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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Australian Tails

We’ve always been an animal loving family. At present we are in custody of three dogs, an aging cat and a rainbow lorikeet that swears. 

At one stage we had sea monkeys as well.

We are on a first name basis with the Complaints Officer at the animal control section of the council (Hi Shane!). 

This is largely due to our evil cat who gets much gratification from provocatively appearing behind the fence and sending Borat, the German Shepherd into a frenzy of uncontrolled barking. 

Mind you he also barks at other cats, people walking past, Mynah birds, leaves blowing in the wind and … nothing at all.

When Lulu and Padraic were about nine and ten respectively, they suddenly decided that their lives would not be complete without the presence of mice.

After the previous macabre and chilling blood fest concerning the mice from “Silence of the Lambs” I refused pointblank. 

They begged, they bargained and there were tears and tantrums but I ignored their entreaties and stood resolute and firm.

And so they did what all children of divorced parents do when they don’t get their way; they asked their father. 

When I got wind of the depressing fact that Padraic and Lulu were both the delighted guardians of a couple of mice I immediately read the riot act. Under no circumstances were these mice allowed on my premises. Their inexperienced father had fallen for their diabolical con job and I was having no part of it.

“But Mum,” came the predictable petitions about three days later, “We stay here all week and only go to Dad’s on the weekend. Who will look after the mice when we’re not there and Dad goes away?”

And so the unrelenting, foul-smelling journeys between their father’s house and mine began. 
Lulu and Padraic sitting in the back of my car with the mouse cage on their laps, spilling woodshavings everywhere and permeating my car with the pungent smell of mouse testosterone.

It wasn’t long before two mice turned into five, five mice turned into twelve and so forth. We ran out of friends we could sweet- talk into adoption and the situation mushroomed out of control quicker than you could say ratatouille.

To make matters worse, Padraic and Lulu were rapidly losing interest in their once beloved pets and guess which village idiot was cleaning the cage and feeding the smelly vermin?

It was agreed after a family conference that the mice could be returned to a pet shop.

In all honesty, Scotto and I rang at least... gosh, two pet shops and not one of them was interested in taking the mice.

Like thieves in the night we drove the unwitting family of rodents to a picnic area at a beachside suburb. 

It was ‘mouse paradise’ complete with an overflowing rubbish bin and lots of mousey hidey holes.

After showing them how to build a campfire, equipping them with rudimentary building skills and then ensuring our cloak and dagger efforts had not been witnessed by anyone, we tearfully waved goodbye forever to the tiny creatures and 
scarpered back to the car.
As we drove away I idly noticed a very large hawk hovering in the sky above.