On a cold winter day, I was walking on my Toronto neighbouring beach, along the shores of Lake Ontario, when I noticed a bit of a silly commotion.
A lady was barely holding on to the cropped tail of her dog, which was halfway in the water, fixated on something that I could not quite figure out.
A woman told me that a little mouse had fallen from the retaining wall next to the beach and had been trying to get back on it, but to no luck. I decided to watch the little creature, hoping it would find safety
The little mouse was trying to climb up again and again just to fall right back in the frigid waters
Finally, after several minutes, the little mouse changed strategy and started swimming for the shore
It was difficult to observe the little mouse struggle to gain ground. The waves would carry the little one forward, and then halfway back
At times, it was heartbreaking to watch as the little creature would open her mouth wide-open while it struggled to breath
The little mouse finally made its way to the edge of the water, floating just an inch above the pebbled beach
It collapsed right there, having exhausted all its energy and strength
The little mouse laid in the same spot, resting, oblivious to the waves that could pick it up again, along with the dogs that frequented this part of the beach
Knowing that she could be the focus of undesired attention, I cautiously approached the little mouse, which let me pick it up. It had no energy to try to escape or bite
I placed it by the wall, hoping it would be safer, and would start getting the urge to scurry away. But no; it just laid there. That’s when I decided to give her a little extra helping hand
I picked it up again and sat on a nearby bench, while holding the mouse between my gloves. I was hoping the fabric would absorb the water and help insulate the mouse from the cold wind
I would check on it every few minutes. After 10-15 minutes, I started leaving the gloves more and more open to the warming rays of the sun
The little mouse was happy to stay put, so I left her in my gloves as long as needed
I was happy to see this little face with big ears and long, soft whiskers, looking back at me. For that little mouse, I’m sure it was quite terrifying, so I would close my gloves quickly to allow it to feel safe
The little mouse was seemingly content, warm and cosy, burying its head a little deeper, just not quite ready to leave yet
Finally, the little mouse started to stir and groom itself
I knew it was time to find a safe place for its release
I found a firewood pile that would be perfect for the little mouse to hide in
The little mouse turned and did a little shake
Then groomed itself and finally scurried over to live another day
For many, this tiny life wasn’t worth saving, but as Aesop said: “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” It certainly was not wasted on this little one!