Farewell My Lovely Rats

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It’s been a few months since my last two lovely boys passed away. It was November 26th and Dublin was getting very feeble and off his food. Jinx took a bad turn during the night, and we were very upset to find him barely moving in the morning of the 27th, so I had to make the harsh decision to put them both to sleep. I knew that Dublin would only decline very fast without his brother so I thought it was kinder to let them both go together. It was not just the end of days for these two wonderful little guys, but the end of an era, I had decided not to bring any more rats into our lives for the time being, as it is not so practical having to house them in the garden shed (a consequence of my partners allergies), not to mention the heating bill. So I will make this my last post, a farewell to my sweet pixies Dublin and Jinx, and a tribute to all our rats gone by. To the Rainbow Bridge my little ones xxxxxxxxxxxx

Irresistibly Cute Dublin's 1st Day Home

Irresistibly Cute Dublin's 1st Day Home

I is a Mouse, honest

I is a Mouse, honest

Baby Dublin Fluffyness

Baby Dublin Fluffiness

Wassat?

Wassat?

Peek-a-Boo!

Peek-a-Boo!

I Gots it

I Gots it

Old Boy Dublin

Old Boy Dublin

Dublin in his Prime, a Handsome Ratty

Dublin in his Prime, a Handsome Ratty

Baby Jinx's 2nd Day Home

Baby Jinx's 2nd Day Home

Pixie Rat!

Pixie Rat!

Hi!

Hi!

Cute Jinxy

Cute Jinxy

How Whiskery Am I??

How Whiskery Am I?

Jinx on the Sink

Jinx on the Sink

Cuddling Rocky

Cuddling Rocky

Old Boy Jinx

Old Boy Jinx

Adorable Jinx

Adorable Jinx

The Big Boys

The Big Boys

Snuggly Shy-Shy

Snugly Shy-Shy

A Rat Party!

A Rat Party!

Sniff Sniff

Sniff Sniff

Today My Lovely Rats Say Bye-Bye

Pip Gone to the Bridge

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On the 14th April our sweet Pip departed to the proverbial Rainbow Bridge…

Since the death of his brother Stripe, Pip had been struggling against the ongoing effects of Mycoplasmosis. Although we tried an antibiotic called Septrin for roughly a month, the infection was too advanced, and his shallow gravelly breathing continued. In the end his body just couldn’t fight any more and he stopped eating.

Pip was the leader of the gang, and very much a rat’s rat. He tolerated being picked up and fussed, but he wasn’t overly friendly. He would rarely seek out human attention, so the day he slowly made his way across the cage to me and climbed onto my chest, I knew something was wrong. I thought at first he was asking for food (I had been giving him soft baby food for a while now) but he wouldn’t even take his favourite yoghurt. I tried him with different favourites, and water, but he didn’t want anything. So I put him back in his bed with some extra bedding to keep him warm. No sooner I had put him in his bed, he was up again and making his way feebly towards me. Now I was quite distressed – I knew he was asking for something but I didn’t know how to help. I think I knew then that he had had enough of his illness, and somehow I was a comfort.

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I took a few deep breaths and calmed myself down, and carried Pip in the house to monitor him more closely. I wrapped him up in a blanket and sat with him on my chest. He made no attempts to move and soon fell asleep. He had used up the last dregs of energy and it was obvious that he was not going to recover, so I made the decision to take him to the vets to be put to sleep. I didn’t see any point in trying to keep him alive – I think in his own way he “told” me he was ready to go. It was terribly sad for us all – especially so soon after Stripe’s death, but we didn’t want Pip to suffer any more.

On a brighter note – here are some fond memories of our lovely Pip…

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Slumbering Fuzzy
This is Pip at six weeks old, on the day we brought him home from the Rescue Centre.

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Pip and Rocky
Pip was very timid at this age and snuggled up to his brothers for security. We wouldn’t have guessed he would become the Alpha male in months to come.

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Too Cute!

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“I is shy”

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Pin-up Pip
Pip was such a good-looking rat!

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Cuddly Boy
Here Pip demonstrates his good nature and patience at being man-handled by young children!

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Guarding the Tube
Pip was a good alpha leader – firm but fair. There were never any serious fights among the pack of four. In fact, when Stripe was ill, Pip was protective of him.

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The Last Days of Pip
Finally one of the last photographs taken of Pipsy, with a yoggie drop in his mouth!

Today my lovely rats are mostly eating ethereal yoggies.

Stripe at the Rainbow Bridge

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Just a few days after Stripes 2nd birthday, he began to show signs of being seriously ill, and sadly, over last weekend he declined very quickly. It was all so sudden and unexpected.
I continued to give him soft food and keep him warm, but he grew tired very quickly and slept most of the time. He was too weak to walk properly, and just shuffled very slowly, if at all. He lost weight in a matter of days, and his eyes were encrusted with porphrin in the mornings – which I bathed in cooled boiled water on cotton wool buds. He didn’t seem to mind this, in fact, although he was weak, one time he managed to crawl up to me in his cage, and kissed me on the nose. It was a poignant moment since I knew he didn’t have long left with us.

On Monday 30th March we took all three of the older boys, Stripe, Pip and Shy-Shy to the vets. Shy-Shy and Pip were no longer responding to the Baytril antibiotic, and Stripe was still deteriorating. Shy-Shy and Pip were examined and the vet prescribed a different antibiotic: Seprin. The vet took one look at Stripe, and we both came to the decision that it would be best to put him to sleep. She gave him gas to make him sleep, and then gave him the dreaded injection. He died peacefully while I stroked him.

We buried Stripe next to his brother Rocky in our garden and my daughters found a stone and shell to mark the place. Here are some images of Stripe in those magic moments of his life:-

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One Tiny Fuzzy
At 6 weeks old, Stripe was a curious but very timid boy. He was already endearing us to him. He was chosen for my daughter Skye, and she named him because of the stripe on his back.

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Dreamy Days
At 7 weeks, Stripe was still napping often, and growing very quickly in size and confidence.

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Curiosity
With plenty of handling and positive reinforcement, Stripe became a friendly little guy, and never nipped like the other boys. He was the most submissive member of the group. He was still jumpy though, and freaked out at strange sounds, or fast movement.

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Praying for Yoggies!
Stripe was the only rat to have a fascination with my face, and was the first rat to give me “rat kisses”. When he was this age, he used to climb on to my glasses and sit there!!

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Stripe in his Prime

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During an Intro with Jinx & Dublin
Stripe was not able to accept Jinx & Dublin into the group. I think it was partly because he was too scared of them.

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Wash Time

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The Last Photo of Stripe
Here he is on his birthday, thoroughly enjoying his cake! He had a special bond with his brothers and will missed by all of us.
Go find Rocky and have fun at the Rainbow Bridge Stripey…

Today my lovely rats are mostly eating porridge with yucky medicine in.

Goodbye Rocky

Rocky took ill with a tumour only a short time ago, and began to lose weight rapidly. I fed him soft food twice a day for as long as I could, but last night he didn’t even attempt to come out of his bed. He was panting with every small movement, so I decided it was time to let him go.

We took him to the vet this morning, wrapped in a fleece, and he gave me one last feeble brux when I scritched his neck. He very rarely bruxed, so this was a lovely last memory of him to treasure.

Here’s some pictures of him through his too short life:

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Here he is when we first took him home, at 6 weeks old. All the boys were very nervous, but Rocky was the first to venture out and explore the big wide world that was our dining room floor!

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“Hi!”

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Sleepyhead

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This picture was taken when Rocky was still a youngster, full of vigour and mischief. He always gave me a cheeky nibble on my ankle in the same place, whenever it was free range time! He did that all through his life, right up until he got sick. When he was little, he was always the first one to find a place I didn’t want him to go, and was very good at evading detection, by hiding in the most unreachable places!

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Rocky soon filled out and became a big bruiser of a rat!

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Peepo!

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Rocky looking his adorable self. He was such a handsome rat! He was very poor sighted and used to rock his head from side to side (like Stevie Wonder!) as if he was dancing.

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One of the very last pictures of Rocky. He was enjoying his baby porridge, only stopping to rest briefly. He loved his food, possibly more than any rat should!

Goodbye Rocky, go run free at the Rainbow Bridge. You will be forever in our memories and hearts.

Today my lovely rats are mostly eating a little less in their dish.

Past Rats

I found these photos the other day of our first rats which we used to keep about ten years ago.

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Ratty

Ratty was my boyfriend’s favourite (before his allergy to rats got worse), and although he was very shy, Ratty felt happy being held by him, especially near the end of his life. Poor Ratty, his story is quite sad.
My other half found him in a local pet shop, being bullied by his siblings. He was the runt of the litter, and on several visits to the pet shop, it seemed that he was being chased away from the food dish. So my boyfriend took pity on him, and took him home.
I remember how scared Ratty was at first, and I held him in my jumper for a long time, until he fell asleep. I guess I was feeling particularly maternal because I was pregnant on my first daughter Hannah, only I didn’t know it at the time!
We didn’t know much about rats, only a friend of ours kept a lone male rat who continually scampered across the cupboards and bookshelves in his flat. I know we had a book about rats, but didn’t have access to the extensive information you can find now, via the internet.
After a couple of weeks of Ratty continuing to be very nervous of us and I was scared of him biting (he kept putting his teeth round my finger), we decided he might be happier if he had a friend. So we went back to the pet shop and bought one of his brothers, Ruby.
They were 11 weeks old when we tried to introduce them, and knowing nothing about the correct procedures of rat intros, it all went terribly wrong. Ratty was horrified that there was another rat in his territory and fluffed right up, making the most horrendous noise. In the end we didn’t know what else to do but to separate them and buy another cage for Ruby.
Ratty never got over his shyness and after a couple of years succumbed to the terrible Mycoplasmosis, his breathing got very rattly, and in the end he had to be put to sleep. I think he was about two and a half years.

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Ruby

Here’s Ruby, my dizzy boy. He was content in his own funny way. What he lacked in intelligence he made up for in his gentle quirkiness! He was given the name Ruby because of his ruby coloured eyes, and because of his effeminate nature. Ratty was the big butch boy rat, and Ruby was such a contrast – he was slight and fast, and ran about everywhere, right up until his later months, rather like female rats are inclined to do. He followed his brother to the rainbow bridge within a few short months of old age.

Today my lovely rats are eating cheese wedges.