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Mr. Molly
Mr. Molly  
Hello, I first want to say, I love all the hard work you do for people and think its amazing you work so hard to help others!

Yesterday, when I went to take my trash down to the alleyway, next to the trash barrel was a tipped over cage without a cover. Inside was a mess of gross bedding, lots of poop, and two white mice. I tipped the cage carefully so it would be sitting normally and one of the mice ran away (I couldn't find it afterwards unfortunately) but tucked in the dirty bedding was shivering lump. I couldn't believe it! Since there was a thunderstorm going on, I rushed the mouse into my apartment and really didn't know what to do because I've never really been around a mouse before- I did some quick internet searching and I was at least able to clean up the cage and make it comfortable and give the mouse food. I named the mouse Molly before my mom came over and discovered it was a boy.

Sorry for the long spheel, but I'm wondering now that I've decided to keep Molly if you think I'll ever be able to earn his trust- I can only pick him up if I put him in his cardboard tube and even then he shivers rather badly until I put him back in his cage. Is there anything I can do to make him more comfortable? I feel terrible about losing his companion outside and that he has to stay in the cage I found him in for now until I can buy him a new one... I was reading some of the things you've written about PTSD and seeing as I have it too I can completely relate!

I can't believe someone would throw away such a sweet animal. So any tips to make whatever life he has left as comfortable as possible would be appreciated!

Oh and I was wondering if you can tell how old he is by his picture. He's not anything special, he's just a white mouse with red eyes, but he's my Mr. Molly and I love him no matter what. <3

Thanks for your time!!

Answer
Dear Stacey,

Mr. Molly looks fabulous! Healthy and  fit. That is a wonderful start. He is too, special! Every mouse is special.

What a terrible thing to happen to him. People literally think mice and rats are throw-away pets. I want to think that the mice were loved by a kid, who was too immature to keep them clean, and Dad got mad and threw them out. Not that someone would love them and then be so mean. How can people be so cruel?

Anyway he is terribly lucky that you saw him. Gosh I hope his friend figures something out-- could you try putting some live traps in the area and see if you can get him? He should be easy enough to catch, not wily like a wild mouse. There is a trap called a Have a Heart which is like a little cage that they go into and then trigger the trap doors. Of course you may catch other mice by accident too, but you can let them loose somewhere (over a mile away if you don't want them to return). Use commercial peanut butter. If you ever give Mr Molly peanut butter, you will want to water it down to make it liquid so he can't choke; but the likelihood of a mouse choking the one time it is caught in a trap is low, and peanut butter  is the perfect bait.

Because male mice only live together under certain circumstances of having grown up together, Mr Molly will never be able to have another friend. It's not the end of the world-- male pet mice usually live alone. But if he has a friend he gets along with that is terrific. Although... There is a possibility that after a reunion they would no longer get along. But that is putting the cart before the horse.

I hear a lot about scared mice, and I am going to give you a link to a very complete answer I gave to someone else, including a very detailed list of steps to getting to know him and help him to want to be picked up. Note you are under no obligation to train him to walk in your hand-- success is really that he doesn't race away when you go to scoop him out, and isn't scared or jumpy when you hold him. I don't bother to train mine to walk into my hand. I am satisfied that they stand still, or even just saunter away slowly, when I go to pick them up.

Because he is so scared with you, when you have him out he should spend lots of time inside your shirt next to your skin. It shouldn't take that long for him to feel more comfortable there if you are still. Mice want to be enclosed; it makes them feel safe. And it is a very good way of getting him to associate your smell with safety.

After a while he will shiver a different way with you-- there is a vibration that mice make that I consider "purring" though you can't hear it; it means they are happy.

http://en.allexperts.com/q/Mice-3824/2011/7/frightened-mouse.htm

Do try to catch his friend. I am so worried about him. Little white edible thing with all the mean cats around... :(

You are right that little Mr Molly may suffer from some PTSD. We have no idea what all has happened to him.  But hopefully there won't be much in his new life to remind him of the horror.

Let me know how it goes, if he tames well. And if you get his friend. And thank you so much for caring. You have entered the wonderful world of mice completely by accident-- and you will be touched forever :)

Squeaks,

Natasha  

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Natasha

Expertise

I can answer questions about raising mice and caring for them as pets, with knowledge from my 38 years of having fancy mice as pets. I have NO MEDICAL TRAINING and you should take a sick mouse to the vet; but if you simply can't, I will try to help you. I LOVE PHOTOS!!! I ALSO LOVE UPDATES! Let me know how the little tyke is doing later on, for better or worse, especially orphans. It also helps me to help the next person. Please first search first: use 'Natasha Mice Mouse' with whatever else your question includes. Or check out these links: **** YOUR FIRST MOUSE (my video; rough draft): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNK4uqNZTbA&feature=share **** TEN VIDEOS ON RAISING ORPHANS: http://www.youtube.com/user/CreekValleyCritters/videos?query=raising **** SEXING MICE: http://www.thefunmouse.com/info/sexing.cfm **** And some GREAT MOUSE INFO SITES: http://thefunmouse.com/info/index.cfm http://www.rmca.org/Resources/mousefaq.htm

Experience

I have had mice for 40 years (since I was 5!). I raised them when I was a child but now I keep all females, and never fewer than three so that if one dies the others are not devastated, because they have each other.

Organizations
I run Rats and Mice are Awesome on Facebook. The official name is Rats are Awesome.

Education/Credentials
B.A., M.A., M.A. in Linguistics: Yale University and University of Connecticut

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