdued shriek from her brings 7 dogs pounding through from the living room, all barking and creating mucho ruido and chaos (the 2 seniors are upstairsand vocally joining in from a distance).

"We have a mouse," she announces.

And so begins a couple of months of hide and seek... Mickey or Minnie is generally nocturnal but because the kitchen is normally dark, he / she doesn't actually know whether it's day or night ,so occasionally makes a daytime foray from its hiding place (wherever the hell that is)  and the first I know about its appearance is when first one dog then another visits the kitchen...

Anyway I managed to catch it about two weeks ago; one of the dogs had it cornered so I was able to drop a contained over it and trap it and release it back into the wild..

(Picture Courtesy Apodemus sylvaticus by Pethan October 9, 2005 The Netherlands and Wikipedia)

Regulars to this blog will know that I am a bit of a softy where animals are concerned; my view is that like us, they didn't ask to be brought into this world and as such deserve a fair crack at life. This applies just as much to mice as my dogs, so I won't kill them.  I released Mickey / Minnie out into the campo where we live. Now obviously this action puts it at the mercy of the birds and neighbourhood feral cats but hey they have to live too... and so Mickey / Minnie will just have to learn some survival techniques.

I thought no more about it until about a week or so ago when I found some mouse droppings around the bulk dry dog food bins in the kitchen and two of the dogs decided to take up overnight guard duties... I've said before on many occasions we are a bit pushed for storage space in this house.

I decided to try to find an access point... all of the walls in the kitchen are partition walls made from plasterboard. 90% of the wall surfaces above the worktops are tiled, but our "builder" (and I use the term very loosely...) left one area, normally out of view, unfinished. This area includes a recessed double electric wall socket, the fascia panel of which stands proud of the wall by a tiles thickness. This was, so far as I could see, the only access point our unwanted visitors might have... sure enough one small area behind the socket fascia had been scraped away and opened up a little (the give away was a small dusting of plaster on the worktop beneath the socket).

When he departed our "builder" left behind some of the unused tiles. Now I dont possess a heavy duty tile cutter so I measured up what was needed to surround the socket and took a couple of the tiles down to a marble and granite worktop supplier in the next village. Having explained what I was trying to achieve ie., blanking off the area surrounding the socket ,  she, (yes she!) cut the tiles down to size for me (Que precio?... Nada... muchas gracias...). I stopped off at our local ferretaria and bought some tile adhesive / cement / grout and set to work blocking Mickey / Minnies access 

Job done... right...?

Not a hope... later that same day mucho scrabbling and scratching noises now at floor level... Nothing if not persisitent...Now having searched all the likely easy access points, I couldn't find anything obvious and the dogs lost interest too so maybe Mickey or Minnies mate has decided to move on to pastures new. I can only think that there is an access point behind the washing machine but thanks again to our "builder" , it's almost impossible to drag it out without developing a hernia...(sidethought ...why oh why don't washing machine manufacturers put some form of retractable castors on the damn things its not exactly bloody rocket science).

Anyway, in the meantime I have been searching for humane mousetraps... like a said I dont want to kill the little buggers and a broken back or internally bleeding / haemorraging to death is not my idea of a reasonable way to go.

Checked out Amazon and came up with this...

Trixie Humane Mouse Traps

Seemed to fit the bill and had some good reviews too... and at about  £5 each worth buying... hell, if it doesnt work then it's no big deal... so I bought four, and they arrived this morning... Simple design what gets in cannot get out... I baited the traps with a few bits of the  dog kibble that had obviously been the original attractant .added a bit of processed cheese and  then set them in place.. one behind each of the two kibble bins, one under the worktop adjacent to the washing machine and one alongside it, then switched off the light to await results...

 I didn't have long to wait...Suzie the ex troglodyte podenca curious as ever, set herself up on guard duty and quite literally within 30 minutes she came through from the kitchen to let me know that something had happened... not just one but all four of the traps had been sprung, capturing four tiny little field mice and, far from being stressed out, they were all gnawing away quite happily on the treats in the traps. As with Mickey (or was it Minnie) Mk. 1,  I took them all outside to the fields in the campo and released them...

Back in the house I washed out the traps to remove any traces of them, then re-baited the traps and set them in place. That was about four hours ago... Suzie is still on guard duty, I've just checked the traps and all are empty so I guess for the moment at any rate that's it.

Summer is in the UK (again!) at the moment and when I told her of the success she did pose one very valid point... why are fieldmice coming indoors during the Summer? If it was winter then fair enough, it gets pretty damn chilly here but to find them in the house during the warm weather is strange... unless of course there has been a change in our immediate environment...

I have a theory...

Many moons ago we took on a neighbours dog called Luna (qv oher blog entries), she unfortunately died from peritonitis shortly thereafter. I still have a guilty conscience about that but I think it was going to happen anyway and neither I nor the attending vets picked up on the symptoms. This same neighbour sometime later got another dog (why God knows, poor liitle bugger lives in their garage most of the time and only rarely sees the light of day... they also got a cat... like the dog it is not spayed... Cat too lives in the garage but is able to escape and did so whilst in season... needless to say some weeks later the cat had kittens, four or five of them, I'm not sure, but they too have not been spayed... I would guess that they are now of an age wheh the females will be coming into season, and I'm pretty sure the original cat is pregnant again... It's only a matter of time therefore, before they beome 20 or more...

I strongly suspect that the reason the mice have adopted our house is because of the increase in the number of cats scavenging for food...

Like so many people out here, the neighbour just will not stop and think for a moment... indeed she finds it hilarious watching me trying to control the five leashed, snapping, snarling and baying hounds that they become when they meet the cats during our thrice daily walks...

And so there you have it... just the latest in an ongoing story of us countryfolk...

More next time!

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Edited to add... Saturday 15th September....after a much disturbed and almost sleepless night found another two in the traps this morning...!



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1 Comments


Janice said:
18 September 2012 @ 18:21

Many of my friends & I love hearing about your animals, fb.

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