Buddy the Hairless Rat

by Tom
(East Haven, Connecticut, United States.)

My girlfriend and I liked to go to All Pets Club in Wallingford, CT on the weekends since it's the closest thing we could get to a zoo, being in the middle of Connecticut. So in April 2011, we came across Buddy. Buddy was with his brothers and sisters in an open cage area where you can interact with them. We were speechless not only because they were all hairless, but how social and curious they were, especially Buddy. Climbing on our shoulders, and sniffing our ears, we made a spontaneous decision and brought Buddy home.

Since my girlfriend and I were new rat owners, we did a lot of research on caring for a rat, especially a hairless one. No wood chip bedding, no window drafts, and no foreign smells in the room. Though we understood caring for a hairless rat would require more work than just a normal rat, we were still up for the challenge.

It turned out that Buddy took more care of us than we took care of him in his short life. Of course he was spoiled with treats and comfort day in day out, but Buddy took care of us in a different way. When you were having a down day or if your luck hasn't gone the way you wanted it to, Buddy was there to pick you up. Just by being his curious and social self, he was able to touch us in a way no human could. He helped our relationship through tough times and helped us get through countless hard days that life threw at us.

Buddy passed away sometime Friday night. He ate his whole grain cereal that same night and took his nightly nice long drink of water before heading into his box for sleep, showing no signs whatsoever that he would pass. He was around 2 years old and touched our lives in a way that I didn't think could ever be touched by an animal. I just wish I could have said a proper good bye, but I'm glad he went fast and painless as he deserved it.

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