8 Life Lessons I Learned From My Pet Mouse


1. People will find something to judge you for no matter what. So WHO CARES.

Yes. For my twenty-first birthday my boyfriend gifted me with a tiny, precious, grey and pink mouse. And yes, I wanted that mouse. I picked it out at the pet store. I named it Henri (short for Henrietta once I discovered it was in fact a girl). And I loved that little thing.

Over the course of its two-year lifespan, I was given a lot of grief. People thought I was immature, childish and gross, and they voiced their thoughts pretty loudly. But I really didn’t care.

The sad truth: people will always have something to say about your life, so just be yourself and do what you want. (Even if that means buying a strange pet in college and taking occasional, semi-embarrassing selfies with it.)

2. The little things really do mean the most.

Like a boyfriend who would honor your silly wishes and buy you this little $4 pet. Or how fun it is to hold a tiny creature and let it run around your bed. Or the smiles on people’s faces when they feel miniature legs scamper across their open palm. We so often overlook the small things as we rush to the big things, but sometimes the tiny moments are the most beautiful.

3. You can be content with food, water, love, and exercise. Everything else is an unnecessary luxury.

There are only a few things that matter to a field mouse who’s the size of an apple slice: getting a tablespoon of fresh nuts and seeds every few days, a fresh bottle of water, a spinny wheel, and a good petting every so often.

Strangely, this is the same with humans. When you get down to it, all we really need is to food, water, some type of non-couch-potatoing activities every so often, and (daily, if possible) a good ole’ fashioned hug.

4. It’s more than okay to be a little kid sometimes.

To buy a mouse because you think it’s cute. To run around in bare feet chasing her rolling ball. To build a miniature obstacle course for your pet. You don’t have to be a damn adult all the time. In fact, it’s healthy not to.

5. You can’t be afraid to explore.

Henri was fearless. She would navigate the mountains of my bed sheets, sniff out every corner of my closet, and even climb up the wall when my roommate’s cat sniffed her cage (yes, our house was like a Tom & Jerry episode). For being five inches long, not including her striped tail, she was pretty ballsy. And sometimes it’s good to be ballsy.

6. If you keep going in the same direction all the time, you’re going to keep hitting a wall.

Simple logic I learned from a field mouse who would, in her play ball, bump into the same closet doors, chairs, and walls of my bedroom over and over. Sometimes you have to change your direction if you want to move forward.

7. Life is impermanent.

Henri survived three moves, from my college bedroom (where she was most definitely not allowed) to my first apartment, to my first big-girl house. She survived the three weeks I spent gallivanting around Italy, Paris, and London, just wheeling about at home and eating food my roommate so diligently provided. And so I took her for granted.

She became a constant–always running on her wheel at the most ungodly of hours, waking me up. Always sniffing around her cage when I got dressed for class or exploring my room in her little ball.

Her death took me by surprise. And at age twenty-two, as I found myself crying and kneeling before her cage, feeling like it was the end of the world. She, like anything in life, couldn’t last forever. And this was a painful, but powerful reminder that I had to be thankful for who and what was in my life.

8. And don’t play with the things, pets, or people you love while drunk.

There’s plenty of special, bonding moments in life. Tipsily chasing your field mouse because she’s trying to run away from you is not one of them.

Hopefully, from mousey-Heaven, she sends her forgiveness. Happy #NationalPetDay, Henri!