This is a picture of a baby field mouse ESM rescued from the nursery hut at the garden center where she works part-time.
He was born in a nest, kept warm behind a mini fridge. ESM found him out in the middle of the floor of the hut on 9/19/2011 and, using her gloves, put him back in his nest hoping his momma would come back to take care of him. ESM found his mommy the next morning when she went back to work, and she had, unfortunately, been killed by an unknown predator. So, he was left all alone.
We rescued him, brought him home and named him Sprout. We fixed a box with holes in the lid and lined with clean tissues for him, and put the box on a towel over a heating pad on low to keep him warm. We fed him half-strength kitten formula through an eyedropper every two hours, including overnight. We rubbed his nether-regions with a warm cotton swab to help him poop, just like his mommy would. And despite all our best efforts, he passed away somewhere between 10am and noon on 9/21/2011. He was laid to rest underneath our peach tree in the backyard, where he can forever bask in the sun and smell the ripe peaches in the summer. He has a marker with his name and the date, so we will not forget...as if we ever could.
While he was not with us for very long, he had a significant impact. Some might say in the grand scheme of things, he was very small and insignificant. Why would you care so much for something so small, and so common? I believe when a higher power...fate, God, whatever you wish to call it...places a task like this deliberately in your path, you must listen. All furry creatures deserve a chance to survive. If I am given a chance to play a part in that survival, I will gladly take on that responsibility, knowing full well that by giving and loving with your heart, that also leaves you open to the heartbreak of loss. That's what makes us human, in my opinion.
Even though we were not ultimately able to save him, we did love him and we did all we could to help. It is some consolation that when his end came, he was warm, dry and safe. And in just the brief moment we had him, he became a part of our family. I can only hope he is happy and with his mommy, wherever the souls from this earth go when the body's time is at an end.
My dear little man, I'm so sorry you didn't even get to open your eyes and see all the wonders of this world. Maybe you weren't meant to. The world was certainly not so kind to you. Please know we did our very best to help you, and you did find your forever home. Forever was just not very long. You have left a tiny, mouse-shaped hole in our hearts. And we shall never forget you. Rest In Peace, our beautiful little Sprout.