I took the boys out to play in the sand pile on Monday, and within about 5 minutes of getting out here, I felt like killing every animal on our property that we pay to feed and keep around.
First off - we had to buy a tarp to cover the sand pile, because our cats thought it was their giant (pardon the term, but it so perfectly applies) "shitterbox." This spring, when we were out there every day, we would have to scoop out no less than a half dozen piles of poop, plus who knows how many pee deposits we missed. After finding one pile that exploded into wiggling tapeworms upon touching it with the shovel, I immediately sent Paul to the store to buy a tarp. The tarp is the same width as the sandbox, so covers it well, except at the corners where it's anchored. So if the stupid cats can find more than 3 square inches of sand uncovered, they will take a dump on it - and usually because the sand target is so small, they end up pooping at least in part on the tarp. SICK.
When I lifted the tarp, a big fat mouse ran out from under it and hid between the wall and the ladder. It startled me, but didn't bother me too badly.
I quickly started scooping and flinging the poo before the boys got in. Due to the heat, it had been probably a week since we'd been out there, so there were about 4 piles - thankfully all dried up. I missed one turd on the side the boys came in from, and Jacob was just getting it to his mouth as I grabbed his hand. SICK. (And that boy has an unnatural fascination with putting anything that is totally un-appetizing into his mouth.... dirt, sand, hair... you get the picture.)
The boys climbed in, and Nathan pointed out a toad. I shooed it over the edge. Then I found another one, and shooed it likewise. I kept wondering how those toads were sneaking back in, after about the 5th time of shooing one out, and then from beneath Nathan's foot a huge one squirmed up out of the sand. It was really big - it looked like I feel after conquering a Chipolte burrito. I shooed it out, and it waited politely under Nathan's little picnic table for us to get done out there so he could wriggle back down in the sand.
I glanced over, and I noticed that the mouse was still hiding between the wall and the ladder. So I went up to the house and carried Brutus outside and put him right in front of the ladder. Then I took a stick and pushed the mouse out toward him. Brutus looked at it, sniffed the ground, and walked off. The mouse ran back to the sand pile, so I picked Brutus up and threw him onto the mouse, thinking if it scurried away from him, Brutus would take up chase. Nope. He sniffed the mouse again and just sat down. The mouse scurried (more like sauntered - cocky little bastard)along the wall, so once again, I picked up Brutus to throw him toward the mouse. Brutus sat down at the end of the wall.
The dog came trotting up to see what all the comotion was about. The mouse hid again - UNDER THE CAT. I moved the cat so the dog could see the mouse, but when I said, "Come here, Hercules!" the stupid dog ran off. Then came back, then ran off, then came back, then ran all the way off. Like he was saying, "I know you want me to come, but you can't make me come. Ha." The mouse escaped into the dog pen.
I was thoroughly peeved at both of our pets then (the outdoor cats avoided my wrath by staying out of sight). And I kid you not - 10 minutes later, Brutus comes wandering up, and starts sniffing around. He came up to the ladder and crouched down, and started stalking the trail of the mouse - all the way up to and into the dog pen. A few minutes later, the dog came sniffing around and followed the trail as well.
If I had had something to throw at them other than a small child, I would have. Sometimes I hate our pets.