by Stephanie Cameron
Stephanie Cameron is a volunteer with Rattie Ratz Rescue in the bay area of California. Each month KRL will be featuring a column from Rattie Ratz.
This month I’d like to introduce a beautiful love story between two rat brothers and their human mom. The goal of Rattie Ratz Rescue since its inception 22 years ago has always been – and continues to be – finding loving forever homes for domesticated rats, a very misunderstood pet. Many do not understand the attraction of having rats as pets, but for those who have experienced the captivating playfulness and amiable nature there is no other animal companion quite like a rat.
Michelle has been a long-time animal lover and in April 2020 she turned her attention to rats. She reached out to the rescue hoping to find a few friendly companions and adopted two senior boys, Edison and Einstein. Sadly, Einstein passed away after a few short months with Michelle and although she didn’t have him long, Einstein was able to spend his last golden months in a home of his own with a family who loved him. Knowing that Einstein was on borrowed time and in the hopes of keeping Edison active and happy, Michelle came back to the rescue and was luckily able to adopt two baby boys to help fill the void Einstein would soon leave behind.
The baby boys were part of a larger group surrendered to the rescue. Sadly, their previous owner left them behind when they moved out and their roommate contacted the rescue looking for help. The group was beautiful and friendly, certainly not what the volunteers were expecting from an abandonment case. Michelle adopted two of the baby boys in July 2020 and the rest is history.
The following is a heartwarming narrative eloquently written by Michelle herself as she describes her experience bringing home two young brothers and enfolding them into her family. Michelle’s love for all of her boys is evident in every sentence and reminds us volunteers exactly why we choose to commit our time and energy to rescue work:
This past July I had reached out to Rattie Ratz in hopes of finding the perfect pair of ratties to join our family as companions to my two older rescues. It just so happened that a litter of babies was going to be ready for adoption soon- fate at work! I had never cared for baby rats before, but after doing a lot of research about how to properly care for and nurture their needs I felt that I could be the right person to be their mama.
When I first went to pick them up from their foster family, I could not believe how adorably small they were as I had only ever cared for senior rats before. Little balls of fur with huge ears, wiggly tails, and smelling of buttered popcorn. I was in LOVE! Bowie was outgoing and bold from the moment we got home with a white stripe across his face that inspired us to name him after singing legend David Bowie.
Lennon was more of a thinker who took some time assessing who I was, and then showered me with tiny rattie kisses on my fingers. His gentle soul seemed fitting to be named after John Lennon.
I’m so thankful to their foster family for the time and intention that they put into socializing my babies before we brought them home. It was amazing to see how quickly they were able to trust me and interact with our family, and I attribute that to the fantastic fostering care they received!
The introductions to our older ratties went perfectly! It ended up being such a blessing having two young ones around to inspire my senior boys to keep moving. The babies had so much curiosity and energy that it became a bit of a hobby for our family to create mazes, obstacle courses, and puzzles to keep our little ones’ brains challenged. It was such fun seeing them interact with the environments we would set up for them, and great entertainment watching them chase each other around and being silly.
They’ve also provided us with plenty of stay-at-home activities as our family has remained very isolated for health and safety reasons during the pandemic. I’ve learned to sew hammocks for them, and I challenge myself to make foraging toys. I love designing enriching, beautiful cage setups and we’ve made wonderful friends in the rat community who we exchange rattie care packages with.
I truly love my boys so much, and they have given me so much love in return. Bowie runs to greet me every time I come near the cage, and Lennon is quick to settle in for a nap on my chest or ride my shoulder as I’m going about the house. Lennon also continues to be generous with his little licks- there are few things sweeter than tiny rattie kisses on your fingers!I have mostly appreciated how the boys have been able to ground me with their companionship and presence through a quite tumultuous year. Even when there are many things to feel anxious about, I truly feel an instant sense of calm when I am able to hold them and spend time with them. There is something special about rats- that there can be so much intelligence, compassion, tenderness, quirkiness and love packed into the smallest little creatures is such a wonder. I feel grateful that Rattie Ratz trusted me to be their mama and will always appreciate and cherish my time and journey with Bowie and Lennon.
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. You can also keep up with our pet articles by joining our KRL Facebook group. Advertise in KRL and 10% of your advertising fees can go to Rattie Ratz.