The Green Mouse Project

About one month ago, my three-year-old daughter had her first fish funeral. As we both kneeled in front of our toilet, she sobbed and thanked “Mr. Fishy Fish” for being her pet. While we watched her beta swirl down into porcelain purgatory, I promised her that we’ll get another pet soon.

Our budget was a little tight but thanks to some gift certificates from the Ewa Bird Show, I had some credit at a local pet store. Replacing the beta was an easy fix, leaving me with a balance of $1.50. As the cashier was about to ring me up, I noticed an aquarium of female mice, going for 99 cents each.

I’m usually not an impulse buyer and when I am, it’s usually not live animals. I’ve had pet mice and rats sporadically throughout my entire life. The timing just seemed right. I had an empty aquarium but didn’t want to invest in electricity to power a pump/filter for fish. With my previous experience, I knew that I would be able to provide my daughter with her first furry pet, while keeping maintenance costs down.

While my daughter marveled at her new beta, “Mr. Fishy Fish 2,” I started my scavenger hunt for housing materials for “Mousey.” Knowing she wouldn’t appreciate the gravel I had previously kept in there, I decided to use shredded paper as bedding. I was low on old newspaper but I was rich in junk mail that I had been wanting to shred. It works out perfectly. Now I have motivation to finally start shredding my junk mail, plus I’m assuming identity thieves tend not to go through trash that’s soaked with mouse urine and feces. This mouse just heightened my security.

I didn’t have the typical mouse wheel and other toys but just as I expected, she loved some of my old aquarium ornaments. It didn’t take her long before she burrowed inside of an old pirate ship, which had a notch at the top to perfectly hold her water bottle.

Not having a traditional food dish, I sealed up a lid from a coffee cup that I used earlier that day. The mouse food is pretty cheap and in case you didn’t know, mice tend to pick and choose what they want from their food mix. Not wanting anything to go to waste, I’m taking the leftover mouse food and pouring it into our wild bird feeder.

What started with a gloomy pet experience later turned into an opportunity to bring new animals into my daughter’s life and teach her about recycling. “Mousey” maybe gray and white but her lessons are all green.

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