The dogs had developed a new and all-consuming hobby ... there was Something In The Pantry, and their favourite balls had been ditched in relentless puruit of the new game of Spot-The-Mouse.
Something Would Have To Be Done.
We have two doctor friends who had a one-eyed mouse as a pet after an accident with a mouse trap. I never liked to ask for details but it was enough to make me look for other options in the eradication programme.
The sonic deterrent seemed to be worth a go, especially in a confined environment. And, for a time, it worked - for all of two days in fact. We knew this because suddenly the dogs lost all interest in the pantry, so there was obviously Nothing Going On.
And then the refugees returned in force, with earplugs and carrier bags for supplies.
To be fair they were very polite guests. If they started a packet of chocolate biscuits they would eat every last crumb before moving on to the next packet. The same for the packets of ground almonds and the bars of chocolate - they must have had a caffeine addiction because half a packet of ground coffee disappeared in the same way.
A more effective solution was obviously required and I stared at the options on the shelf in the shop. A live trap! - my father had a lot of success with live traps - but the one in front of me looked rather small and flimsy and not-quite-up-to-the-job.
And then I saw it - a ten-person live mousetrap, made of metal and large enough to have a barn dance in. Certainly of the size and calibre required for the hungry hordes I was now aware were chomping their way through my pantry. It even had a convenient little viewing window so you could see how many you'd caught before emptying them into the neighbour's garden.
Full of enthusiasm I installed the contraption in the pantry and waited for the unwary, inspecting it at frequent intervals ... and, over the subsequent week, becoming increasingly disillusioned ... and then I caught one! It was the tiniest, saddest scrap of a mouse that had obviously wandered away from its mother's apron strings, and it was already dead by the time I found it.
This obviously wouldn't do - even if it had been alive it was far too young to release on its own, and I realised there must be many more of similar ilk from whence it came. I started to envisage the consequent tiers of mouse cages all stacked up, waiting for the occupants to grow to suitable size before the visit to the neighbour's garden ... it was just no good, the job had to be done.
With great regret the ten-person mousetrap was relegated to a dusty shelf.
Suffice to say the mice are no more, the pantry has been fortified to withstand further invasion and the dogs have gone back to playing ball.