I saw it out of the corner of my eye as it darted from under the entertainment unit in the family room around the corner and into the kitchen. Of course, I wasn’t really sure if it was anything more than a dust bunny. However, it’s pretty unusual to see a dust bunny with a clear agenda, and this one seemed like it definitely had a destination in mind. But I decided to give the dust bunny the benefit of the doubt.
“Did you see that?” I asked my daughter who was sitting on the couch next to me.
“See what”?” she replied.
“That thing that ran into the kitchen.”
“What thing?” she said. I turned and saw the dust bunny emerge from the kitchen, look at me, and then nonchalantly walk down the steps into the breakfast room.
“That thing,” I said, pointing to the dust bunny.
She screamed and stood up on the couch, which seemed redundant since we were already on the couch. But it seemed like the appropriate response, nonetheless, so I did it, too.
“What is it?” she asked. We both watched the dust bunny saunter over to the dog’s bed and hop on. The actual owner of the bed was asleep at our feet and seemed unbothered that an aggressive dust bunny had taken over his domain.
“It’s a dust bunny,” I said.
“No, it’s not,” she said. “It’s a mouse.”
“Actually, it’s not a mouse. It has no tail. I think it’s a vole.”
“When did you become an expert on rodents?” she wondered.
“When they started coming in from outside and pretending to be dust bunnies,” I replied.
It was true. This wasn’t the first time we’d had a vole in the house. However, it was the first time we’d had one that was brazen enough to sashay around like he owned the place. In the past when we discovered a vole in the house, my husband and I had a division of duties. I would scream and get hysterical, and he would set the live traps. This time however, it was just me and my daughter so there was twice the screaming and zero trapping.
“What should she do?” my daughter wondered.
“I think we should wake up the dog,” I replied.
“But he’ll hurt the vole,” she protested.
“No. if we open the door, he’ll just chase it out of the house.”
“OK,” she agreed.
I jumped off the couch and went to the back door off the family room and propped it open. A blast of cold air rushed in. I wondered if anyone had ever frozen to death while trying to chase a vole out of the house and realized that best case scenario, we get rid of the vole; worst case, we die but we get into Ripley’s Believe it or Not.
“Alright, wake the dog!” I commanded. The dog was a world class squirrel chaser, so we had high hopes that this would end quickly.
“Monty,” yelled my daughter, nudging the dog awake. “Look!” She pushed the dog toward his bed. He stood there quizzically, not seeing the intruder. Then, suddenly, the vole moved. The fur on the back of the dog’s neck stood up. The vole, on high alert, took two tentative steps across the dog bed. The dog, in response, took one step back, tucked his tail between his legs and ran out the open back door.
My daughter and I stood dumbfounded.
“Now what?” she asked.
“Now…” I replied. “We have a new pet.”
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