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O2010-45

Dear Mortimer Mouse

My daughter loves her sixth-grade classroom mice and wants to adopt two of them. Frankly, mice freak me out, and I need an excuse to say no. Do they carry disease? What are the drawbacks of owning mice?

Mortimer Responds

You won’t hear much unfavorable news from me. Domesticated mice are quite healthy, and we rarely carry disease.

However, we are too small and fragile for young children who haven’t yet learned to be gentle.

As nocturnal animals, we are most active at dawn, during the evening and at night. That may be a shortcoming to some people, but probably not your daughter. Her mice will sleep during the day while she’s at school and play with her each evening.

Finally, mice live only one to three years, a disadvantage for your daughter but perhaps not for you.

Mice have been family pets for centuries. My mom, who had pet mice when she was your daughter’s age, says they help children learn about taking responsibility and treating animals with kindness.

For information on caring for the new mice your daughter will undoubtedly talk you into letting her adopt, visit www.rmca.org, the Web site of the Rat and Mouse Club of America.

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