Oh Rats - a happy story. About a Downs Rat

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Star*, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    :full: So I go to the pet store to buy rat food - usually I make their food, but I wanted some extra stuff for my MAN-rat that is heading to the rainbow bridge. Rats live about 2 years sometimes 3 - both my girls have already crossed over and I miss them - terribly. Rats catch your tears in their little paws when you cry about your difficult child's and turn them into happy moments.

    And it's well established I'm an animal rights activist. I won't hold my tongue or my leash where an abused or mistreated critter is concerned - even crickets and spiders - catch and release.

    So there we are in the pet store - and I'm looking ONLY. A new litter of baby rats. I vowed after watching the last ones leave this earth no more - too attached and too painful.

    And then the clerk says "Oh you're the lady thats so good with animals." (DF just laughs) then said "Will you look at this little boy?" pulls down an aquarium with an older rat...And I did - thin, patches of hair missing, itching and jumpy. Mites. Awful buggers. She told me the owner dropped her off that morning stating the rat was EVIL as heck and they could sell him for snake food! AHHHH....nice. Nothing says you're loved like getting food in a dish one day and being someones food dish the next. The clerk told us that the girl handed her to them with gloves on and the rat was just crazy - they figured really it would be snake food as no one could hold it.

    It's mostly white with a black spot on it's back and head. And when she turned this rat around - it has the HUGEST ears you have ever seen. Floppy, dumbo ears. And now - I'm in love. Poor baby - the minute she handed me this little creature it was like it knew it would be okay. And it stopped struggling and fidgeting. THe evil comment had me a little worried - And the odd thing - Dumbos are said to have the same missing gene that Downs Syndrome kids do. THey have a broader head, flatter top - and their eyes are not so pronounced. THey even walk a little bit different to me.

    So I take - the boy rat home to live out his remaining days in luxury and as we are going out the door - DF notices the mister is a sister - so now L-O-L-A Lola (after the Stones song) is in a cage by herself but is the sweetest little thing. We gave her a smathering of cool whip and she ran down to my finger - tasted some and ran up and I got a kiss on the cheek. Incredible creature.

    And after a good bath and some good food? She isn't evil - she's adoratble.

    Just thought with all the sad stories here, despite the fact that it's about an adopted DS rat - it's still has a happy ending. And now - Lola sits here with me watching all of you!

  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Lola is very lucky to have you! How sweet that she stopped fidgeting right when you held her.
  3. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    OK, so I'm not a big rat person. Hamsters...sure. Rats? **SHUDDER**

    But even I had to say.........AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW
  4. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    That is so sweet. I'm such a sucker for animals. I don't even venture into pet stores. She is lucky to find you.

  5. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

  6. muttmeister

    muttmeister Well-Known Member

    I'm a arat lover here, too although I haven't had any for a couple of years. Your story makes me want some again. So glad she found you.
  7. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Our Cadence rat is a Dumbo rat, too. Very sociable, very friendly, and very smart. You and Lola are lucky you found each other.
  8. janie

    janie New Zealand

    Hi Star.
    What a lovely story :)
    I just KNOW that you were meant to be in that pet store today - and that Lola will have a very happy life (however long it may be) in your family. How lovely to think that Lola will receive love and peace now with you, compared to living with her previous owner.
    My family are rat fans too.
    The children have all left home now - but while they were growing up we had LOTS of pets.
    Ratties were particularly endearing..
    They are incredibly intelligent and affectionate pets.
    Some of them got tumours - and we would take them to the Vets for them to have surgery to remove the tumours so that they could have a longer, healthy life. My friends could NEVER understand that we would be spending money on "surgery for rats" ... they shuddered and would shake their heads. But the kids and I knew how precious our ratties were.
    Good on you Star .... you are an angel for animals. :)
  9. WhymeMom?

    WhymeMom? No real answers to life..

    I have never had a pet rat, but bet they are perceptive to the way they are treated. We had hamsters as kids and when you were attentive they were kind, if you ignored them they weren't happy. Great story and Lo lo lo lo Lola can feel your kindness in your touch......
  10. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    You and Lola found each other when each of you needed to.

    I'm glad you brought her home and she's now getting the love and affection she deserves.

    A very happy story. No matter what the creature.
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Just a trivial correction - "L-O-L-A Lola" was by The Kinks, not the Rolling Stones. They did some good music, very definitive of the late Sixties/early Seventies and I was a fan, back then. I suppose I still am, really. You should try and listen to "Ape Man" by The Kinks... very anti-establishment, anti-technology.

    Your rat sounds sweet. What are you going to use to clean up the mites?

    Also, if the rat has been uncomfortable with the mite infestation plus hair loss, etc - no wonder she seemed a little crazy. It would have been like a really bad, all-over case of nits.

    But the gloves her owner wore wouldn't have been necessary, unless they were to protect her from Lola biting. Lice are species-specific, they may bite another species - once - but can't live on you if they're rat lice. Or bird lice, or pig lice, or...

    Be aware if using insecticide - because lice aren't insects, a lot of insecticides won't kill them. The ones that could, might make Lola sick if she licks it off herself. If she'll take being handled you might be able to comb them off her with a fine tooth comb, then if you do this thoroughly every few days you should still be able to get rid of most, if not all of them. Do the grooming in a plastic tray with plenty of water handy to keep dipping the comb in. Maybe put some hair conditioner or a little detergent of some sort in the water to help trap the lice and also break the surface tension of the water (helps drown the lice, too).

    I hope Lola cooperates!

    Maybe if you can help her feel safe and to get fit and healthy, her own immune system will fight back.

  12. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    I could chatter about rats all day. Mine are litterbox trained - although Lola is learning which tells me she never was properly outfitted to begin with.

    I did not know what to use for the mites - I've never had the problem, so I used the same thing we use at the kennel for infested dogs - DAWN. Wet the animal, and pour it on thick and don't add too much water - it makes a suffocating (for mites and fleas) paste. Let sit about 5-8 minutes while you massage it in, between toes, under arms - etc. Then rinse.

    I did that and then used the cats flea comb - and magnifying glasses - Some people are using kitten Revolution -one drop - but I know my larger 2.5 pounder would eat it off the other rat - he eats EVERYTHING. That's Albert the Great. Looks more like a Prarie dog or a wood chuck than a rat.

    And the KINKS (slaps head) AHHHHHHHH okay. Got it Marg -thanks. I swear it was the Stones or there is a Stones version. Learn something new every day.

    -I'm hoping we worked all the "kinks" out of Lola -

    And to top off the say - when I got home from work - DF had found a click bug - OH they are really neat if you ever get a chance to show a child one - and they don't bite - (looks mean but aren't) and they are about as big as the last 2 joints of your index fingers with huge spots that look menacing like eyes - DF never saw one and was fascinated - so held it in a pill bottle with holes drilled in top for air - (had to chuckle)

    Glad to see there are other rattie lovers here - my only concern with Lola is that they like company - and are highly social but I am NOT looking for another female...NOT NOT NOT.
  13. 'Chelle

    'Chelle Active Member

    Goodness gracious, anyone would be evil if they itched from mites enough to lose hair. I believe that animals have that sixth sense that most people have lost, and they know the people who will love them. My sis is one of those, I have yet to see an animal that doesn't just love her, and of course she loves them back. It's like our cats, easy child sometimes plays with them in ways that make me shake my head, but they just sit there and go along with it. They run off when she's done, but while she's holding them and playing with them they put up with it. I take it that they know she's not doing things with malice and really does love them. While they love me, and will come to me for petting and to sit on me, if I carry them around when they want to go they let me know they want to go. easy child can carry them around and they just hang there with patience until she's done with them.

    Glad your Lola found a forever home with someone to care for her that will love her.
  14. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    DF calls me Noah - jokingly - lol

    I guess it's because I LOVE rain and animals!
  15. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Star, I'm not so much a ratty lover (to your extent) as someone experienced with rats among other animals. I quite like most animals and studied zoology and physiology back at uni, then for ten years had a job which involved animal handling. Now we live close to one of the two oldest national parks in the world and get visited by a lot of wildlife.

    If you love rain, you'd love Sydney at the moment - we've just had our 12th consecutive wet day, it's been 17 years since we had such a long wet streak.

    husband also studied similar stuff to me, loves animals but is not into pets. So apart from our chooks (hens) which we originally got for the eggs only now they're all geriatrics, the only animals here are the ones that visit regularly.

    difficult child 1 & girlfriend say they're never having kids, they'll have fur-babies instead. I suspect they'll have enough pets to make up for our lack.

    Enjoy your ratty snuggles.

  16. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Marg -

    On the days that it rains - I never get migraines - it has something to do with the pressure. (spare you the details).

    What kinds of animals do you get in your yard? My family is still using "Maybe the Dingo took your ?" when something is missing. We dont' have Dingo's here - but in SC we do have coyotes and the SC dog -similar looking to a Dingo.

    I would flip if I looked out of my window one coffee filled morning and saw a kangaroo or a wallaby - and a devil.

    Just continentally curious!
  17. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Apart from our chooks (domestic chickens are an introduced species, Gallus gallus) all we get are native to Australia, apart from the deer. These are Rusa deer imported from Java so the early colonialists could "ride to hounds". They also released foxes but haven't seen any of those for a long time. The deer - a couple of large herds wander through the village most nights. If we didn't have a front fence with gates we shut every night, we wouldn't have a garden. They wander right down into the heart of the village, near the shops and through the school.

    The yard is full of small skinks no more than a handspan from nose to tail tip. We get the occasional Blue-Tongued Lizard (aka Blue-Tongued Skink or Tiliqua scincoides). These can be quite big, about as long as from the tip of your middle finger to your elbow. They eat slugs and snails. And LOVE banana! Lots of frogs ( we hear them mostly, especially on these wet nights). Our pond has plenty of tadpoles.

    Birds - loads of birds. Amazing, noisy, wonderful, colourful. We have our pet budgie who we let out of her cage during the day, although we don't let her outside. They're native to Australia - budgerigars. But outside the house are hundreds (more?) Rainbow Lorikeets, very colourful and noisy. They're green, orange and purple with red beaks and love to play in water. They're also cheeky and even wild birds can be hand-fed.
    Other birds - in the parrot family we have two pest species here, the Galah (pink and grey, quite pretty if you're not a wheat farmer) and the Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo (also in thousands). The cockatoos eat timber houses. They can also strip a fruit tree in minutes. Between them, the lorikeets and the cockatoos stop us from ever harvesting any peaches or nectarines.
    Other parrots - the black cockatoo ("gang-gang cockatoo") which has a beak like garden shears and can bite through the cone of a Banksia serrata tree to get the seeds. Amazingly, they don't try to eat houses. The Eastern Rosella (haven't seen any here for years) and the Crimson Rosella (red and blue, absolutely beautiful) have been chased away by the lorikeets, I think.

    Other birds - crows, magpies, various honeyeaters, Eastern Blue Wrens (I nearly hit one in the car on Saturday). Kookaburras, of course. We have several flocks of them, they make a lot of noise round sunset and just after dawn. They are amazing to watch them hunt. If you're having a barbecue near kookaburras you have to watch the food closely or they'll steal it. So will magpies, but kookas can steal heavier pieces. They fly with it to a tree branch then holding it in their beak, slam it into the branch to kill it. Watching them do that with a searingly hot sausage is very funny, as long as you have more sausages.

    We have a pair of White-Breasted Sea Eagles which live somewhere on the clifftop to the south of us. And sometimes just inland we've seen a Wedge-Tailed Eagle, but there is a smaller hawk there too. Not many predators in our area which is a healthy sign.

    We occasionally get Fairy Penguins, other parts of Sydney have colonies but not in our area.

    Other animals - not many roos, sorry. We have no larger Macropods in our area at all. They're further away from Sydney. But we have a lot of Swamp Wallabies and Red-necked Wallabies (aka pademelons). Echidnas and wombats - yeah quite a few but we don't see them often. No koalas in our area at all, but one got tagged and released up near the highway. No emus here. Again, further out of Sydney.

    Other marsupials - loads of Brush-Tailed Possums (very cute, mostly welcome until they eat the roses). They also love banana. And mango. Ring-Tailed Possums are more scarce and more timid but we have them too. Just down the road there is a small colony of Pygmy Possums (very high cute factor). While a "brushie" is the size of a cat (and could beat one in a fight) the Pygmy Possums could curl up in the palm of your hand, or in a teacup. They have very big eyes and soft grey-brown fur. A bald tail, which is prehensile. They are nectar feeders, they love flowers especially waratahs.

    We get bandicoots, which are like large rats only they eat roots, grubs etc. They dig small holes which makes them unpopular with gardeners. They are now protected but when I was a kid and they were very common, people used to shoot them. A pity. Nobody does that these days.

    In the bay we get whales (when migrating) and dolphins. We've seen the occasional shark but nobody's been bitten by a shark anywhere near here in the 30 years we've lived here. Rays, eels, lots of fish, octopus (including blue-ringed octopus, which are only deadly if you really annoy them then hold them in your hand or on your arm so they can bite you). Lots of shellfish, hermit crabs (the kids pick these up by the dozen in summer). The dolphins follow the ferry, especially the school ferry. Or maybe the schookids are more observant.

    What we see every day - the small skinks. The deer. The lorikeets, cockatoos, magpies, galahs, crows, honeyeaters. Almost every day - add in the possums (brushies). Kookaburras. Gang-gang cockatoos. Everything else - occasionally. Most of the wallabies we see are road-kill.

    That's about all I can think of. husband may stick his nose in and mention any I've missed. It's a wonderful part of Sydney, here.

    In the centre of Sydney, you would see - no roos or wallabies. But lorikeets, cockatoos, galahs, magpies. Yes, maybe not as many. Lots of Grey-Headed Flying Foxes (fruit bats). They live in Sydney Botanic Gardens, next to the Opera House, and you see them rising up for their night flights, just on sunset. Like smoke. In the city you can still get brushies, especially near parks. They love to scavenge near houses and even a wild brushie can often be hand-fed. But if cats & dogs are around, they get very nervous.

    We love to see the reaction on the faces of friends who visit from overseas. One of the best things about living here is sharing it.

    The whole time I've been typing this I've been hearing the lorikeets outside. They're never silent, but they always seem to be on the move.

    If ever you visit, you will love the wildlife.

  18. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911


    You certainly know your animals and surroundings. OH I would just LOVE to see the bandicoots and the flying fruit bats - their eyes are so soulful. And the possum? I've actually raised (more or less) with intense ungratitude 3 orphaned opossum.

    Currently I've been setting up at night to try to capture our bat on film. We have a punk tree that he's made a home out of and has raised a family every year. He's a brown bat - just plain - but we have an intruder - a much larger bat this year also - he has about a 1' wingspan. Light pinkish brown...slower flying than our little brown bats.

    I had a blue tailed skink on my window sill the other day - about 9" long, and I have some other rather large lizard (forget the name) but he's copper colored with a red belly and he is not nice at all. The cat won't even mess with him - I believe his bite would leave a mark and require stitches.

    We have black widows, numerous snakes - although with the heat lately it's rare to see one. And occasionally if I'm up and very quiet - a deer or two through the woods in the back. Every now and then a coyote - and one lone silver fox - he used to get chicken from the old man at the end of the road every night -here comes the fox. the old man passed and we only see the fox on rare occasions.

    I've seen that octopus on tv that you were talking about - beautiful really - but deadly. And rock fish - wow - there's a critter I can do without. I could also do without fire ants - do you have those there? nasty buggers.

    Take care.
  19. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    OK I am a rat lover from childhood!!! Love them... kisses and all. Big fat rats on the shoulder!!!
    And this morning I have been.... chasing lizards. trying to catch one so the girls can hold one and look at all of it's features for a few minutes. I am not sure still of all of the species here in Tucson. We bought a really cool guide of plants, animals, etc.
    Sorry Star, I just can't love spiders... I try.
    But as far as everything else, huge defender... even caught a scorpion last trip and relocated it. Oh and a huge gopher snake, beautiful.
    I absolutely love the Javalinas that run through here!!!
  20. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Dear Skywalker -

    Leave the moose in Idaho - We don't have Javalinas - we have MONSTROUS size wild hogs. After I saw Hogzilla (which turned out to be HUGE just not as huge as reported) I don't think I want to go for a walk in the woods without truffles.

    -prefer mine in chocolate dove bar. lol