by Danielle D
Brown rat, I called him, was one of my first rats. I bought two on my birthday and fell in love instantly. I had watched lots of rat videos on youtube. I had many pets before then, but a rat seemed cool. I went to the pet store and they only had male rats. I picked out a hooded fawn rat and a blazed brown rat with a white lightning shape on his head. When I got home, I opened the box to place him in his cage but he bolted out and hid under a table I had. After I finally found him, I layed him on my chest and we became best friends. While I had brown rat and pinky, his brother, I also bought other rats and had a seperate cage. For some reason, all the other rats could never compare to these two first rats I bought. They were loving. I remember how brown rat had such a thick personality. You could feel it in the air somehow. He was a big rat, very smart and dominant. He was well respected by his brother and was top rat. But never in a mean or demanding way, more of a natural way. He was very shy though. And often I felt sorry for him and wondered what happened before I adopted him. I considered myself to be his mother. He would lay his head in my hand as I pet his back with the other hand. When I look at pictures I took of him, it’s weird that he is gone. He was in my life for one and a half years. It felt like more than that with him. He was truly a family member and a friend. And I felt like he was my child of another species. It hurts and is a special kind of pain that resides within my soul. Our souls truly connected through unconditional love. Today is April 12th, 2016 , 2:08am. It’s hard for me to sleep. He died two days ago. For awhile he had a gurgling chest. Over time it progressed and he had to work harder to breathe. His meds were not working. The day he died, well the night before, I woke up to see him going crazy in his cage, trying everything he could to get out. He had tired himself out pretty bad, and knocked his food bowl everywhere. I had never ever seen that before. I knew his time was coming because of the way he desperately wanted to be next to me. He looked at me as if he was saying, ‘help me I can’t breathe mom’..and I would just pet him and tell him I am sorry and to relax. I placed him on my bed, and he curled next to me. This is something he didn’t do much simply because he was always exploring and such. He layed and breathed heavily as I pet him. he was struggling to breathe even more. He took his last breath. He was fighting as hard as he could to breathe, but his body had enough. I was crying and just kept petting him. I let his brother come see him for a moment. And my dad who brown rat was very fond with gave him a kiss. I told brown rat that he was going to be okay , and that everything that is happening is natural and to wait for me on the other side . I told him I loved him and that he was free to leave. I saw the light leave his eyes. I held his body and simply cried and couldn’t believe what had just happened. I miss him. We had a bond and it’s horrible to me that he went that way. But I’m so greatful I got to lay next to him and be there for him when he passed. He was my baby. And I will always love him. My dad buried him in the back yard the next day. We lit candles and wrote him poems to put inside his casket. The hardest part was letting his brother pinky see the body so that he wouldn’t be confused about where brown went. You’re always supposed to show the cage mates the body so that they don’t think the rat just “disapeared”. Pinky got really depressed but I made sure he got lots of treats that day. Now I’m planning on what to do since pinky is alone in his cage. Until I find a good elderly cage mate , pinky is sharing my room with me. His cage is in my room open. He gets to be next to me all the time. I want to be here for him more. He misses his brother. Rats have feelings very similar to humans. When pinky dies. I will be more prepared, but it will hurt. These first two rats of mine have made a huge impression on my heart. They have given me so much joy. Such kind and loving creatures. Much like small dogs. No other rats will compare. But I am not alone. Many other people love and grieve their rats. I am afriad I can never have rats again after brown and pinky. I’m sure with time, I will heal. But for now, when I look at pictures of buy things for pinky..I feel a deep reminiscing and feel sad. I remember those times when he was little and I would hold him and love on him. Time flies. Never forget it. Brown rat taught me to cherish the time I have. I often lived with him as if his time were not limited. Now that’s he is gone, I want to love on him even more. Rest in peace brown rat. I always will love you and I can only hope your suffering vanished as soon as you passed. Goodbye friend. I will meet you again some day.