Memories of (my) dear mole …
Later that day ,
Mole and i were seeking a miracle
at the animal hospital ;
the shrew’s freedom
had been surrendered
to modern medicine ,
for no fault of its own ,
other than society’s need
to control every being and
Later that day..
I called the dog’s doctor to ask what to do regarding the mouse since i could not find a wild animal center..
By the early afternoon i had discovered thanks to Wipkedia, that the mouse was really a shrew, a small type of mole, that sadly for me as a vegeterian ,did not appreciate as a mouse would eat anything given to it; rice cakes, cucumber salate and grass, but the shrew likes to eat insects..
I do have plenty of insects i do not kill; spiders and some kitchen i was more than happy to supply the shrew but the thought of sharing my space again with a creature that kills its food , after having only tin dog food since the ex husband had been told to leave , sort of ruined the initial enthusiasm of sharing space with a new creature..
A small harmless helpless creature in need, was my weak point, the sort of a description that would also describe all my former boyfriends, ..so instead of an addict to beer and soccer, a small mouse, a shrew, a sort of mole that hides underground, and that is something we have in common ..the dog’s tendency to hunt might be an issue but i thought we could overcome most difficulties in the name of interspecies friendship but then the vet’s receptionist had burst the bubble of the reverie and had told me to call the local animal hospital since i could not locate a local wild animals’ shelter for the injured, abandoned or abused ( by cats) .
while making the phone calls and waiting for people to answer the phone after the mid day break, i sat with my shrew in starbucks , i had built it a house out of a plastic container of soup croutons from Israel , it was high enough to have resembed its natural habitat and i had punctured holes in the cap, in case it might find the strength to escape in the city..
By noon my original plan had been derailed towards focusing on caring for the shrew, the taming of the shrew as i called it once Wipkedia had given the creature its correct name .
I was sitting in starbucks sipping a Smoothie as the shrew began to show signs of recovery, staring at me with its tiny eyes as if begging for flies, but since Wipkedia had informed me the shrew has to eat every three hours, i became alarmed considering the very real possibility that the shrew could very well leave this world too soon while under my care and since i was already guilty of causing an orphaned hedgehog found in the garden, death by feeding it milk, i was determined not to let another orphaned animal slip through my fingers.
The time the Shrew and i had spent in Starbucks ,was enough for me to feel the tug of a bond of affection pulling at my heart strings , it does not take much for me to feel attached to living creatures, especially small and helpless though tall and helpless looking works too..
so there i was bonding with my shrew imagining all sorts of possibilities in our shared future ; flying together to sunny beaches on a shared shrew vacatio;
At last , i thought to myself , no more lonely nights ..the dog had the setback of not being able to fly easily but a shrew surely should be easily smuggled on to the airplane..
i had envisioned us on the beach together, the mole digging tunnels in the sand while i went swimming..
but alas that scenery was not to be..
I arrived at the Animal hospital complex feeling completely ridiculous by now not that vacationing on the beach with a mole was any indication of sanity, but as i sat at the waiting room surrounded by barking bandaged dogs , i felt odd holding the plastic container with the small shrew/mole..
The Swiss receptionist only slightly smiled , professional to the very end, she proceeded to type my details and the mole’s and did what i had seen before in emergency hospital rooms when i had brought in a sick feverish toddler or had food poisoning once , she printed out a sheet with bar codes and with a serious frown placed the stickers on my homemade plastic shrew habitat as the shrew looked up as if saying :HELP! she is killing me, she took me to starbucks and she won’t kill insects for me ! Save me from this Buddhist!!
“Ah, parting is such sweet sorrow”, i had stood staring helpless at the shrew as he/she seemed to have looked at me with its tiny eyes behind the glass window of the receptionist ..
“SAVE ME!” the shrew seemed to have shouted silently with its tiny beady eyes so full of the will to live..
The Swiss receptionist at the desk had dialled a number, similarly to the way i was carted off to give birth several times in a swiss hospital and said the same words i had heard so many years ago;
“Someone will come for him/her”
I had shared with the receptionist my theory the shrew might either be injured or pregnant for its ‘ tiny heart kept beating fast and i thought i might be a possibility, since Wipkedia had reported Shrews can apparently have babies every three weeks ..
I stood looking back watching the door separate the shrew and i, looking for the appearance of a tiny wheelchair wheeling my pregnant shrew to the emergency room but the receptionist only said very kindly as if speaking to a mentally challenged person :
“Here is a phone number, you can call and ask “
I suddenly felt confused , i thought that perhaps i had done a terrible thing, the shrew who probably enjoyed the forest near where i live, could have spent its last moments on earth staring at the sky and the trees but now it had found itself in the hospital thanks to my overbearing overacting ways so i felt the familiar refrain of maternal guilt, i felt i had deprived an animal of its one great joy in life: FREEDOM: and of course, i was projecting my own need and yet, i thought , what must the shrew feel being amongst the barking dogs in bandages in a hospital ? i was thinking more of a kind hospice where the shrew could be nursed to health through fly soup spooned by a kind swiss elderly volunteer. The night before i watched a lady in California care for injured squirrels and skunks in her garden. Why did i have to seek advice regarding the shrew? Why could i not have improvised some herbal cure ? Why did i always have to rush to a doctor whenever anyone was injured?!I recalled the arguments with my ex husband as i argued the case for taking a fevered child to the emergency ward of the hospital, just in case, quoting the swiss saying “Better ONE visit too many than one too few” but like many people with good intentions i was perhaps generalising what was good for human beings to animals, specifically a small small shrew…who was now , thanks to my good intentions , in the hell of being INSTITUTIONALISED ….
Forcing my feet to walk out…and i took one last lingering look at the shrew, he or she was laying amongst the various food items i had cut up for him or her, looking sadly abandoned…
Fortunately there were the photos i took of my shrew, who was by now MINE, such is the way of love , my way anyway..
I called my next of kin as i left the hospital, my daughter thought it was quite amusing and had asked if only relatives were allowed visiting hours at the animal hospitals?
As i walked out to the surprisingly sunny day my mind filled with bitter thoughts of society and how it medicates everything in life that should be NATURAL; this is how i felt when i gave birth in the hospital and once again as a shrew in a plastic container had been placed with stickers indicating its condition in the animal hospital i felt mixed emotions ; Gratitude that i live in a society where no one laughs at a rescued shrew, i recall when i found a baby mouse when i was nine years old , an old man had stepped on it, placed it in a plastic bag and i was whisked away to a hospital and had undergone tests for rabies but here in Europe, things were different ,Switzerland is officially rabies free which means mice and moles and other creatures are not destroyed and then tested for horrible disease, not yet anyway..
Ah, switzerland, a good land to be a shrew , but placing it in a hospital might be over reacting..
Tomorrow i will call the hospital and ask about the shrew, maybe she or he can be released to my care but by the look of the receptionist this will not be the case, they will probably retrace its family and reunite them or possible place it in some refugee camp with other shrews after checking its nationality and evaluating whether it is swiss born or an immigrant.
The anthropomorphism* has got to stop ..but you have to admit that checking a tiny shrew in the emergency room of an animal hospital is a bit over the top too..
To be continued …
“Anthropomorphism: The attribution of human traits , emotions and intentions to nonhumans.