This is a White Footed Mouse or Deer Mouse. It is one of several rodent species that can show up inside peoples homes, raid pantries, and startle homeowners. But, there is much more to this species than that.
Years ago, I remember a professor asking the class “what is a weed?” There were lots of replies from the class. When we ran out of “answers” he told us “a weed is the wrong plant at the wrong place at the wrong time”. That is certainly the situation in this case. Inside a home, this is a pest species. No one wants mice raiding the pantry or popping up unexpectedly. Like many wildlife species, they can spread disease and cause problems if they decide to chew on the wrong thing. Food wrappers, woodwork, even wiring can be subject to chewing by persistently growing incisors.
But, outside the home, this might be a valued species. Deer Mice are an important prey species for may other species higher up the food chain. Owls, hawks, foxes, skunks, and many others feed on mice. Even larger species like Grey Wolves feed on mice. They provide a critical link in the food chain. So, it is possible for one client to call in the morning, panicked, because they have had a close encounter with a mouse then visit another in the afternoon, who enjoys watching wildlife, and give an entirely different set of recommendations. In fact it could possibly be the same client. It is entirely possible to successfully manage for both objectives on the same property.
Successfully promoting or managing a species almost always incudes consideration of that species food source. After all, how can you manage for hawks or owls without considering rodent populations. This can mean that a wildlife manager may actually try to improve habitat for prey species like Deer Mice that do not have good P.R. in other situations.
They say that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. That is certainly true in this case. My daughter saw this picture and said “aww how cute”. But, if this little guy had dashed across her toes she might not have felt the same.