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.
Bitey was one of my first rats, along with his brother, Pablo. Pablo passed away last year, and I wrote about Bitey’s journey in finding new friends in Disco and Biscuit, who I adopted from Rattie Ratz.
Bitey was with Pablo when he crossed over the rainbow bridge after only a year with us. Pablo’s passing was heartbreaking. There is always a silver lining even to the saddest times, and that was us getting to know Bitey better. Bitey truly came into his own and became famous at my work, where he was brought on part-time as an office rat but made a full-time impact in giving many of my coworkers their first experience with rats. I more often than not spent ten or more hours of the day with him. He made tons of friends walking around San Francisco on my shoulder, and he became a total fashion icon in his photos.
Bitey’s second birthday was coming up and he was doing well, but I got a little too excited. I planned a party for him at my home, as well as one at the office. A week before his birthday, I went on vacation to New Mexico with friends and Bitey stayed home with my sister; I kissed him goodbye. A few days into my trip, I got a terrible call. Bitey was very ill and needed to go to the vet. I listened on speakerphone as the vet told my sister that Bitey had a large, inoperable tumor and would need to be put to sleep.
I couldn’t deal with the idea of never seeing Bitey again. Thinking of my sister being alone with him during this time was also terrible. I rushed home as quickly as I could, taking an hour-long Lyft to the airport on the first flight out. As hard as I tried, the distance was long, and my flights were delayed. Bitey died an hour before I got home.
I had a week to plan and prepare for Pablo’s passing, but this was so sudden. We spent the night with Bitey to say goodbye, and had friends join us in the morning. We had a beautiful funeral together, where we nestled Bitey with flowers and shared cookies with him, a little bite of each kind, just how he liked. We buried Bitey next to his brother; they were together again. The house was emptier than it was before.
Soon after, I got a text from a Rattie Ratz volunteer. They were picking up a large number of rats from a shelter in Santa Barbara and needed to make room for them. I usually help Rattie Ratz by writing articles like these, and transporting rats or supplies in my car, the “Ratmobile”, but they asked if I could foster some rats, something I’d never done and was nervous about doing since I was hurting so much. Bitey’s empty cage stared back at me; I decided to go for it.
I went to pick up two girls from another volunteer’s house. A black and white Dumbo named Fantasia came right up to me and clung to my chest. Her sister was a cute little Siamese who was also friendly. I fostered them…for about three minutes, after which I adopted them. Lucky for me, they didn’t have an adopter yet. I renamed the Siamese rat Eunice, after a dear friend’s grandmother.
The girls get along with Disco and Biscuit. Getting to know them has comforted me greatly in Bitey’s passing. They’re also starting to get famous at the office, although Bitey is a hard act to follow. I’m glad I opened my heart and tried something new by fostering for Rattie Ratz, even though it turns out that I can’t foster cute rats for more than three minutes without crying my eyes out and adopting them.
As many of us know, losing a beloved rat is hard. The hole they leave behind is so much bigger than their tiny body. Being able to lean on the wonderful community of volunteers at Rattie Ratz has made all the difference to me and my ratties. There are many reasons to adopt but supporting and being supported by the love and care of this community is one of the best ones.
Rattie Ratz is an all-volunteer organization whose mission is to help all domesticated ratties who come to us find a loving, forever home.
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.