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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is going to be a long post for my most special girl Bijou. If just one person reads it, I will feel like her memory was passed on. I hope you don’t mind an essay about my little girl, she deserves so much more.

From the moment I saw her, I felt struck. I originally went to the shop to maybe find a 3[SUP]rd[/SUP] boy for my boyfriend’s group of 2 boys. I didn’t bother looking at the girls because there was no way we could really have a separate set up, and I knew I would have to adopt more than just 1 girl anyway, which we weren’t planning on doing. After not being too enamored with any of the boys I met, I looked around the rest of the place a little and suddenly saw Bijou. I had never seen a rat that looked like her, she was striking. I’ve never seen or even known anything about odd-eye rats, and I’ve never seen a “spotted” rat. She was very petite, and looked miserable. She was curled up in a ball in a 10gal fish tank while maybe 10 baby rats ran around her and on top of her. Some were even in a box, and would poke their head out, give her a big bite and yank, and then pull back inside the box to hide. She looked so miserable, but also like she was doing her best to ignore everything around her and just block it out. I opened that cage and she perked up and stood to look up and sniff. She right away climbed onto my arm. She must have felt I was rescuing her from these bratty children. She was immediately friendly and affectionate and I felt that I desperately needed to bring her home. I was then told that she was probably pregnant, and I could see that her tummy was pretty round. After some loves, I put her back in the tank thinking I really shouldn’t get her. 1 because she was a girl and we’d have to get a whole new cage set up. And 2, she was pregnant and would have up to maybe 14 babies. What would I do with the babies? How would I find them good homes? What if I couldn’t find them homes? And 3, she already looked like an adult, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to get a rat that was already grown. I left the shop and spent almost an hour debating with myself and agonizing about her while sitting outside. Eventually I decided “screw it! I NEED this rat, there’s something special about her” so I went back inside and took her home. Bijou’s “gotcha” day is July 12 2012, and I will never forget it.



I always loved that heart shaped mark on her. It almost looks like a heart exclamation point. So fitting <3





It was clear there was something very special about her. She was so sweet, but not at all clingy or scared. She very confidant and wanted to explore every new room she was in. She also seemed to learn her name Bijou and the command “come” within just a couple hours after being home, and would come running to me when I called her. I joined RatForum to gush about the gorgeous special little rat I just brought home and to ask advice on caring for babies since she would give birth soon. I was devastated when I was told about High Whites and Megacolon and panicked about what to do to care for such rats. I did as much research as possible just in case any of her babies ended up with MC. On July 17, 6 days later, she had her babies around 8 in the morning. She had 11. 1 was born already passed away, 2 were very small and deformed, and the rest seemed healthy. Again I panicked and came to the forum asking about the deformed babies and got a lot of interesting opinions and suggestions for these that seemed to have no feet and hands. The forum affectionately referred to them as the “potato babies” and I had a few people already asking to adopt them to care for their special needs if they made it. Unfortunately by day 2, the potato babies had both passed away. But the remaining 8 were doing great. 4 boys and 4 girls. By week 2, they started nibbling solid foods, and I discovered that 1 boy and 1 girl had megacolon. Thank you so much to this forum for telling me about High Whites and Megacolon. They almost definitely would have both died a painful death if I didn’t know what to recognize or how to care for it. Bijou did a great job being a mom, but also seemed to get sick of her children pretty quick and as they got older, she seemed desperate for break times to roam the bedroom alone. We ended up keeping 2 boys and 2 girls, and got the boys neutered and reintroduced them to the girl group, and they had been a happy family since.





I lost my heart rat Bijou on Saturday morning 8/22/2015. We’re guessing she was somewhere around 2 ½ years old. She was still energetic and full of life to the end. It seems so unfair. She could have easily made it to be a 3 year old. She had to be put to sleep. Some of you know she had a tumor in her genital area that we were afraid would start to block her ability to urinate and may eventually cause kidney failure and pain. The vets that initially saw her said it would be about 2-4 weeks before that might happen, but she was still going strong around 6 weeks later. We were on a road trip up to WA for my cousin’s wedding and I took Bijou, and Charlie and Mouse (MC babies) since they needed to be monitored or given medications or other treatments when necessary. We stopped at a motel in Grant’s Pass OR for the night. I woke up around 5:30 and heard a little odd noise. I got up to check on the babies, and saw that Bijou was open mouthed gasping for air. I quickly put the cage in the shower room with the hot water going so she could breathe steam and that seemed to help and she stopped gasping, but we took her to a vet about 30 minutes away after we packed up and checked out early. She had never had respiratory issues before, but she did always have a little lung scarring of some kind and would sometimes “snore” if sleeping in an odd position. This was very surprising to me.. I still wonder if it might have been because of the smoke from all the wildfires going on in the area..

I decided that she should be put to sleep because of the sudden respiratory distress and because I knew she wouldn’t have much more time left anyway because of the tumor, and I wouldn’t be able to jump to help her if anything like this happened again and we were away all day at a wedding. I felt sick, and terrible… I still do.. The vet and assistant were great though. The assistant also owns rats and knew what it was like to have to put a baby to sleep. They let me spend as much time with her after the examination that I needed, and then took her in back to be put anesthetized with gas. They brought her back after she was unconscious and I held her while they gave her the fatal injection, and a few seconds later she had passed. The most distinct thing I remember about her passing, and knowing that she passed, is that her one peachy pink eye slowly faded to a dull grey brown. They gave me again more time to say my good byes and left the room. I held her for a while and cried and pet her hoping so much that she didn’t feel any stress or pain before passing away. I let Charlie and Mouse sniff her, but I don’t think it was long enough yet for them to realize her body had passed away. I’m having her cremated and her remains are being mailed to me. I can’t wait to have her home again.

I feel so sad, sick, angry, and cheated. I miss her so much. I know she is gone, I was with her when she passed away, but I can’t help having this horrible feeling that I left her at the vet’s and she’s still there just waiting for me to come back to take her home. I feel so bad that she had to pass away 300 miles from home. There are so many more things I should have done or would have done if I had known that she was going to leave me that Saturday. Even if I had known just the night before, I would have done more.

I miss you so much, Bijou… I can’t begin to express how special you were to me, and how special you still are and will always be. I don’t think there will ever be another animal as unique as you and who I will share quite the same bond. You were unlike any other rat I’ve known. I hope that where ever you are, you are happily exploring around new fun things and being your adventurous little self, you were so happy to run around and explore everything around you. I will cherish our memories and hold close the ones where you would take little breaks from your fun out exploring to come find me wherever I was, find a comfy spot right next to me or on me, and take a little break to groom yourself and say hello for a few minutes, and then run off to continue your adventures. I loved that you wanted to always spend a little time with me. I will also never forget how I could open the top CN, rest my chin on the edge, and you would come snuggle up against my face and let me pet you and give you kisses, and you would press your furry little body to my cheek and give me kisses back all over my face. You were always so gentle and sweet. I also hope wherever you are someone is there to give you kisses and skritches and cuddles, and feeding you as much of your favorite nutrical as you can possibly eat. Thank you for the time you spent with me and for “telling” me to take you home that day, and thank you for the wonderful rat babies you had soon after. I know that once they realize you’re gone, they will miss you as much as I do. Thank you for always making me feel loved no matter what else was going on in my life. You have left a hole in my heart too big to ever be filled by anything else. Thank you, Bijou. I’m so sorry you’re gone and that you didn’t have more time to love life. I hope your passing was gentle. I miss you, and I love you more than anything. Good bye, my little baby.

 

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*sniffle*

I'm so sorry.

These threads always make me cry. Your story was very touching, and I really feel an ache in my heart for you! A friend once told me that nobody should cry alone. So. I cried a little with you/for Bijou.

You loved her, she loved you, and she had a wonderful life.
 

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Vita brevis, sed amor aeternum.

A heart rat is a double blessing... It's a blessing to share their lives with them, but now her memories and her love will also keep a special place in your heart warm for the rest of your life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks to you both.. She was very special and is deeply missed... Thanks for reading her little rainbow bridge post. I'd love to have written more and posted all the pictures and videos I have of her. :)

I accidentally typed the wrong year. Her "gotcha" day was in 2013, not 2012.
 

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Your story is one of those that is heart-wrenching and beautiful at the same time. It expresses all that rats are to us, in every sense. Bijou was one of a kind, and even though she's gone from your life, she'll never ever leave your heart. My baby girls are very special to me, special enough to have me in tears, even as I write this, after reading your story. But they are not my heart rats. Even if I don't quite understand the magnitude of your pain right now, we all recognize how hard this is... But, you saved Bijou as much as she saved you, and neither one of you will ever forget this beautiful ride you had together. A rat has a short life, but it seems like their passion is stronger to make up for what they could've missed. Your love with undoubtably transcend lifetimes.
 

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She was absolutely beautiful and sounds like she had a wonderful life thanks to you and the love you gave her, and I'm sure her last moments were filled with happiness, love and the best memories a cute little rattie could have. I'm so so sorry for your loss, but i can see how much you cared for her and thanks to that her memory will never ever be forgotten <3 R.I.P Bijou you beautiful creature <3
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It has been a month now since my little girl had to be put to sleep. I still feel it was too soon and was caused by having to take her on the road with us. I feel terribly guilty and I don't think I will ever feel otherwise. Even if she had just a week left, I feel crushed that that was taken away and I question my decision to have her pts almost everyday.. I know she probably would have had to have been put to sleep by now anyway, but it still feels too soon. Ratties live such short lives, I feel any day of potential happiness taken away is a pretty big deal. If it wasn't for that tumor, and the smoke from the numerous wildfires, I think she would definitely still be alive and live many more months. She might have even reached 3 years old, she was so full of life. One of her daughters has the same colorations as Bijou. White with beige patches in similar spots, and odd eyes. She has an entirely different face and body than Bijou had, but sometimes if I look quick enough or she is sitting or moving a certain way, my brain will flash register her as Bijou and it feels a little nice to "see" Bijou again sometimes, but also is a sad reminder.

While still out of state, I grieved for her and had a few very big crys where my chest just ached and felt hollow. When we got back home, I still felt very sad but was the type of sad where you feel more kind of numb. I didn't cry and didn't feel like crying. Just felt sad, but not emotional. But the last couple days I've suddenly been grieving again. I'm not sure what's triggered it, but I'm feeling horrible. Maybe it was the stress of moving (moving out of the last home Bijou lived in) this weekend plus the fact that it's been 1 month, but I'm feeling as terrible as I did after she was pts and my nose and eyes feel raw from having big long crys again.. I've looked through all the pictures I've taken of her for the 2 years and 1 month she was in my life. I wish I took more. I feel happy to see those and remember each picture and the events surrounding it, and even happier to see videos and her being her happy self, exploring a room, coming when I call her name, kissing my hand, pea fishing, snuggling or grooming her children etc, but it's also crushing me and I know I'm torturing myself for no good reason. I wish I could celebrate her life and be happy that I was able to share in it and give her good care, but I can't yet get over feeling sorry for myself and the loss of her from my life. I'm hoping the crys are behind me because those are not at all fun, but I'm still feeling awful thinking about the days left she could have enjoyed if it wasn't for certain issues, and thinking about how bad I feel for my own loss and how much I miss her and will never be with her again. I don't feel like she's passed away, I just feel like she's missing and I want her back. She's the only pet I've had creamated (mainly because we were on the road and there was no way I could leave her 300 miles away from me) but she was also so special that I feel it was justified. I would like to eventually maybe lay her to rest but I don't know where yet I can bury her where I will feel her remains will be safe. I'm also very nervous about if what's in this sealed little wood box is actually HER and not just any ashes (because really how could anyone know who or what is in there?). For now though, she is sitting on the top of the DCN where her 4 children still live.

I've never felt this terrible about losing a pet before. I've had rats before, and have had very special rats, but none close to Bijou. I've had many other pets of various species who I've had great relationships with who I also mourned, but again, none like her. This may sound completely crazy, but I feel worse now and am grieving more than when I've lost some close human family members I think (and I do feel a little bad for saying that). I really think there are many different types of relationships where one can have a soul mate (not just romantic partners) and I believe Bijou was my soul mate (again, probably a little crazy sounding to some, I know). It's just terrible how short ratties live for and how little most people can understand that rats can be wonderful companions, so there isn't as much symathy or understanding as when someone loses say, a dog.

I saw someone had a post already about how to deal with the loss of their rat. I didn't want to hijack your thread and turn it into my issue, but I'm feeling the same way. I was also considering posting this in the rants and raves section sicne it's purely emotional venting. I'll probably be embarassed about posting this later on because it's so emotional and obsessive sounding, but I'm feeling pretty awful now and am hoping maybe for advice to get over this sudden relapsed mourning... I just miss her so badly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
And thank you so much to everyone for your sympathies and for taking the time to read my little memorial post. She is truly missed.
 

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There's nothing I can say to make it feel better... But things happen the way they do because they just have to... And you can play "what if?" for the rest of your life and never get an answer.

During World War 2, my dad moved heaven **** and earth to get his wife and new born baby girl (my half sister) onto a rescue ship. He couldn't go... but that very night the Wilhelm Gustloff was torpedoed and 10,000 people were drowned in the freezing waters or the North Sea including his wife and daughter... Imagine how that must have felt. But in the end, he was trying to do everything he could to save his wife and his tiny baby girl... it just didn't work out. No one knows what would have happened if he failed to get them on the ship. Would they have survived the war? And if so, I never would have been born.

You did what you felt was right, there's no sense second guessing yourself. We can't see the future and we can't change our bets once the next card is dealt.

I don't think my dad ever got over the loss of his family, I'm not sure anyone really should get over the loss of someone they love. But he came to terms with it and lived to 91 years old, outliving his second wife (my mom) and almost all of his friends. Shortly before his first wife drowned he had an oil painting done of her... it still hangs in his house... the reminder of a life that might have been, but for one decision that went terribly wrong. Somehow you just have to believe that things happen for a reason and those of us left behind are the lucky ones that get to cherish the memories and the love lingering in our hearts.

It's been a couple of years since the truly amazing Fuzzy Rat crossed the rainbow bridge, but we still think of her every day, her antics come to mind when I answer people's posts and I still tell her stories and post her pics to clarify my comments and immersion was developed in partnership with her. All of our rats since have benefited from lessons learned from Fuzzy Rat. I still miss her and I'll always miss her, but I'm grateful for the time we had together... Sometimes I wonder if surgery might have extended her life, but in the end I think it might have just made things worse... her life was and her memory is a blessing, there's no reason for guilt about taking the path not chosen.

You did the best you could at the time, let go of the guilt and focus on the love and the memories and sooner or later you will realize just how lucky you are to have known Bijou.... The pain doesn't necessarily go away, it sort of becomes a part of you, and it gets easier to live with in time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Rat Daddy. Whenever I focus on the good memories, I just end up feeling sad that they're over, but I'm hoping that will change in time. I remember joining the forum shorty before Fuzzy Rat passed and reading posts about her, and still reading posts where you mention her 2 years later and I think it's great that she was so special to you too.

I'm feeling a little better today, I think typing out my feelings helped, but I'm still very sad since today is the 1 month date from when she was put to sleep the morning of 8/22. I don't think I'll ever get over the pain of her missing, but I'm hoping at least it will become easier to deal with and I won't have any more of these painful random emotional erupions.
 

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Finnebon, It's OK to miss Bijou and it's OK to cry when you need to... That's both normal and healthy. And most of all heart break is part of being human. People that don't feel aren't really alive and if missing someone doesn't hurt, you didn't love them in the first place.

Everything Bijou gave you was a gift.... even the pain... in time pain becomes bitter-sweet and the bitter fades and even the pain will sweeten...

Don't ever feel guilty about what you can't change or might have done differently in hindsight, but don't worry about feeling sad or alone or writing about it... We have all lost rats... or rather dear friends and we understand.
 

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What a special rattie! She was so beautiful! Thank you for rescuing her from that awful place and giving her and her babies loving homes. You also did the right thing by her by saving her from unnecessary suffering. Lovely Bijou!
 

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I am so sorry about Bijou, I lost my heart rat 9/11 and still have not been brave enough (I think it's very brave to get this all down, you did an amazing job writing for her) to make a post, I don't want to accept her passing, it really feels like a crater in my heart. You did what was right, and when her passing isn't so fresh you will come to see that. I'm sure some of here cute quirks and personality live on in her babies <3 Rest Easy Bijou
 
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