In Memoriam


Mouse, Mortimer J.  2014 – 2017    A spunky, urban brownish-grey mouse residing in the garden at the Ranch, “Mortie” recently passed peacefully. As a frequent and swift-moving critter in the Poodles’ garden, he took up permanent residence in the compost bins. Internment services honoring his short life were held on a recent sunny autumn day. Mortie enjoyed scaring the crap outa everyone when dashing about and crocheting nest tunnels from grass clippings in the bins. He provided much entertainment for Ranch residents.
Contributions may be made to the Denver Dumb Friends League.


We’ve had a garden mouse for the past few years that I named “Mortimer” after the first time I saw his speedy retreat into the flowers and who I enjoyed seeing whenever he would show up thereafter. Mortie was a tiny, brownish-grey little guy who was quick as a wink, even by mouse standards. Convinced he had been some Olympian competing in the mouse 40-yard dash with beady little eyes, adorably whiskers and tiny little toes, he wormed his way into my heart after dashing into the tall flowers when I wandered into the garden, not to be seen again. Well, that is, until the next time.

For the past year or so, it seemed Mortie moved up from tall flowers and ground cover to luxuriously nesting and noshing in our 3 compost bins, enjoying strawberry hulls and other bio-scraps. Elsa would make a beeline toward the compost bins first before making her way to the potty area of the dog run and I always thought she was checking for squirrels since they have been known to hit the bin too. But since the bins had been sort of squirrel-proofed recently, it’d just been Mortie enjoying morsels. Truth be told I didn’t mind, he was adorably tiny and, come on…you gotta admit pretty cotton-picking cute and I figured he was more than fast enough to elude the Ninja. The little fella reminded me of a European character known as “Uli Maus” created by German cartoonist, Uli Stein. When a dear friend’s dad introduced me to Uli years ago, I knew I had to bring one back as a souvenir of that special trip so I found a pocket-sized version that always makes me smile. See the similarity?

Come on…he’s adorably cute, isn’t he?

When Elsa catches the scent of a critter-trail around the neighborhood she repeatedly investigates that same spot over and over even if they haven’t been there in ages, convinced they were once there and will probably be again. Recently her attention has focused on one bin in particular where I had heard Mortie scurrying around on occasion. Elsa seemed to think she knew where he was too and would often chase ‘mouse shadows’ especially at night. The other day she came back in the house with something in her mouth.  When I told her to ‘drop it’ because gawd only knows what she’d eat, lo and behold, a tiny little fur ball with a long tail was promptly spit out. Holy &#@%…are you kidding me? Grateful for her compliance, I quickly scooped up the tiny lifeless body and carried him out to a permanent resting place. I doubt she was responsible especially since a few days later when I was ‘feeding’ the mouse buffet compost bin, I saw yet another casualty. No telling what caused the passing of either of these two little guys since no autopsy was performed. Perhaps they were older but it still made me just a little sad. No more skittering flashes out of the corner of my eye with just an inkling of a tail diving into cover. Unless there are other family members left behind for which I’ll be on the alert, because…well you know…survivors benefits. Elsa will not be in attendance at the reading of the will.

Mortimer J. Mouse’s BFF

Seriously, does this look like the face of a garden exterminator? Yeah, I don’t think so either. Mostly.

Innocent face or ruthless exterminator?

At any rate, let’s pause for a few moments of silence to honor the Uli look-alikes, Mortimer J. Mouse and his unnamed BFF. I hardly knew either of you but hope you lived happy lives in the compost bin. At least it was organic nibbles. Rest in peace little buddies.

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

72 thoughts on “In Memoriam

  1. Rowena

    Sorry to read about the loss of Mortimer and his unnamed BFF. To my way of thinking, finally catching and killing your nemesis ruins the thrill of the chase. I reckon it must’ve been holier-than-thou Sam and he’s set Elsa up.
    We’re still outnumbered by dogs here. The micro pups are now about 6 weeks old and are now really starting to wrestle either, play and chew a lot more. Dobbie was howling while I played my violin today, which was really cute. Our pups are now about 3 months old and we’re getting concerned about how tall they’re getting. They have very long legs and we’re hoping they’re about to start growing out instead of up.
    Lady still hasn’t taken to the micro pups and all four pups hang out together with occasional interactions with Lady. I take her for a drive in the car everyday when I pick up my daughter and she gets tied up for a bit if we go shopping but she never complains. I think she enjoys the peace and quiet and being left alone.
    My husband and I have had a bit of a virus lately and it really makes you tired. I’ve always been quite a night owl but this has almost inverted my sleeping habits and I’m sleeping much of the day.
    I’ve also been embroiled in a research project.
    Hoping to get back to my usual blogging frequency now.
    Hope things are going well at your end.
    Best wishes,
    Ro

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    1. Tails Around the Ranch Post author

      Mostly I think Elsa was ‘retrieving’ Mortie, it’s very doubtful she was the actual grim reaper though if she were, it wouldn’t be too surprising. Your menagerie sounds like you’re quite busy and I bet the pups are great fun. Do they view you as their favorite chew toy? 😊

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  2. Charlotte Anderson

    Years ago my daughters miniture poodle, Taffy, dispatched a RAT and left it right outside the door for us to admire. Another time she caught a bat on the patio. Thankfully it wasn’t rabid! And then there was the parakeet… My daughter found her sitting in the middle of the bed with feathers hanging from her mouth! Martha was not pleased.

    Well done! Thanks for the memories and chuckles.

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    1. Tails Around the Ranch Post author

      Thanks for swinging by the Ranch. We ❤︎ new visitors. Poodles were initially bred as hunting dogs so your experience isn’t all that surprising. My last male Standard used to take particular interest in the family cockatiel, much to Guiniviere’s consternation. Personally I always thought the bird would have won any confrontation-she was pretty ornery and did not suffer fools lightly.

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  3. rubytheairedale

    Sorry Mortie. I would have loooooved to chase you too! I’ve been chasin’ our roof rats, butts alas, they are ROOF rats, and almost never put their scrawny little feeties where I can gets them…sigh. Sorry, butts I AM a terrier, ya knows! BOL! And, well, rats are different, just sayin’
    RIP Mortie
    Kisses,
    Ruby ♥

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  4. KB

    I hope that Mortie rests in peace. Our R is mouse-obsessed too, and he has caught a live one and dispatched it fast. This one was in our house… so I wasn’t quite as sad as you were about Mortie. We do use live traps to relocate mice but R sometimes gets to them before us!

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  5. LP

    Rest in peace Mortimer. we don’t believe Elsa played a part in Mortie’s demise . . .unless looks can actually kill of course . . . ;p

    the critters in the cottage xo

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  6. tippysmom2

    Ok. I guess I will admit that he is a little bit cute, but mice/rats are my least favorite animal. I think I have rat-a-phobia due to hearing a news story, when I was about 3 or 4, about rats eating and killing a baby in it’s crib in NY City. Come to think of it, maybe that is why I have no desire to ever go to NY City. LOL (I just looked it up and it is officially musophobia.)

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  7. mommakatandherbearcat

    I wouldn’t believe Elsa did it … except I’ve seen the havoc she’s wreaked on things like your glasses (and stuffies!!!). As much as I love my cats … I admit one of the hardest parts is that they might kill other living things. I have a real hard time with that. Except mosquitoes.

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  8. noodle4president

    Poor little mousies. You’re lucky to have cute mice. We have…rats! It’s because of the chickens and their feed. All the rats come to our house. Blech! We hope Mortimer and his BFF are having fun eating lots of goodies at the bridge. *ear licks*

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  9. Jan K

    Mice are so darn cute, but we’ve had too many try to take up residence in our house to be so kindly disposed towards them. 🙂
    I remember two occasions when our late beagle Kobi spit out a mouse in front of me (when made to)…seems suspicious, doesn’t it?

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  10. lapaylor

    the passing of an icon… No Elsa was just bringing the treasure to you. Once Cole surprised me by catching a live squirrel. I learned from that to never let him chase a critter as I don’t want to catch a critter that way. I yelled drop and he spit it out. The squirrel ran off but had a tooth hold in it’s back and Cole got a rabies booster as it also scratched him. Yup, no more innocent chases for us. Betcha there is another mouse taking up residence in the bin o plenty.

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  11. Michael (GoldenKali.com)

    Moment of silence acknowledged… It’s interesting how even the smallest of creatures can “worm” their way into our hearts and become part of the fabric of our lives. But what a way to go out for Mortie with the plentifullness of the compost bin at his disposal. Would be like me living out my final days in the barrel room of a winery!

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  12. KDKH

    Awww. I hate it when my pets play “Wild Kingdom.” Our terrier was, of course, a good mouser. He’d always bring me the hind-end of the mouse after he ate the front end. He was so sweet to share (gag). Our poodles would never consider such a thing; they don’t want bad breath. Way to go, Elsa, showing the world that poodles are dogs after all (their press releases said human with fur)!

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    1. Tails Around the Ranch Post author

      She floored me by immediately dropping it. I expected her to gulp it down! My first poodle was an amazing mouser, she would catch ’em but mostly wanted to play with them. I think they passed mostly from drowning in dog slobber. 😊

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  13. Kate Crimmins

    I keep my bird seed in a galvanized can inside a wooden container with a closure to keep out the raccoons (who can take off lids). Last year there was a mouse couple who lived in there. They could squeeze under the wood to get out but it offered protection so they brought in fluffy stuff made a nest and had a family. (Ok, I would drop some sunflowers seeds for them.) One day I opened up and there were 5 dead mice in there. I had no idea what happened. I cleaned them all out and no other mice came to nest. So sad. The babies were so adorable.

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  14. Amy

    Aww, poor Morty and wife(?). Moment of silence observed.
    Elsa has the instincts of a ratter (aka Schnauzer). Can’t blame her for that.
    Yesterday I found out that lepto is spread through mouse feces. Interesting, huh? I had been “on the fence” about getting this vac for Xena, since it is the only puppy vac she didn’t already have. After talking with my holistic vet, I am taking her in Friday for the 1st of 2. After all, I can’t guarantee her first trip through the woods (following Lucy) will be her last.

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    1. Tails Around the Ranch Post author

      Poodles were bred as hunting dogs, I think she just forgot it’s water fowl she was supposed to retrieve. I’ll have to talk with my vet about the lepto vaccine since there’s no hope of mouse-proofing the garden. I was surprised they were even still here after the first time Elsa chased them.

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      1. Amy

        Xena is going tomorrow for her first of two lepto vaccines. My holistic vet told me all about it and the circumstances under which she would need it and let me make my own decision. I just love this woman!!

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