by Alyssa Nader
Alyssa Nader is a volunteer with Rattie Ratz Rescue in the bay area of California. Each month KRL will be featuring at least one animal rescue adventure story, and every other month there will be one from Rattie Ratz.
Patrick was a lab rat, rescued in a group of 53 rats from a biomedical facility. All that the Rattie Ratz volunteers were told about his time there is that he “ran mazes.” Despite his rough beginning, Patrick found a loving home, became the “gentle giant” that he is today and even met his soulmate, thanks to the love and effort of many volunteers.
It may make us sad to imagine an animal that we know is so capable of love and affection living as a test subject, but what comes after is usually no better. Most labs euthanize all the animals used in their experiments once research is completed. Fortunately, organizations such as New Life Animal Sanctuary (who rescued Patrick and his many companions) are working to change this by rescuing and rehabilitating animals used for testing so that they be “retired” to loving, comfortable homes, rather than be “sacrificed” after their use at the lab is done.
After healing from his neuter, Patrick was flown with fifteen male rats from Southern California to the Bay Area via a tiny private plane, courtesy of another amazing organization, Pilots N Paws. Once the boys arrived in Northern California, they were driven to their respective destinations. In Patrick’s case, this ended up being our volunteer’s workplace! He spent a nervous afternoon under her desk until it was time to go home.
The first thing our volunteer noticed about Patrick was that he was really big, weighing nearly two pounds! Because he grew up in a lab, in what was likely isolation, Patrick was not used to any type of affection and was very scared and anxious at first. For the first month, he screamed whenever he was picked up. He gradually learned to trust both people and other rats, when he was placed with a group of females, an arrangement that Patrick liked. Unfortunately, one of the girls started to bully Patrick and things had to be rearranged.
Through this, Patrick met his soulmate, Kira. Patrick was placed with her since she was also living solo and he immediately found a best friend and constant cuddle companion. Patrick loved Kira. He would try to squeeze as much of his huge self into wherever Kira went, even if he didn’t quite fit; he just wanted to be near. Patrick and Kira enjoyed their wonderful connection until Kira, who was much older than Patrick, passed away.
Even without his love, Patrick would be alright. Since he arrived, he made a wonderful transformation from being terrified and unable to connect with others, to being relaxed, cuddly and lovable. He got along beautifully with any group he was placed in and often became a big pillow for the girls to lay on, when he wasn’t sleeping in questionable positions himself!
As it goes with rats, Patrick is now in his sunset years. He has old man fur and has lost some weight, so he’s not quite the big pillow he used to be, but he’s still enjoying life, lots of naps, and his treats. Despite it’s tough start, Patrick’s life has been full of friendship, freedom, lounging, and love.
Rattie Ratz is an all-volunteer organization whose mission is to help all domesticated ratties who come to us find a loving, forever home. To see more pictures of Patrick and many other adorable rats from one of our Rattie Ratz volunteers, visit www.darlingrats.net.
Rattie Ratz: Rescue, Resource, & Referral
Click here to email us at: info@rattieratz[dot]com
Call us at: (415) 340-1896
If you would like to know more about Rattie Ratz Rescue you can visit their Facebook page. If you are interested in adoptable rats or volunteering for Rattie Ratz Rescue you can visit their website: www.rattieratz.com.
Check out more animal rescue stories in our Pet Perspective section & watch for more stories from Rattie Ratz every other month. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to Rattie Ratz.