Moxie and Roxie

Meet Moxie
“Gimme a peanut butter cracker.”  Moxie gets comfortable.

December 22, the Sunday before Christmas, was a muggy 70 degrees. This day was preceded by a 50-something-degree Friday and Saturday. Any hope of a white Christmas was dashed.

Normally this would bum me out – I like my winters snowy and bitter cold – but now I welcomed the mild temperatures. I had a pair of comfortably caged field mice that needed to be released. I knew that if I didn’t get these guys out of my house today, I would never let them go.

I liked having them around. Because, well, have you ever looked at a field mouse? They are, I think, the cutest little package ever. Something that cute needs to be named, so I did: Moxie and Roxie.

I already mentioned Moxie in a previous post. By the time that unseasonably warm Sunday rolled around, she had been my guest for 10 days, eating peanut butter crackers, cashews, and dry cereal. She carved out a bedroom underneath her food bowl and I would occasionally peek under to see what she was up to. She never seemed agitated by my intrusion, it was more of a sleepy,  “Oh, hi. What’s going on? Got any extra peanut butter?”

Roxie came later. I caught her about a week after Moxie had settled in. She was smaller and far more timid than Moxie and, for some odd reason, I worried that the two mice might fight.

“You’re out of your mind,” Ellen said. Ellen has a gift for setting me straight when my mind moves in ridiculous directions. “What are they going to fight about? What could they possibly want that you aren’t already giving them?”

She was right, of course. Within a couple of hours, Moxie let Roxie under her bowl and the new visitor soon adapted to the resort lifestyle. When I peeked under the food bowl I found them cuddled together, maxing and relaxing.

Yep. We're BFFs.
Well, isn’t this comfy!

As much as I enjoyed their low-maintenance company, that 70-degree Sunday was a sign – as was the 50-something-degree day predicted for Monday. Forty-eight hours would give Moxie and Roxie plenty of time to build a new nest and/or and break into somebody else’s house.

So, dressed for church, Ellen, Alex and I drove to The Mike Allegra Mouse Preserve, a wooded area about six blocks from our house. I’ve caught about a dozen mice and all of them have been released there. I really should put up a commemorative plaque.

Ellen waited in the car. She was never one for mice. So Alex and I trudged down the muddy path in our church shoes. I tipped the cage on its side and opened the lid. Moxie, the more assertive of the duo, hopped out and scuttled under a pile a leaves.

Timid little Roxie, however, dug deep under the cage’s bedding and refused to move.

“Come on, sweetie.” I reached in and pet her head. This was the first time I had ever pet a field mouse. It was wonderful.

But duty called. I nudged her to the cage opening. Then, like something out of those sappy A-Boy-And-His-Animal stories, Roxie and I exchanged looks. Mice have very large, soulful eyes. Then Roxie, in no particular hurry, turned and followed her new friend into the underbrush.

“Will they be OK?” Alex asked.

“Yes,” I replied. And I was relieved because I so completely believed it.

“I’ll pray for them anyway,” Alex said.

“That’s a good idea.”

And so we headed off to church, perhaps the only two people on earth ready and eager to get down on bended knees to seek Divine Intervention for a couple of wee rodents.

Mice Exploring

80 Replies to “Moxie and Roxie”

  1. Okay, please PLEASE write a children’s picture book with Moxie and Roxie in it. Please? Well, it doesn’t have to be a children’s book. It can be an adult picture book, as long as it’s about Moxie and Roxie. You have brought mouse love into my heart (and believe me, that’s not easy).
    But now I’m worried about them. You’re getting the frigid polar vortex or whatever. Will they survive? They’re looking for your peanut butter cracker!!!!

    1. And this is why I didn’t like your cat post! 😉

      As for the weather, I released Mox and Rox during a pretty long warm stretch. Mice are smart and resourceful and I, once upon a time, carefully selected The Mike Allegra Mouse Preserve because of its wealth of protective underbrush and its ready access to food.

      I am so glad my post brought a little mouse love your way. So, just for you, I will come up with a mousey picture book manuscript in the very near future.

      1. We’ve released mice from our place in a nearby park that has lots of underbrush. The park gets its fair share of dog walkers, though, so I hope our little mice have moved on to greener pastures—perhaps the vine-laden walls next to Interstate 80. What can I say? We live in a city….

      2. Mice are usually nocturnal, so I’m sure the dogs and their walkers are not on their timetable. By the way, I admire your compassion for the little furry fellows. Nice work, my friend.

      3. We actually named one of them “Daddy’s mouse” when my husband’s office used to be in the garage. The little guy would come out late at night when Rem was working and look for snacks.That is, until we relocated him.

      4. I have to admit “And this is why I didn’t like your cat post” made me go see said post……. Now I have another new blog to follow. (I like posts about animals I suppose)
        PS roughwighting I LOVED your cat post! 🙂

  2. Aww. I hope they found other resort accommodations, maybe something with a spa, heated pool and cheese and cracker hour. Sweet story.

  3. If you truly do “like my winters snowy and bitter cold” I invite you to join all of us freezing here in Ontario for a cup of tea, coffee, hot chocolate…your choice. The wind chill has us fluctuating between -30 & -40 celsius. It is bone chilling and I have to say I haven’t seen a mouse even once this year.

  4. That was sooo sweet! I am an animal lover to a fault…..passed on to my daughter! I stay away from animal shelter, adoption days at PetSmart and my heart is heavy whenever I see a dog or kitty on the side of the road 😦
    The mice are too darn cute and I commend you for taking care of them for the brief time they were in your charge. You have a heart of gold~ 🙂

  5. I’ll eighty-fifth the request for a picture book on Moxie and Roxie! My son, who loves reading, re-reading, and re-re-reading Animal Ark chapter books, and who loves stories like “Fly High, Fly Low” would LOVE to see this become a picture book!

  6. You do realize that you owe Ellen…big time? Actually…double time! You are a lucky man to have her. You’re lucky she didn’t say, “It’s me or the mice” a long time ago. And now, you are going to write about the whole sordid affair…you are on thin ice my friend…thin ice. 😉

    1. Aw, Mrs. P. I am surprised at you! How could I possibly be on thin ice when the little fellows I rescued (and, mind you, safely released) are so ding dang adorable? Just look at ’em. Go on. Take a good look. Doesn’t your widdle heart just melt just a wee widdle bit?

      1. Hmmm…melting heart? I think not! Having just returned to help my auntie in distress who had been told that possibly distant cousins of Roxie and Moxie had taken over a house she owned. Seems they were having quite a party and thought they had the place all to themselves.

        Their only chance of survival is if they take their eviction notice to heart and flee immediately! Everything has been removed from the house and all their cozy little corners have been discovered. My advice to them is…Run…run…run for your lives…and NEVER come back!!

      2. 😉 I hate to admit that a small corner of my heart cheered on Roxy and Moxie as they left the cage!

  7. This made me smile and chuckle. Field mice have ‘soulful eyes’? Hm. I wonder about urban apartment dwelling mice. There was a dead one in the middle of my kitchen floor a bit back. It had really cute ears — but he died with his eyes closed. It’d have been kinda creepy if they were open though.

  8. Of course you have a mouse preserved named after you! What is up with you an mice? Could you come over and deal with the roof rats in my attic? Gross. I hate those things. Nothing a little arsenic can’t take care of. Don’t hate me because I am anti-mice. I do love Mickey Mouse!

    1. Thanks, Jessie. I try.

      Though there is a flip side to my parenting skills. Just the other week, for example, I learned that Alex said to his teacher, “This homework will drive me to drink!”


      Fortunately said teacher was amused.

  9. Ha! I see you and Robin talking about me! Funnily enough, even before I read the comments, something in your post reminded me of an animal tale (yes, that’s tale not tail) I want to write about sometime. I might get to that in the next few weeks, I have a few other posts to deal with first…

    This Moxie and Roxie story was so sweet – you big softee you! 🙂

      1. Knowing Vanessa, my money is on great white sharks. She has that killer instinct. And yes, Vanessa, we are talking about you behind your back. In a good way, of course.

  10. Perhaps this Sunday you can stop by the preserve with some warm bedding and peanut butter?

    Your final sentence is perfection.

  11. How did you ever manage to let them go? Seeing them cuddled up together would do me in, I’d have probably kept them and we would have eaten peanut butter together and had good times. You, as I’ve said many times before, are a good and kind soul. There is a special place in Animal Heaven for you. And I will say a novena to St. Francis that these little ones and their friends are all okay.

    1. Believe me, Weebles, it was not easy to let them go. My attachment to the mice wasn’t lost on Ellen, who, bless her, even rolled her eyes and said “Fiiiine. You can keep them.”

      But Mox and Rox are wild animals, so I knew it would be wrong. Here’s hoping I do meet up with the little fellows (and my guinea pig, and my two rats, and my three gerbils) in Animal Heaven someday — a place where rodents and cats hang out in peace and harmony (and where nobody is allergic to anything).

      And your plea to St Francis is much appreciated — especially on a bone chilling day like today!

  12. They’re so adorable! I haven’t had a mouse yet, as an adult, but this would be the route I would take. What is the stuff they’re sleeping in? Looks like something I should put on my bed.

    1. That, my friend, is CareFresh bedding, made especially for the comfort of small, preferably cute mammals. I had a big bag left over after my rat, Lucy, passed away in May, so I am ready for any and all future rodent encounters.

  13. Awh what a cute story! The commemorative plaque part is too funny. Good luck out there Moxie and Roxie!

      1. Oh well thank you… OOOH old Halloween Candy and cookies santa left behind… is that….. dog slobber??? Oh well thank you! LOL To to generous!

  14. There’s something wrong with my blogfeed, Mike—i keep missing your posts!

    I’m glad I checked in for this one. We found a nest of abandoned (by death) baby bunnies once, when i was a kid, and kidnapped many, mnay turtles. It was tough to let them go, too.

    1. I don’t think you’ve missed any of my posts. But you are one of my favorite commenters, so I’m glad you check in just to make sure.

      The cutest wild animals are also the most defenseless, aren’t they? What can bunnies or mice do except make more bunnies and mice? Sure, it preserves the species, but it doesn’t do all that much for the individual creature. These guys have unique personalities. Mox and Rox looked and moved differently and, as my post shows, they react differently to the same stimuli.

      No, I don’t want mice in my house, but I want them to live as good a life as a mouse can because, well, AWWWWW!


  15. I am a mousekecare from way back. My favorite was Hunca-Munca who would sit up on her haunches with forefeet on glass upon seeing visitors at her window. Never got another one like her.
    Another cutie was a wild mouse we caught, but we got duly chastised by a fish and game warden when I called to see if they are safe to keep. “Absolutely not–they carry disease!” Thus ended my mousey catch and release career. Your two looked much too cute to be contagious🐀

    1. Ah, Cricket, once again you prove that you are good people.

      Yep, the disease thing is the reason why I haven’t handled any field mice before my recent cuddle with Roxie. I am please to report, however, that Roxie did not get me physically sick (only a wee bit heartsick).

  16. I used to have hamsters that never appreciated me and always wanted to bite my fingers off if I tried to pet ’em. Your mice look way cuter and show you better love, that’s for sure. Sweet post!

    1. Thanks, SF!

      Although I have never owned a hamster (rodentwise, I can only speak on behalf of gerbils, fancy rats, and guinea pigs), I have it on good authority that they are often cranky and curmudgeonly. You may want to consider the more intelligent, playful and personable gerbil. They are about the closest thing you can get to a perfect pocket pet.

      I don’t think Mox and Rox showed me love, exactly — but they both knew that I would never do them any harm. That was enough for me, I think.

  17. OOOoooooooh, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaj. And thanks to Jilanne’s recc of your site. This is sooooooooo sweet. Unfortunately, due to the presence of 3 huntin’ fishin’ chewin’ type Cattus cattuses, I rarely get to see field-mice except after some carnage has happened. I’m left distressed and wondering about a little field mouse next, where a family anciously waits, unknowing that daddy or mummy will never come home again. At least Moxie and Roxie don’t lived anywhere near me………

    1. Oohs and ahhs? Checkin’ out my ramblings over at The Hook’s place, eh? Good for you.

      The critters in my neighborhood know that my property is a Rodent Safety Zone. I once chased a feral cat out of my yard; I could hear all the squirrels chattering about it. From that day forward, I have found the fuzzy-tailed buggers hanging out on my porch. Once I get a chipmunk to eat out of my hand, I’ll know what it feels like to be a Disney Princess.

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