What’s happening at Starlight Trust Animal Rescue

Norman the pocket rocket March 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — sproggie14 @ 14:16

You might recall from our last blog entry that we had one remaining baby hamster from Carla’s litter and I was quite concerned about whether it would survive. Well he turned out to be a tough little thing who fought on, eating solid food bigger than his head and swearing at me when I tried to handle him. All this earnt him the name of Stormin Norman the pocket rocket! This weekend he turned 4 weeks so the time came for him to leave his Mum. Here he is (on your right) saying goodbye to big sister Leia

Also, last time I mentioned that Luke needed to be separated and I was going to see if he would be friends with lonely roborovski boy Russell. Well, everything went better than I could have dreamed. Russell has been a very highly strung chap since his arrival and terrified of everything. He was even scared of Luke initially even though Luke was half his size. But when he calmed down they soon made friends and have been living together now for two weeks. In this time, the change in Russell has been remarkable. He has been out and about in his cage much more and yesterday I was even able to do this

It’s a pretty terrible picture but it’s the first time I could even contemplate taking a pic of Russ in my hand because previously I couldn’t keep hold of him because he was so panicky.

So I had no hesitation in having Norman move in with them even though Norm is rather small for his age and therefore tiny compared to the ever expanding Russell. Russ seems quite paternal with the baby russians and grooms and cares for them like a father. Here they are all together

Also yesterday, the youngest babies were 17 days old so I was finally able to give their cage a good clean out and handle them without worrying about Mum’s reaction. The five of them have all turned out beautifully and reacted very well to their first real handling session so I’m confident that they’re going to grow up with lovely temperaments.

So we can now start thinking about finding homes for them all. I suspect we will be looking for one home for Russell, Luke and Norman, a home for the other 2 or 3 boys, a home for Sally and Leia and a home for the other 2 or 3 girls, although I’d be very happy to find homes for them in larger groups too.

In other news we were joined by a new rat friend this week. Sky’s family could no longer keep him because they were moving to somewhere pets are not allowed. The hope is that Sky will move in with Henry as this week hasn’t been good in our boys cage. Henry has been to the vet to investigate a lump which appeared on his back. This looks to be cancerous but removal would be too risky as it may be attached to his spine. And, as I type, Quest is next to me on the sofa. It appears he may have had a stroke last night and will be joining his brothers at the bridge shortly. He turned two and a half a couple of weeks ago – not bad for the runt of an already bad litter who has had neurological issues all his life. So I hope that Sky and Henry will become friends although this may be challenging as Sky hasn’t lived with other rats before.

Oh and STAR was two years old yesterday! If you’re on our supporters mailing list you will already have a copy of our newsletter in your inbox but otherwise you can download it from 2010.doc

In it you will find the news that the man who caused the welsh mouse rescue in 2008 has again allowed his mouse population to explode and another 600 mice are looking for rescue places. We are now desperately trying to make space and raise funds so that we can help. Please have a look at the newsletter for details of how you can help us to save as many of these poor mice as possible.


Run free Bianca xx February 21, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — sproggie14 @ 21:42
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We’ve had 7 new arrivals this week.

On Tuesday we collected two female rats. They were rescued by a STAR supporter when the person that bred them threatened to abandon them in the wild when they didn’t sell. Unfortunately they hadn’t been handled at all and were subsequently very nervous and bitey and rather too much for our friend to handle; so she asked us to help. They are Tinker and Tailor and they are two, one year old agouti girls. Tinker is a little shy but has been quite curious with us so far. Tailor is probably the most terrified little girl I have ever met and panics when we go anywhere near her. It’s going to take some time to win these girls over I think. They are living with our resident girls who are helping them to settle in quite nicely. No pictures yet I’m afraid as I didn’t want to upset them with the camera.

And then on Thursday we found 5 new baby hamsters in the nursery cage. This confirmed that the remaining Mum, Sally, was the mother of the older babies (now known as Luke and Leia) and the newborns. The middle litter of three had come from poor Carla who passed away last week. We were worried as to whether Sally would or even could continue to care for them now that she had two litters of her own to look after. We’re still trying not to disturb the nest too much but it looks as though two of Carla’s litter have passed away. I was worried about the one remaining baby but we have seen him/her out and about and trying to eat solids this evening so I’m feeling more hopeful. Of course, we could remove that baby and try to syringe feed it but Sally does seem to be taking some care of it so I think its best chance is to stay with the others. Luke and Leia are growing up fast and I need to separate Luke in the next couple of days to make sure there are no more babies. I’m hoping he and Russell roborovski might make friends.

On Wednesday we were very saddened by the loss of Bianca. She had a lump removed a year ago and it didn’t go well. She had lots of anaesthetics to keep stitching her back up as she kept opening her op site up. When she developed another lump in July last year I decided not to rush into having it removed. It hardly changed for months but then in December it started to grow rapidly. By this time Bianca was over two years old and had respiratory problems so I was still very reluctant to put her through another operation. But t got to the point where it was causing her problems and we were faced with having to let her go. So really we had to give the op a try. So on Wednesday, almost exactly a year since her last operation, Emily removed her tumour. Unfortunately at the end of the procedure she stopped breathing and efforts to revive her failed.

Bianca was a massive character. Very much the boss of the cage and, well, of everyone to be honest. You had to be careful when feeding her in case she mixed your fingers and the food up. You couldn’t do so much as a spot clean with her in the cage or she would chase your hand round the cage and attack you. Rats recovering from surgery had to be kept away from her or she would start eating at their stitches! So, as you can imagine, she has left a big hole in our lives and we will miss her greatly.

Run free Moonpig xx


This week’s news February 14, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — sproggie14 @ 22:00

A quieter week this week thankfully but still with its comings and goings

On Tuesday we sadly said goodbye to Brandy mouse. You might recall that she joined us last month already with a very large tumour. We knew she wouldn’t have long with us and I decided on Monday that we would take her to the vets with us on Tuesday to let her go as she was starting to look tired. As it goes, she took herself off to the bridge on Tuesday afternoon. She was a very special girl, full of spirit. Even when her lump was so big she had to do a little sideways crab like walk she was still first to the food bowl and making the most of life.

And then yesterday we had a new arrival. We had gone to visit our dear friends and STAR supporters Amanda and Ronnie and, on the way home, called into their local branch of Pets at Home. I’ve been in dire need of some litter trays (not for me, I’m quite well toilet trained these days) and thought their larger branch might have them in stock. Of course I know I shouldn’t look at the adoption centre but there was a little male guinea pig advertised as needing to live alone. Now I’ve never kept a guinea pig before but I do know that, these days, it’s quite possible to have single males neutered so that they can live with females rather than being doomed to live all their life alone. I couldn’t bear the thought of this poor chap spending his life lonely and miserable unnecessarily so he came home with us. He’s too young for neutering yet but once he’s old enough he’ll be snipped and will be looking for a home with some ladies. His name is Roger and we’re loving getting to know a whole new species! Pics soon once he’s a little less overwhelmed.

In last week’s blog post I mentioned our mystery box of hamsters. Well it turned out to contain two mummy hamsters, one litter of two babies and one litter of four. One of the younger babies didn’t survive into its second day sadly so there are now five babies in all. We were very shocked and saddened to discover one of the mummy hamsters dead yesterday. We’d been making a point of giving each of them a treat by hand every evening to help them become tame and not see us as a threat to their babies so we know for certain that she was fine Friday night but gone Saturday afternoon. It’s a mystery and very very sad. Thankfully the two mummies were sharing the baby rearing so we’re hopeful that even if the younger ones aren’t hers, the remaining mum will continue to nurse them. The two older babies now have their eyes open so we’re making a point of handling them every day so they grow up nice and friendly. It’s a tough job, seeing as they’re so hideous, but someone’s got to do it 😉


Hellos, Goodbyes, Au Revoirs and Welcomes February 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — sproggie14 @ 22:32

Apologies for leaving it so long between blog posts. I don’t know quite where this year has gone so far! There has been a lot of changes in the last 6 weeks so here we go…


Firstly, on New Year’s Eve we were joined by Russell the Roborovski hamster. He is on his own at the moment but we hope to find him company in the form of either another type of dwarf hamster or a mouse.

Then on the 18th January we took in 5 more welsh mouse ladies. We called them Tia, Brandy, Stella, Maria and Bailey. Tia, Stella and Bailey are healthy homeable mice, Maria is being assessed as she has a bald patch and Brandy is sadly another girl with a large tumour who has come here for her last days 😦

Four days later the mousey influx continued with another five girls, all healthy homeables this time. They were named Jester, Jazz, Gala, Kanzi and Liberty (special points for anyone who can spot the theme!)

On the same day, Emma from Furry Friends collected a male rat who had been found in a park, presumably after being dumped by someone who no longer wanted him. Emma didn’t have any boys suitable for him to mix with and asked if we did. She described him as an older chap who was very sweet natured so I reckoned it was worth seeing it he would live with Quest, freeing the baby boys up to go to their new home. Well, Henry, as he is now known, was exactly as described and he and Quest are now firm friends.

And then on Friday we were handed a bit of a mystery box. Furry Friends had a cage of moxed sex dwarf hamsters abandoned on their doorstep. We offered to take one of the girls and Emma brought us one who had given birth a couple of days previously. Her babies are in a house and we don’t want to disturb them and risk her abandoning them so at the moment we have no idea who is in there! Poor Mum is probably pregnant again though since she was in with boys two days after giving birth 😦


On the 4th January my very special girl Linette went to the vets for an exploratory operation. She had blood coming from her genitals so we thought she might have a womb infection – serious but treatable with a spay. Devastatingly it transpired that she had multiple tumours on her uterus and intestines so we had to make the decision to let her go. Nettie was a very dear girl to me. She arrived incredibly nervous and it took a long time to make friends. She became very interested in me but still not keen to be picked up. We kept working on it and eventually she became a very loving, friendly girl. She had this way of looking you right in the eye that just melted your heart.

On the 9th Duncan mouse lost his battle with the tumour that was attached to his penis 😦

Then on the 11th we had to say goodbye to another very special friend, Jules. He was born here in April 2008 and stayed because he had a habit of scratching himself to bits. He was a lovely chap and is very much missed.

On the 15th Niobe’s lump became too big for her to manage and we said goodbye

On the 18th we were very surprised by the loss of Claude, one of the group of boy mice.

And then later that day my dear little soul mouse Simon finally left us. He was one of the welsh mice who arrived in November 2008. I believed him to be old on arrival, at least a year old, so he really was very elderly indeed.

And then on the 29th our own degu, Reya, passed away. She was the last of six girls we adopted from Furry Friends in 2005. They hadn’t been well cared for in their previous home and the whole group had dental problems. Reya had several dental procedures but didn’t recover well from her last one so we didn’t feel it was right to put her through another when she was, by now, quite elderly. She was bouncy and full of mischief to the end and then passed away quite suddenly but very peacefully.

Au Revoirs

It has been a sad few weeks but also happy with many animals going to their new homes.

Jazz, Kanzi, Gala, Liberty and Jester went to their new home in Scotland 🙂

Stilton went to his new home to live with fellow STAR mouse, Claude. Here they are getting to know each other.

Today was bittersweet as Foxy went to his new home with Hayley. I was devastated to let him go but I’m so pleased he has found the ideal home and will have a much better life now.

Steven mouse went to his new home, to live with another lonely boy.

Tia, Bailey, Ellie and Stella mice went to their new home to keep a lonely girl company

and Pippi, Daffyd, Teddy and Morrison (aka The hooligans) went to live in the very aptly named Rat Ritz, the lucky chaps!


Today we have been joined by 11 new friends but none of them are looking for new homes and none are staying permanently! We have two delightful little girl rats from Lincoln Rat Rescue lodging here on their way to their new home on Thursday. And 9 very handsome boy rats are going to be staying here for a few weeks as their Mum, Sylvia, who helps us enormously with transporting animals to new homes, sadly broke her ankle last week and is of course finding cage cleaning rather difficult. So I’m surrounded by some really beautiful rats who I can just enjoy without worrying about finding them homes which is nice. I shall be taking some pics soon which I’ll share here.




A review of 2009 December 31, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — sproggie14 @ 20:23

Well it’s that time of year again when I look through the database and make graphs!

I can’t say I’ll be sad to see the back of 2009. It started off badly with both my grandparents in hospital following heart attacks. Then in March my Grandpa passed away.

The early Summer months were marred by some disappointments amongst those we had homed to. We found that some of our animals were not being cared for in the way we would like and that people we trusted had lied to and misled us. It really made me question what we were doing and whether we could carry on and I put a stop on further homing for a while.

And then in August we learned that Dave’s cancer had returned and largely closed our doors for the rest of the year while Dave had pretty major surgery. Happily he is recovering well and we are now looking forward to a fresh start, both personally and for STAR, in 2010.

So what have we been up to in between the dramas?

Looking at this compared to last year

So obviously intake is drastically lower. This is down to various things, essentially our various dramas and the fact that we spent most of the year still crammed full of mice from the massive November 2008 intake.

However, I’m really, really pleased with the number of animals homed which is not far off what we did last year despite everything that has gone on. So a total of 176 STAR animals now in new homes. That’s wonderful!

We have now given sanctuary to a total of 33 animals for the rest of their lives. About half of these were welsh mice who arrived with health problems which meant we didn’t want to home them.

The 39 deaths are animals who were intended for homing but passed away before they found their new home 😦 Almost all of these (31) were welsh mice and 19 of those were babies born who didn’t survive.

16 animals still looking for homes seems a lot and it’s a shame that 7 of them have been here a year or more (all welsh mice again) but this time last year would you believe the figure was 107!! And then when I tell you that, of those 16, 10 are already reserved for new homes it’s actually looking pretty good 🙂

Our one “passed to other rescue” refers to Peri pigeon who went to live at Animaline in a lovely big aviary with lots of other pigeons.

So, taking everything into account, I don’t think we’ve done too badly this year. This time last year I said I wanted us to scale down, get down to 15 cages and speed up the homing process. I’m really chuffed to say we’ve met these aims and the new scaled down rodent room is working well and making it much easier for me to spend more quality time with the animals.

Oh, one last pretty graph. What species of animals have we helped most in the last couple of years?

Yep it’s mouses, mouses, mouses, with rats not far behind!

Anyway, here’s hoping for a better 2010. A very Happy New Year to you all and many, many thanks as usual for all your support. More than ever this year the encouragement and friendship you have provided have done a great deal to keep us going.

Much love

Sarah and Dave


And Christmas happiness December 29, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — sproggie14 @ 16:13
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It hasn’t all been doom and gloom over Christmas. We have also been joined by some rather lovely new friends who already have new homes lined up!

On the 14th we took in four baby boy rats, Teddy, Morrison, Daffyd and Pippi who had been part of an accidental litter. Shelley and David in Basingstoke took them and their Mum in and did all the hard work and then we offered to help with finding some of them a new home. So they arrived already in good health and very friendly thanks to Shelley and David’s efforts. It was fortuitous timing as, of course, we had Quest on his own and looking for new friends after Foxy turned on him. Here they are all getting to know each other.

As I type the boys are finally all living happily together. Quest was apparently more upset by Foxy’s actions than I realised and this made intros a little difficult. He was very defensive and suspicious of the babies which is very unlike him. Anyway, the babies have been offered a dream home with Vic who is one of the most dedicated and knowledgeable rat people I know. Even better, Vic is happy to take two of the babies now and leave two here to keep Quest company for however long he has left with us (bearing in mind he is now 28 months, quite impressive for such a special chap). The babies are such fun boys, incredibly sweet and playful. It has been 18 months since we had babies here so I’m really enjoying them.

And then on the 17th we met the lovely Stilton. Stilton is a young mouse boy who fell out with his brother and whose owner was concerned that she didn’t have enough time to keep him happy as a single mouse. So he has come here to be neutered so that he can live with other mice. Happily he has also already been offered a place in one of our very favourite mouse homes, with Gemma and Dan. He’ll be keeping Claude (previously known as Barry) company after he lost all of his lady friends recently. Sorry, no pic of Stilton yet but he’s a very handsome and cheeky lad. I promise to get photographic evidence of this soon 🙂


Christmas sadness

Filed under: Uncategorized — sproggie14 @ 15:53
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I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. We are enjoying a bit of a break after such a hectic year and we’re looking forward to saying goodbye to 2009 and starting afresh with a new year.

That said our break has been slightly overshadowed by some sad losses amongst the mice.

On the 16th we found dear little Eve had passed away in her cage. She was amongst the welshies we took in recently because they had tumours but on closer examination Eve was found to be in good health. So finding her gone was a huge shock.

Two days later John left us. John had a tumour on his spine so we knew he had a poor prognosis. But he had been bright and active and showed no real sign that his situation was deteriorating. He took himself up into a hammock on Thursday night, went to sleep and just didn’t wake up.

On the 23rd we let Niamh and Nahla go as their tumours had become too large. This was planned and expected since they arrived realistically but was complicated by the weather here. I had wanted to take them on the 18th originally but that was the day we had the initial snow fall. We tried again on Monday 21st but the snow came down again as we were on our way and we had to abandon our journey when it became apparent the roads were impassable. And then Wednesday was the next available appointment with Emily, our preferred vet. Still, both girls were still happy and eating right to the end – these welsh girls really are made of stern stuff bless them.

Then, of all times, Christmas morning I was terribly sad to find Brains had passed away. Brains was born here last November, had been neutered and was living happily with a gang of girls and Steven, another neutered boy. He and Steven had been offered a home and were due to start their new life together in the new year. Brains had had a respiratory infection but it had seemed to be responding to treatment so his loss was quite a shock.

And then another big shock on Boxing Day. I was being extra cautious after the previous losses so that morning I lifted up the house in the big mouse cage to check on everyone. They all stumbled out warm and sleepy but dear Nelly didn’t move. Again she had obviously gone to sleep cuddled up with all her friends and simply failed to wake up. Like Eve she had been a healthy one who slipped in with the lumpy girls so her passing was very unexpected. She also had a lovely new home lined up in the new year so it was doubly sad.

I’m obviously watching everyone else like a hawk at the moment. There doesn’t appear to be any link, anything contagious doing the rounds at least. It seems to just be one of the runs of bad luck which plague those of us who share our lives with lots of small pets.

Run free babies xx


A difficult decision December 14, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — sproggie14 @ 22:31
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We took Foxy in after he was rescued from a pets at home adoption centre. He’d had an abcess by his eye, been separated from others when still very young and left on his own. As a result he had real issues with other rats and it took us a long time and a neuter to convince him that other rats were ok. Anytime a male rat approached him, no matter how friendly they were, he would scream. After his neuter I did try him with girls but he attacked them so I persisted with the boy intros and eventually he lived very happily with Quest and Timin.

In October I found Tim with a large wound on his back of the sort usually inflicted during fights. He was in a bad way, too bad for a simple wound so we went to the vets. The vets opinion was that there was something else major going on with Tim not caused by the bite and we should let him go. She suggested that possibly someone in the cage attacked him because he was ill. I doubted this theory really. Foxy was neutered and had been terrified of them originally and Quest doesn’t even know he’s a boy he’s so soft.

Then Robson came to live with us and intros went brilliantly. I wasn’t sure how Foxy would take to a strange rat but he was great. 6 weeks after he moved in I found Robson with a wound in the same place, albeit just a scratch this time really. Robson also deteriorated quickly and it looks likely that he had acute liver failure. Again I wondered about the wound. It was suggested that the wound might have been caused when Robson lashed out due to hypersensitivity caused by the liver failure. This made more sense to me as I really could not imagine Foxy or Quest doing anything like that.

Anyway, after Robson left us on Friday Quest’s breathing started playing up so he is now on antibiotics. One night last week I gave him his medicine followed by a treat. Foxy also took a treat from me but then he went after Quest’s treat and attacked him. He proper leapt on him, sank his teeth in and shook. He did this twice. He really meant it and I dread to think what would have happened if I hadn’t been there to drag him off. Quest ran from him, leapt through the door and into my arms where he lay wide eyed and trembling for several minutes. So obviously I separated them which left me with two lone rats. Quest should be easy to introduce to some baby boys but what to do with Foxy was my major dilemma. 99.9% of the time it appears he is fine with other rats. He sleeps with them, plays with them, shares his food fine. But it looks like he has attacked three rats in as many months now :( It’s possible that this is triggered by the other rats being unwell but I’m not certain. Can I risk putting him with other rats again? What’s worse, him living alone or giving him the chance to possibly injure other rats?

After much deliberation I decided that the best thing would be for Foxy to go to a home where he will live alone but with someone who is at home a lot so can give him lots of attention. Ideally they would have a group of big, strong, healthy rats who Foxy could free range with and who could cope if he got nasty. Sadly we can’t offer him either of these things what with working full time and running the rescue and with all our current residents being old and frail. Anyway much as I am devastated to think of Foxy moving on, I was more pleased than I can say when Hayley from Lincoln Rat Rescue offered him a home. She works part time so has lots of time for him and lots of fit rats who can handle him if needs be. I’m not sure when he’ll be going yet but I expect he could probably float up to Lincoln on the tears that’ll follow him 😦


New Arrivals December 5, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — sproggie14 @ 23:33
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So, as mentioned yesterday, we’ve taken in some more poorly mice. These are yet more mice from the welsh rescue who, like Elsa, Echo, Ellie, Eve and Edie were with a rescue which recently closed down. As before, we offered to take the special needs ones to join our cage of lumpy residents.

So from left to right we have Niobe, has two benign skin growths on her face and a small tumour in her armpit, Nixie who has a sore nose, Nahla, who has a skin tag on her eye and a tumour in her groin, Nelly, who appears to be ok apart from one of the typical skin tags that the welsh mice get and Niamh who has a large tumour on her side 😦

It makes me so sad to see such young mice with such bad health. I suspect we’ll probably only have the pleasure of Niamh’s company for another week or so before the time comes when it’s kinder to let her go. Nahla perhaps has a month with us. Niobe’s tumour I think may be removeable which hopefully will buy her some more time. Nixie needs checking by the vet to see what is wrong with her nose. Nelly looks as though she might be suitable for homing all being well.

So all we can do really is make them as happy as we can for as long as we can. So, with this in mind, I introduced them today to the rest of the big mixed group of mice.

and upgraded the whole crew to a nice big freddy cage

I will, of course, keep you posted as to how they’re getting on 🙂


Goodbye Robson and Elsa December 4, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — sproggie14 @ 23:02
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It’s been a rather sad day here today I’m afraid.

Last night dear Robson began to look unwell. Nothing very specific, just not himself. I separated him and gave him some antibiotics and pain killers and nursed him to keep his strength up. But he just kept getting worse. This morning he had begun to lose control of his legs. And then when I got home from work at lunch time he was hardly even awake 😦 I don’t know what it was really that caused him to decline so quickly. I can only guess at either a stroke or heart failure. The lovely Emily at the Village Animal Hospital helped him on his way to the bridge for us.

As you’ll see from previous posts about him, Robson came to us in April 2008, rescued from a home where a lot of animals were kept in terrible conditions. He is related to some of our other resident rats, Bianca, Shalina and Linette. These rats were so badly kept and bred that the whole family have been plagued with health issues. Robson and his brothers found a new home but sadly they passed earlier this year leaving Robson on his own. His Mum was sad to let him go but knew that living alone wasn’t right for him so he came back here in October and moved in with Quest and Foxy. He has really enjoyed his last couple of months and we have adored having him here. He was quite a tense chap when he was younger but matured into a lovely, squishy lad.

We also said goodbye to Elsa, one of the 5 mousey girls we took in recently. She already had a very large tumour when she arrived so we knew we wouldn’t have her for long. I fell in love with her instantly. I don’t know what it is about chocolate mice but I find them irresistible. But more than that I have come to really admire her spirit. Despite her lump she was always a busy, happy little thing and often first to the food. Her lump got to the point where it was impacting on her ability to get around. It broke my heart because she was still bright and happy but I really did not want her to suffer so I decided to let her go sooner rather than later. I can’t describe how much it hurts to have to sign the death sentence of an animal who, from the waist up, looks young, healthy and happy. I’ll miss little Elsa very much indeed.

And now we’ve set ourselves up for more sadness with the arrival of some more poorly mice. I’ll introduce them tomorrow.