by Tiger Lilly
How does one describe a rat?
Well, our rat was a fancy rat. While she did have many of the above ‘qualities’, there was something else about her, too. She was social, she was friendly, she had a very annoying tendency to try and burrow between you back and the cushions of the couch. She would eat absolutely ANYTHING you gave her (unlike some other people in this family), and even more, she would leap upon the bars of the cage as you passed by, expecting something delicious or some affection.
We got Sly in early March of 2009. She was the only pet we’ve ever paid for, but undoubtedly the best $10 ever spent. She was a bit of a surprise to Dad, a bit of an ‘on a whim’ purchase. We selected her out of the four that were in the cage at PetSmart, mainly because she was the first one to get into our hands. Her personality soon made us sure we had picked the right rat for our house, and we christened her Sly. As you’ve seen on a few posts here, she had a fun-loving snarkiness about her, she fit right in.
She snuck out of her cage late at night one time. It was, inconveniently, the night before we had to leave for Grandma’s house. MD was unable to join us for that trip, and promised to keep an eye out for her. Well, 3 AM the next morning MD heard the little pitter-patter of feet. How she heard that in her sleep, I’ll never know (it’s those ninja genes), but lo and behold, Sly had made her way into MD’s bedroom. She was constantly getting into things, chewing (and peeing) on everything she could.
She didn’t only affect our lives, either. Our neighbor, Jack, was quite taken with her as well. She had that effect on a lot of people.
Over the past few months, she began to develop… something. A tumor, from the looks of it. We didn’t know what it was at first, but once it became apparent we tried many things. Prayer, foods, even putting hydrogen in her water. It eventually became so large that she could not walk.
Despite our best efforts, our brave little furball gave up the ghost late last night/early this morning.
Mom and I had just cleaned her cage and given her a bath and some TLC three hours before MD and Son@Night got back from Arizona (about midnight). I was up to make sure they could get inside, then headed off to bed. 15 minutes later, MD knocked on my door.
“When was the last time you checked on Sly baby?”
“A few hours ago…”
It didn’t seem quite real at first, as I headed downstairs to make sure MD wasn’t hallucinating. Sure enough, Sly was lying still in the corner of her cage.
She was a little over 2 years old, less than halfway for a normal rat lifespan. Tumors, apparently, are common in rats, so the worst was at the very least known about.
What can be said is that she had a better life than most rats in the world. She was loved and will be greatly missed.
RIP, Sly baby.