Quite a number of days ago, when daughter and I came home from town, my husband responded to our, "Hi!" with "We have a problem."
This was the problem. While daughter and I were out and about, tabby cat, Samson (he of the header picture) came in through the cat door with a rodent in his mouth. My husband only noticed this when said rodent was dropped in the kitchen and ran. It ran under our dishwasher (which had the bottom panel removed because of the repeated attempts by service people to fix the leak because it is under extended warranty, but that's a whole other story...)
Husband told us it was large and held his hands up to show the size. He was demonstrating 'rat size'. Great, so now we had a rodent in the house, potentially a rat, hopefully just a hefty mouse. Traps were set. Nothing. Time went on. More traps were set. Daughter slept with towels jammed under her bedroom door (we have an old house with gaps under the old doors).
Two days ago, I thought, "Boy, I really need to dump the compost regularly in this heat!", which I did. One day ago, I said, "Something smells in this kitchen. No, it's not the garbage." I contemplated going through the bag of potatoes, thinking one was rotting which can happen sometimes. There was also a niggling worry in my mind. "You don't think it might be..."
This morning, the stench was undeniably that of decomposition. It would seem the run under the dishwasher was the last physical exertion that mouse had experienced. Husband started to maneuver the dishwasher from its spot in the kitchen (it's built in), but it would only go so far. Both of us laid on the floor (yup, nasty smell just wafting out at us), flashlight in hand, hoping we could see the deceased in the back recesses of the dishwasher hole. I thought I saw some dark grey fur in the back corner and asked husband if he had one of those skinny grabber tools (mechanic types use it when they inadvertently drop something that's hard to reach). Yes he did and within moments I was rolling around trying to grab onto the "mouse". Well, in reality it was just a clump of the sound-deadening fabric that is wrapped around the machine. No mouse.
However, our olfactory senses told us that it was still in there, somewhere, so husband went to the basement and detached various lines so the dishwasher could be pulled out even more. And voila!! There it was (mouse, not rat). Plastic gloves were donned, mouse was deposited into a plastic bag and taken out to the burn barrel, and I proceeded to bleach and disinfect the area until absolutely no stench remained.
Have I mentioned we've been under a heat advisory these past couple of days. There's nothing more delightful than dead mouse on a hot day!
I know someone out there has a 'dead animal in your old house' story. Feel free to share.