Of Rats and Men, a small rant

I am sure by now everyone has heard about the 10 year old little boy who died from a disease that he apparently got from his pet rat. It is well known among my circle of friends that I am a rat owner and that yes I am a mother and of course people were posting the link to the story on my facebook wall and also sending it to me via pm and via email. I started to wonder if I should simply do a copy and paste response or just continue to say that they have nothing to worry about when it comes to my girls. I made the huge mistake of reading the comments on the article and needless to say I don’t really want to be on this planet anymore.

As I posted yesterday I had to take Polly to the vet. Turns out little girl is quite ill. I now have her in quarantine and she is on three different medications. Two are combined, one is for an inner ear infection and the other is for a possible URI. The second medication is for pin worms. The way we discovered the worms was enough to make the vet tech gasp in horror and for me to say “What the…”…basically she was struggling against her first dose of antibiotics and suddenly passed a large wiggling mass of worms. The tech had never seen that happen and neither had the vet. I never want to see that again. Last night was very touch and go with her and she slept in her soft sided carrier in our bed between my husband and I. Every couple of hours I would give her water out of a flat syringe and cuddle her. At 3:30 am she received her next dose of antibiotics and today she seemed much better. Right now I have her in a 10 gallon tank on the headboard and she is now drinking on her own as well as eating! YAY POLLY!

Now some of the crap I received for this is ridiculous. “She’s just a rat you know”….yes she is a rat. She’s a living creature that I chose to take responsibility for. She depends on me to feed her, protect her and to make sure that when she is ill she is taken care of. There is no way I was going to let her suffer and die simply because of her species. When I look at her I don’t simply see a possession or an animal with no soul or spirit. I see both, I see another being that needs love and attention. And yes I know snakes have to eat, I am not unaware of the food chain. When someone says rats are filthy nasty animals and make horrible companions I offer them to visit my home and to interact with my girls and then to tell me those same things about them. Watch them use their little box and then neatly eat their yogurt. Watch as they try to get your attention so you’ll play with them. Watch as they problem solve a toy stuck in a maze. Don’t tell me Polly is “just a rat”. She is a member of our family just like my cats and kids are. If you aren’t willing to accept the responsibilities that come with being with having an animal depend on you, don’t welcome one into your home like that. They aren’t part time members, you are responsible for their every single need. Learn their body language, their likes and dislikes. When you do that you will be able to know when something is wrong much sooner.

End of my rant.

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