Just a Rat Rescue and Sanctuary

Jun 14, 2014 | 2014 Articles, Diana Hockley, Rodent Ramblings

by Diana Hockley

KRL enjoys featuring the many rat rescues around the county. This month we are chatting with Just A Rat Rescue and Sanctuary in Texas.

KRL: Rescuing animals is a labor of love and total dedication. What was the catalyst for the creation of Just a Rat Rescue and Sanctuary?

JARRS: Late in 1997 as a first time rat owner Christine sought out other pet rat enthusiasts within Texas and more specifically in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. In 1998, she joined the Rat Fan Club (RFC) and the Rat and Mouse Club of America (RMCA). Shortly after joining these clubs, Debbie with RFC contacted Christine as the Dallas Morning News wanted to interview a local pet rat owner for an article (this would be the first of three articles Christine was interviewed for and the newspaper ran). Through this article and her club memberships, she met other local pet rat owners and they decided to form the Rat Association of Texas (RAT). rat

For many years, Christine unofficially operated a rescue in connection with RAT; really more of a sanctuary as she took many rats in but rarely adopted them out except to close friends and members of RAT. Until 2010 Christine’s individual rescue efforts and support also extended to the various other rat rescues we’ve had in Texas. For various reasons the other Texas rat rescues had to close their doors so after her separation & divorce in 2010, she decided to make the rescue official naming it Just A Rat Rescue and Sanctuary (JARRS).

In September 2013, a kind hearted dog rescuer took in over 50 rats and mice when they were abandoned by their previous owners. In dire need of assistance, she contacted Christine as Co-Founder of RAT, and JARRS along with Central Texas Rat Rescue (CTRR), took in all the rats and mice. This event was the catalyst for Jenni McGary to join JARRS as Rescue Coordinator as she saw the great need to find rats like these loving homes within our community and not just within the membership of RAT.

KRL: What sort of set-up do you have – is it a private house or a purpose-built complex?

JARRS: All the sanctuary rats live in Christine’s personal residence along with any pregnant or nursing momma rats and their ratlets until they are old enough to be adopted. Female rats available for adoption live with Jenni and males rats available for adoption live with our foster, Mina. We prefer a foster setting so that all rats can be treated as members of our pet family. This allows for better personality assessment & socialization.rat

KRL: Where do you mainly rescue the rats from? How many can you accommodate?

JARRS: The majority of our rescue rats come from individuals who can no longer keep them for whatever reason. Every once in a while a Dallas/Fort Worth area shelter will contact us when they take in rats as most area shelters are not properly equipped to care for pocket pets such as rats. At any given time, JARRS has usually around 60 rats. Many of these are in sanctuary. About 15-25 rats are typically available for adoption.

KRL: Are rats popular pets in your area?

JARRS: Yes, they are and seem to continue to grow in popularity.

KRL: Do you have many foster caregivers for your ratties?

JARRS: Jenni and Christine are the primary caregivers for the rats within JARRS. We currently have one foster home and are seeking more. We are especially seeking quarantine fosters to house new intakes for the first three weeks.

KRL: How do the local community regard your activities and are they supportive in adoption and/or monetary terms?

JARRS: We find the local community very receptive to our activities. It has been very beneficial to be aligned with the Rat Association of Texas. With Jenni taking on the responsibility of Rescue Coordinator, we are gaining further exposure with our Petfinder & Adopt-a-Pet listings, as well as our Facebook page. Donations and supportive purchases from our community is what keeps JARRS moving forward. We are so grateful to the many people who support us & allow us to provide this service.rat

KRL: Do you have many volunteers and how do you recruit them?

JARRS: Again, members from RAT are always happy to assist us when we need help including, but not limited to, cage cleaning, transportation and monetary/supply donations. We are continually seeking volunteers by posting needed help both on the Rat Association of Texas and our JARRS Facebook page.

KRL: Do you receive a discount or help from the local vets?

JARRS: We do receive discounts and help from local vets. They understand the importance of our efforts and that we operate on a very limited budget.

KRL: Rescues depend on donations from the public – do you charge a small fee for your animals when they are adopted? And do you have Paypal and credit card facilities and are you an accredited charity?

JARRS: We do charge an adoption fee of $15 per rat. Adopters have the option to pay through PayPal by either using an account or any debit/credit card. They may also use cash. At this time, we do not have 501 status. We haven’t felt our size and needs required pursuing it thus far. However, as we continue to grow at a steady pace, it is not out of the question for the future.

KRL: Do you have a distribution network for adopted rats?

JARRS: A majority of our adopters are local to the DFW metro and come in person to receive their rats. If anyone from out of area would like to adopt, we do our best to make transportation arrangements. A popular form is something we call a “rat train”. Many members of the Texas rat community (and beyond) are very willing to help form a chain of transportation contacts in order to get rats to great new homes. We’re a very dedicated type of people and it’s amazing to see how we all come together in order for the good of the pets.

KRL: Have you any fundraising events coming up and would you like to give the details?

JARRS: At this time, there are no events currently planned. As we grow in demand & needs, it is likely we will host some. Other than donations of cash or supplies, people can also purchase home-sewn cage accessories, high quality food, & homemade treat mix from our fundraising site Spoiled Bratz on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Sp.BRatz).rat

KRL: Tell us about your own pet rats, their names and how many.

JARRS: Christine currently has 50 rats in her care and all of them are named. She does not differentiate between personal pets and sanctuary rats – they are all hers to be loved and cared for until they cross the Rainbow Bridge. Jenni had 10 rats before becoming Rescue Coordinator. Since then, she has added five permanent residents and fosters 10 additional adoptable rats. All rats fostered in any JARRS home are treated just as the permanent pets: clean/spacious homes, toys, plenty of food & water, hammocks….and of course lots of spoiling!

KRL: What are your website URL and FB and Twitter details?


KRL: Is there anything you would like to add?

JARRS: We do pet rat rescue and all that we can for the pet rats and their humans that cross our paths because ALL life is precious. With a state as big as Texas, we are very grateful for the other two known pet rat rescues helping pet rats across Texas – Central Texas Rat Rescue (CTRR) based in Austin and Little Squeaks Rat Rescue (LSRR) based in Corpus Christi.

A fun side note, Christine and Jenni were both born in years of the rat.

Check out more rat rescue profiles & other pet rat related articles and stories in our Rodent Ramblings section.

Diana Hockley is an Australian mystery author who lives in a southeast Queensland country town. She is the devoted slave of five ratties & usually finds an excuse to mention them in her writing, including her recent novel, The Naked Room. Since retiring from running a traveling mouse circus for 10 years, she is now the mouse judge for the Queensland Rat & Mouse Club shows. To learn more, check out her website.


  1. It’s always a pleasure to hear about another rat rescue. Keep up the good work!

  2. I have found that rats make remarkable pets. I miss mine dearly. But until I retire, I won’t have any more. It’s simply too hard to lose them after only two or three years. Plus, we’ve a dog and four cats. And believe me! They are quite enough. Still, though, I miss my ratties!

  3. Hi I am close to corpus and have taken in a 4 day baby wild rat. I need help! Please call 361-790-6339


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