A true story about my relationships with the amazing rodents: the rats.
|They had lice. It was one of the worse things I could ever hear about my beloved pet rats.
This is, in fact, a true story. Just wanted you to take note of that.
My family is crazy for rodents. I have lost count on how many little pets we housed. I currently own two gerbils. They are my best friends in life: Someone to talk too, expression my deep feelings of anger or joy. But I mean, they’re gerbils. If you knew this species of rodents, you’d know where I was coming from. The only time you will actually see them still is when the cute little animals are sleeping peacefully. When the gerbils are awake, it’s like a rodent who had ADHD. So the pair doesn’t really sit down tight and listen to my every word.
I also had three guinea pigs in my life, but they were just like bumps on a log and slept the day away.
We once had mice only about a year ago. Yes, they were cute, but all they wanted to do when run and hide away from the real world. They were quite boring.
Just about two years ago, my mother, my two brothers and myself traveled downtown to the local pet store. One of my brothers wanted to buy a rodent we had never encountered before. And he had his eye on two male rats.
At first, I didn’t think I’d have a love connection with these rodents. To be honest, I thought they’d just be as nasty as the scruffy rats that run the streets. But to accept the truth, the two were not like that whatsoever.
Days went by, then weeks after having them. And I found myself deeply in love with the cute, fat rats.
Gilbert and Ozzy were just like two little best friends of mine that would listen to me with my problems, play when I wanted a playmate or just comfort me in times of sadness.
Yet just like every living thing in the world, death should come toward their older days.
Ozzy was the first to go. He had something wrong with his breathing and would not eat nor drink.
Of course, I started to get worried and made sure everything was made right for the little trooper.
But alas, the end came to be. Ozzy passed away in the night, and I awoke to see my boy’s body stretched out among the first floor of his cage (The cage had three stories).
I cried my heart out when I discovered his limp body. But I still had Gilbert to care for.
Not to offend his brother at all, but I found Gilbert was the better of the two. He was less scared of life and would go on adventures whenever he could. Gilbert would never bite me, never squeak at me or would ever try to hurt me in any way.
Oh, he was one special rat.
At night, I’d take him out of his cage. At first, Gilbert would tumble around my bed while I read, but then would snuggle up against me for warmth. He was kind of like a dog and a rat in one!
I played with him every chance I got; to make sure Gilbert was never lonely without his brother not around.
I was really attached to this little rat of mine, and could not accept the fact that his days were numbered.
Gilbert was a pretty old rat. He was only about eighteen months old when his heart stopped. Which, for all who didn’t know, was really lucky to have a rat for that long.
It was only three months after Ozzy died, did Gilbert show any symptoms of a sickness.
I found him one day after school, lying on the bottom floor of the cage. I was just horrified when I gazed upon the amount of blood lying in Gilbert’s bed.
Minutes later, I discovered the blood dripping out of his penis. I just did not know what to think of it. This had never happened to any of my pets before.
I couldn’t say Gilbert looked fine to me. His eyes were always have closed, he wobbled as he slowly walked and the poor thing wouldn’t come out of the cage when I beckoned him too.
I still have tears in my eyes when I remember his state. It was just horrible to see.
The next day, Gilbert was still hanging on and I knew it would not be for much longer.
My parents also saw his position, and told me we’d put Gilbert down so my friend wouldn’t have to suffer anymore.
But we didn’t need too.
There was no school that Wednesday, thanks to Parent-Teacher interviews. I was at home, alone, petting Gilbert as he lay half-dead in his cage.
I couldn’t stand this anymore.
I slowly picked him out of the cage, not caring of the blood he dripped on me.
I put Gilbert in my arms, and petting him ever so slowly.
His eyes opened and glanced up at me. I smiled through my tears. Gilbert’s eyes closed once again and his head fell.
He died there in my arms. But I couldn’t say I was sad to see him go. Yes, I would miss him, but he was in a better place now, dancing on the rainbow with his brother and our previous animals.
And the way he left. Gilbert looked so peaceful. I would never forget one of my most favourite pets ever.
Of course, my mom wanted to get more rats and so did I. But about two weeks later, due to the grieving, we retrieved two new dumbo rats.
We named them Willie and Rocky, and took ever so great care of them.
I also loved them with all my heart, but not as much as I ever did for Gilbert and Ozzy.
My eighteen-year-old brother also wanted to get rats for himself, so he set out to the pet store and came back home with two regular rats, in which he named them George and Ringo, in memory of his favourite band, The Beatles.
I played with all four of them, and loved when with all my heart. But a terrifying day arrived.
My mom noticed little white specks on the rump of George, a fully black-coated rat.
She slowly checked him for anything unusual. Then moved over to his brother, Ringo.
To my dismay, my mother found a couple nits on him, and also found a little louse running through the fur.
Oh dear, I was not happy.
Reluctantly, my mom and I looked through my dumbo rats.
I was just flabbergasted when my mother found lice in them too.
A part of me was missing. I just cried like my life depended on it.
It was just too much money to erase the lice from the rats’ fur. With five kids and two parents, money was to be spent wisely.
I had to give them away. It was the worse Saturday in my entire life! We only had them for four days and now we had to let them go.
I must tell you it was not an easy thing to do. But I managed through numerous tears and still cry about it today.
Since then, we have not gotten any rats. I am still grieving over the loss of five rats in just two weeks!
In my view, giving them away was much harder then death. When Gilbert died, I also knew he would be my Gilbert, and not anyone else’s. With my other rats, they could be someone else’s Coffee or Timbit. They would never always be mine! And it breaks my heart just to think of it.
But life does go on, and I intend to make the best of it.
But I do know, my heart will never forget the love rats have given me. They are not what most people think them to be: the little furry things, running throughout the town chewing on everything in site. They are one of the most loving rodents out there and I would like to ask you to remember that next time you see a little white rat running across your lawn.
I just wanted to let you all know about these curious creatures.
And I’d like to announce this piece as an ode to rats, for all their greatness and love they have given to me.
If anyone has any idea what Gilbert had died from, please let me know. I searched it all over the internet but could not find why he was peeing blood through his penis. If you know, or had experience, please email me. I would really love to know.