Every day since Mugen died has been tough. Some mornings, I don’t even know how I get out of bed because I certainly don’t want to. Some days, the only thing I wake up for, is to take care of Jazzmin and Jet, who need me. Other days it’s not as bad. I have my moments where I don’t struggle. I don’t know how people ever feel whole again after something like this and the hardest part for me is that it was an accident. I can’t really blame myself or anyone else and it’s so much easier to be angry and to grieve when you have someone to blame. With Lucy and Reilly, I hit a place of acceptance not long afterwards. I hit a place where I was ready to move on because when I lost them, it was their time to go. It was not Mugen’s time. He was most certainly not called home to God. His death was preventable and this is the part that eats me alive when I think of him.
Someone in my neighborhood put down rat poison to control rodents on their property and we think that Mugen caught a mouse that had been poisoned and ate it. I am told that some rat poisons work faster on cats and dogs than they do on the pests they are meant to kill when they are consumed second hand like this. He was my puppy, my great brown wonder who stole my bras and healed my heart after losing Reilly to old age. Old age is how it’s supposed to happen for every dog. Old age is what I had planned for Mugen. It was never supposed to happen like this. I wasn’t supposed to watch my wonderful puppy bleed to death on the floor of my vet’s office. I don’t even have antifreeze in my garage. I’m particular about what foods my dogs eat, buying what I feel is only the best.
I was so careful, so particular and I worked so hard to keep Mugen safe. Several people have told me that if it happened to me, it could have happened to anyone, including my vet. That got me thinking, if it can happen to me, my God, what if this happens to someone else? I have to do something to stop this from happening again, I have to. The pain I feel is so intense, there is no reason that someone else should have to go through this, if I can do something to prevent it.
To do this, I need your help. I’m asking everyone that can read this please pass it on to other pet owners and to their neighbors. Even if you don’t give them a link, spread the word! Talk to your neighbors about the dangers of using rat and mouse poisons on their property. Even if you have this stuff in a place where your dog or cat can’t get to it your pet can still catch the mice that eat it. This is what took Mugen from us. We don’t use the stuff on our property. A neighbor did.
If you are reading this and thinking to yourself, “Well that will never happen to me.” Please understand that this is what I thought too. I don’t live out in the sticks somewhere where rodents are a huge problem. I live in a suburban neighborhood. We have a home owner’s association and manicured lawns. I thought that no one in my neighborhood could possibly have mice and I was sure that no one used rat or mouse poisons anymore, but I wasn’t educated on the truth. The fact is, you just don’t know what is going on in your neighbor’s house, you can’t know. It can happen to anyone.
No one is immune.
Contrary to what PETA and other animal “rights” groups will tell you, these poisons are no more humane than glue traps and have more inherent dangers associated with them. The animals that consume them bleed to death and they take days to die, so the odds are good that the animal will carry the poison off of your property and right into the yards of your neighbors. Your neighbors have cats, dogs and children who will encounter the animal that you poisoned. I know that people may think it’s strange for dogs to chase mice, but it’s not unheard of at all. Most dogs chase squirrels, why not mice?
So now you’re wondering what the options are if you can’t use bait and I understand that. You absolutely should be trying to keep these rodents from infesting your home. Traps can be dangerous to have around small children, it’s true, but a professional can make use of these safely and can help you conceal them in locations where kids can’t get to them and there are no pellets to get spread around your garage floor for your toddler to pick up by mistake. These baits and poisons are worse than traps in just about every way and many small children are accidentally poisoned as a result of using these products each year. The EPA is doing its best to try to minimize the damage to our families, but they can only do so much. I wish that the EPA could ban the use of these poisons just as much as I wish that I could go back and change things, educate myself and my neighbors before it happened so that Mugen would still be here with me, but I don’t have that power.
Ultimately, the person who has the power to make the change real, and lasting, is you.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Switch to traps. There are PLENTY to choose from. There are live capture traps, electronic ones and the traditional spring loaded trap, just to name a few. If you’re not sure what to do, call in a professional and specifically ask that the animals be trapped!
2. Educate yourself about how to make your home a fortress against rodent infestation in the first place. Taking these steps after a problem has begun will also help alleviate it! In some cases, if you can find the food source that is bringing the mice in, you can drive them out of your home completely without ever trapping a single mouse! You should also use these housekeeping practices in and around your home to protect your family and property from a rodent infestation. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
3. Spread the word.
It’s too late to save Mugen, but maybe you can save someone else’s dog, someone else’s cat and maybe even someone else’s child.
Here are some links with further information on this subject to get you started: