by Rebecca McLeod
Enjoy this fun story from the perspective of a rat by Rebecca McLeod.
As the clock strikes seven, the crowd quiets and takes to their seats. It is a busy night, with only a couple chairs empty and the coffee pot is already half-drained. A portly male in a white and black polka dot outfit waddles up to the podium, clears his throat and begins.
“Good evenin,’ everyone. Mah name is 101 Spots but you can call me Spotty Boy like mah mother does.”
“Hi, Spotty Boy,” murmurs the crowd politely.
“Ah am an eleven-month-old male rat and ah am neutered.”
A partially deaf agouti buck in the front strains his ears. “Wut?”
His son leans in. “He’s snipped, Dad! Snipped!”
Spotty Boy nods solemnly. “Ah got snipped a month ago and ah am here today to tell you that ah am a better rat for it.”
The bucks squirm uncomfortably, checking to make sure their own bits are all still attached.
“Ah used to be a real bully, picking on mah cage mates all the time. Have any of you ever bit someone just ‘cause you could?”
Most of the room nods sheepishly.
“You wake up in a bad mood and you decide that your little brother needs to be barbered?”
A PEW blushes and leans back against his folding chair to hide a bald spot on his coat. His seatmate pats his shoulder sympathetically.
“We’ve all suffered because of hormones telling us to do crazy things. You ever get kicked off your owner’s lap ‘cause you peed to mark your territory?”
The shy PEW bursts into tears.
“I can’t control it!” he sobs, “I didn’t mean to use the full tank but it happened and now I hardly ever get out time!”
Spotty Boy nods sagely. “We’ve all been there, son. Cry it out. Fellas, I think he could use some friendly grooming—we all support each other here.”
The three nearest bucks begin gently grooming the emotional little male.
“It doesn’t have to be like this. You don’t have to suffer any more without hope.”
“Does it cost a lot to get snipped?’ asked a male, hope shining in his ruby eyes.
“Nope, ah got snipped for about a hundred dollars.”
“Does it hurt?” tearfully asks the little PEW, sniffling as he wipes his eyes.
“Nope, the vet does it while you’re asleep. You go to sleep, you wake up and you’re all done. See? Not even a scar,” he says proudly, turning to show them.
“And you’re saying that you really became nicer after you got snipped?” skeptically inquires a black Berkshire, “Right now my owner says that I’ve got mood swings like a menopausal doe. Last week I bit a hole through my cage buddy’s ear!”
Everyone in the room edges away from the Berkshire, guarding their ears.
“Fella—what’s your name?”
“Cujo. My first name was Buddy but after my owner had me for a while he changed it ‘cause he said it suited me better.”
Spotty Boy chuckles.
“Well, Cujo, get snipped and there’s a good chance you’ll go back to being Buddy again. Ah used to bite my dad’s tail, make my little brother cry, and even scratch my owner if she smelled like another buck. Ah had no self-control and when ah look back on it now ah can safely tell you it was no way to live.”
“What about the does? Do they still like snipped bucks?” inquires a Merle.
Spotty grins. “We’re all rats of the world here, am ah right?”
“What’s more fun: three seconds of joy followed by twelve babies, or practicing over and over without worrying about babies?”
“I want the snip!!” yells the half-deaf agouti in the front. His cry is quickly echoed by the others.
“Gentlemen, ah think our meeting has come to a close. There’s Yogis out on the dessert table; grab one and stay and chat. If any of you need a good vet recommendation, ah know a couple in the city.”
The meeting is adjourned but the room has been rented until ten. They stay and chat, munching Yogis and drinking coffee and dreaming of a new way of life.