Little Beemo

by Torey
(Springfield, IL)

I have had a total of seven rats in my life thus far, three right now and four that have gone over the rainbow bridge. It was very sad when my four boys past a way, though Beemo’s death was definitely the hardest. I did not have him for long. One of my old boys, Freckle, had just past and since baby Luxo was not getting along with Freckle’s brother, Hiccup (who had rather severe arthritis) I thought I’d get another young one to distract Luxo from his elderly brother. So I went and I bought Beemo from the pet store.

While I had purchased him in the hopes that he would be a play mate for Luxo, it was easy to tell that Beemo was going to be a special rat. The pet store I had purchased him from was in the middle of a move, so the poor boy had not received the best of care. He had a bad eye infection in both of his eyes and was neither lively nor active. He spent much of his time sedentary, though he was very sweet to me and my sister. He loved being skritched on the head and would snuggle up with me whenever I took him out every night. The day after I got him I took him to the vet in the hopes to get his eye infection resolved. I got some eye drops as well as some oral anti-biotics and began applying them immediately.

It was too little too late, however. Though one of his eyes improved, the other ruptured and his lens fell out. Terrified, I called the vet and was advised to stay calm and give him some pain killers. He was going to have to have what was left of his eye removed, but many rats have lived happy lives with one eye. I accepted this, put him on his own again and waited until the day of the surgery (couldn’t get scheduled for a week and a half.)

I spent lots of time with little Beems during this time, taking him out by himself for at least an hour a day to snuggle with me. One thing I had noticed about him all along was that he was not very nimble. He would not climb around much, and he was doing it less and less with time. I tried a couple times putting him up places, but he just seemed lost. At first I accounted this to the unfortunate circumstances I had bought him under; at the pet store, he had nothing but one plastic igloo in his cage, so I thought perhaps he had no experience climbing around. However, I also began noticing that he wasn’t using his back legs well. In hindsight, I should have addressed this problem first, but I wanted to take one thing at a time and figure out the eye problem before I worry about the leg problem.

The day of the sugery, I went to my room to get Beemo and found that he was, very suddenly, in very bad shape. He was cold and was not moving, though he was still breathing and had a heart beat. I bundled him up and rushed him to the vet. They noticed that there was something wrong with him right away and took him away. I was sobbing at this point, since that morning I had lost my other old boy, Hiccup, of old age and I was quickly losing hope for Beemo. They gave him high protein cat food, a heating pad and oxygen. All these combined helped my poor listless boy perk up a bit. He loved the oxygen mask and buried his little nose in it, taking a break only to eat the cat food. He seemed so happy and better. With the instruction to keep a close eye on him, make sure he gets food and stays warm, I brought him home. However, by the time I got there he had dissolved back into how he was.

I could not go back to the vet, both for financial and transportation reasons. So I put in my shirt on my chest and held him tight, occasionally trying to get him to eat. I sat with him for three hours as he slowly stopped being able to breath. I wish I had just put him down when I was at the vet, the idea of that poor little creature slowly losing the ability to use his lungs and suffocating still makes me cry months later.

I only had Beemo for a month, and every moment I had with him he was in pain. But he was such a good boy. He was always good tempered and loved to be snuggled and patted and I’m so happy that I was able to know him, even though it ended in such a terrible way. I don’t know exactly how he died. After doing research later, I figure it might have been a stroke that slowly paralyzed him. Perhaps it was caused by the extremely advanced eye infection, its hard to say. Either way, I loved that little man and I wish I had had more time to spend with him.

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