When you read the title of this post, you probably assumed that it had something to do with a live mouse and a cat. It has nothing to do with either. Well, not quite.
Before we got Mylo, we had Kitty—the cat that gave us Odin and the rest of the kittens. When Mylo joined our family, we already had a number of cat toys scattered around the house: feather toys, catnip balls, scratch posts, and one of those toys that you attach to a door knob. This particular toy had a stretchy string on it with a stuffed mouse and a bell attached. The cat didn’t want anything to do with it. Mylo, however, quickly discovered that it was a source of unending entertainment.
One evening, while I sat in the living room folding laundry and flicking through the channels, I heard a strange noise. It went like this: click, click, grumble, scratch, scratch, grumble, sproing, jingle, smack, bark. I sat, befuddled and confused. I looked around. No Mylo in sight. That was a bad sign, since a puppy wandering around the house unsupervised always leads to disaster. I called Mylo but he didn’t come. As I was moving the laundry aside to go investigate, I heard it again. Click, click, grumble, scratch, scratch, grumble, sproing, jingle, smack, bark. I hurled myself off of the couch, scattering loose socks and facecloths all over the floor. I walked towards the hallway only to find a baby corn tail poking through the doorway. There was Mylo. His back legs at an angle, creating tension, tail wagging furiously, puppy grunts coming out of him. I moved so that I could see what was causing him to have to exert so much energy. I saw a string going from his mouth to the doorknob, and a felt tail sticking out of his mouth. He hadn’t noticed me, and I wanted to see what this was all about.
He hauled on the mouse until the string was taut, his body rigid with concentration and effort. When he could pull it no more, he opened his mouth and released the mouse. It flew through the air, jingling and bouncing off the floor and walls as the string tried to pull itself back together. Mylo watched it, enthralled and utterly amused. As soon as it stopped moving, he grabbed it again. Hauling on it and then letting it go. After I recovered from the initial shock of learning that my dog was more intelligent than I had thought, I laughed. Snorted even. Mylo noticed and trotted over happily. He gave me a lick then started to chew on my ankles.
After that first discovery, I decided to teach Mylo “get your mouse” and it became something that he would do on command. But, as he grew, the mouse became much too fragile to stand the constant racking and it eventually exploded. Stuffing flying sadly through the air, string snapping in two, and Mylo attempting to consume the fluff.
We never bought another. Perhaps it will just continue to be one of those memories that I go back to over and over again. One of those memories that will always be etched into my brain. One of those memories that will make me chuckle even when it’s completely inappropriate and awkward to do so. Or perhaps we will buy another mouse to sacrifice to him. Mylo, my own personal deity of amusement.