Earlier today, I helped take a big float out of a barn. It's been in there pretty much untouched for 3 years. Maybe 4. Got a donated, very old pool slide out of the barn too. We got it on a trailer. Hosed everything down. Then headed for the lake to set it all up. Everything went well. Got it in the water without a problem. Five adults kicking go it to the floats summer anchor spot fairly quickly.
Once everything was set up, we naturally had to test it out. A few adults went down first to verify safety while the kids swam from the dock out to the float. All was well. We were having a good time jumping, diving and going down the slide. After about 20 minutes of having fun going down the slide, my older daughter was trying to do the beginner dive where you start on one knee. Her version had a little jump that turned it into a belly flop. I demonstrated how the dive was supposed to look and to tell the truth it is a little harder to do off of a float. When you go in, the float moves back. Anyhow, as I swam around the corner of the float, I was face to face with a soaking wet and very unhappy mouse.
And then it started raining. We didn't have anything to either kill or save the mouse. We had a small coffee can we were using to wet the slide with lake water. I don't think the mouse would have enjoyed being caught in the can and I know I would not have enjoyed swimming to shore with a mouse going crazy in a coffee can without a lid. The threat of having the mouse bite one of us was a little too strong. If it got out of the can while we were swimming, the little bugger was going to dog paddle like mad towards one of our heads.
So we started swimming to shore.
In all fairness, this mouse had ample opportunity to make a run for it while still on land. Several 10 to 15 minute periods of time when the float was completely unattended. I still feel kind of bad just leaving the mouse there. The options left for it were not good: stay on the raft and starve/bake in the sun, get eaten by a bird, or drown. And on the flip side, my only opportunity to help the mouse would have put me too close to a very frightened wild (sure it's small, but it's still wild) animal. The possibility of a thunderstorm didn't help either.
Yes, mice are a pain in the ass. I'm not really sure why I feel sympathetic towards this particular mouse. I'm certainly not a vegetarian. I had no problem nuking a hornet's nest last week. Maybe it's because I liked Stuart Little and Ralph and the Motorcycle as a kid. Or maybe it's because this seems like something an unusually twisted pirate would have done back in the day. I don't know.
For what it's worth (I'm sure it's not worth much): Sorry, mouse.