Saint Valentine D’Eskwa, the Queen of the Colony

by Sky A. L. K.
(NB, Canada)

Valentine was an unexpected but welcome addition to our family. Originally, it was supposed to be her sisters, Mist and Storm, who’d come live with us, but an unfortunate accident took Storm from us too soon. Disappointed but not wanting to abandon Mist, we took on another of her sisters, Valentine, and the decision seemed like fate.

Valentine was the perfect rat. Affectionate, but independent, with an air of sophistication you just don’t see in the other rats. She quickly became the queen of our little family, and she never lost that stride. She was Queen, and she knew it.

Last night, though, we came home to find her gasping in her cage. Having been totally healthy the day before when we’d left her, it came as a complete slap to the face, by far the biggest shock and scare of my life. I’d come home alone, so while waiting for my husband to get home, I just… I held her, and rubbed her back, cried and prayed and wished that she’d be okay- or if not okay, at least pass quickly and peacefully. I hated to watch her suffering. With no phone except my husband’s cell, I was left stranded with no way to get help for her.

When he finally got home, we called the vet and got the quote. 150 would cover most of the expected expenses. Next, we called the in-laws. His parents. For money to burrow until our pays came in. No dice. We were stuck.

I laid with her, and then come midnight, I placed her back with Mist in hopes, maybe, she’d make it through the night. I knew she wouldn’t, deep down, and through tears, whispered a last goodbye to my sweetest, gravest girl.

We found her this morning, curled and lifeless. After setting her into the freezer box, to wait until spring, we turned to Mist.

She’s never been without her sister before. She’s never been alone.

We’re not going to get another rat yet- first, we have their health to take care of. All three, two boys and one girl, are going into the vet. The boys will be fixed, and we’ll see about keeping the three together after that. For now, Mist will know the most lavish and spoiled lifestyle a rat could possibly dream of.

We’ll never forget Valentine, and I’ll never stop blaming myself for what happened… for not doing more… but I hope she knows she was beloved. We… I did my best by her. She’ll always been my heart.

Rest easy now, sweet angel.
Saint Valentine D’Eskwa
January 1st 2014 – March 19th 2015

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