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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It says I'm a pink eeper and that other people are fuzzy lap rats or moderators. Mods are self explanatory, but is your status determined solely by how much you post? Do certain people have credentials leading to their status? Basically I just want to know how qualified different people are to give me advice. Thanks!
 

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Your label, whether it be pink eeper or squishy lap rat, doesn't make you any more or less qualified to give out advice. The labels are just related to how many posts you've made.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you! And also I think I posted this in the wrong place can a moderator please move it or delete it?
 

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I might suggest that someone with more posts is easier to check back on. You can see the kinds of remarks they have made and advise they have given in the past and perhaps how some of their advise has helped other people or not helped other people. And you can get a feel for their area of expertise.

A brand new member might be spot on correct and have an extensive background in their field of expertise, it's just harder to tell if their an enthusiastic newbie repeating something they have heard somewhere or if they have personal experience.

Once you are around for a while, you will more or less find people who will be the most helpful to you based on your needs and rat raising style. Remember there are often different ways to do the same thing so it's not always a matter of right and wrong, sometimes it comes down to who's advise addresses your issues best within your means and particular goals.

Lastly, the benefit of an active board like Rat Forum is that other people are reading the same thread and if someone's comments or advise are really off base, someone else with expertise might challenge it and give you another point of view... So, not everything you read on the internet is gospel, but the really inappropriate comments have a way of getting flagged by the community.

Best luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you Rat Daddy! I've actually been reading a lot of post you've commented on and you seem to know a lot about behavior. I was wondering how you learned so much about it and if you've only had rats as personal pets or if you've ever fostered or bred or something. And it makes me happy that there are people like you who care enough to help out the guy with the wood rat and other rat owners :) I don't know how people survived before forums like these. Happy holidays!
 

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Happy holidays,

Well when it comes to animals, I've lived on a farm. grew up in the woods and have kept lots of different animals birds and fish including at least one species that's extinct in the wild. I've successfully bred mostly very exotic fish including the extinct pup fish... well not actually successfully enough... that's of course aside from the more common dogs and seeing eye dog drop out... And I was a Rutgers Psychology major, but really nothing fully prepared me for rats or rather one very remarkable rat.

I bought a $2.49 feeder bin rat pup for my daughter that grew up to become the amazing Fuzzy Rat. She was every bit the puppy my daughter needed and wanted, she chased kids around the park and swam in the lake and entertained handicapped children and overall did things few rats would ever attempt. But most of all she was communicative from the start, she kept reaching out trying to be understood... and she was a very determined rat.

I suppose after a lifetime of raising and keeping animals I didn't expect too much from a little rodent, but she kept proving that there was literally nothing she wouldn't try or do. She could spend the night at a party coaxing drinks from my guests and finishing what was left at the bottom of the shot glasses and sucking up spilled beer and about the last thing I would recall would be her preening the guests that had passed out... Literally she would still be going strong when everyone else was out cold. And by the way, a rat with a hangover is not a happy camper....

In any case, I made a decision early on with Fuzzy Rat to pretty much let her evolve naturally and give her as much freedom as was safe for a rat, and perhaps even a bit more... And I learned a great deal from her, I learned that rats see us as like themselves or perhaps themselves as like us, that they have emotions and they have understanding more than just basic intelligence. And that some rats, like some humans are driven by curiosity and a spirit of adventure and a desire to be better and improve themselves if not just to live a full and rich life. If I put her in a tree, for sure she would climb it to the top and sway in the breeze before coming back down.

My experiences with that one of a kind remarkable animal formed the basis of immersion theory. Although we've had other rats, none like Fuzzy Rat, I realized that all rats want to belong to a family (pack) and that family could contain human and rat members and that relationships could be built through bi-directional communication and understanding. Basically, rats minds work a whole lot like ours... they are kind of the I-pad version of our PC minds. They process the world pretty much just like we do, with a slightly more limited capacity...

It was particularly difficult for an old behaviorist psychology type to accept what I was experiencing and seeing, but I finally got it. If you treat your rats as intelligent and emotional beings they will grow into the role. And best of all they will bond to you like family members. And you can have a real relationship with them. And once you build that trust and that bond, you can influence them be better family members.... It become a matter of teaching and learning rather than just training....

I'd like to think that immersion works because it's based on a self actualized rat and what I learned from her... It's based on who and what rats are and how they understand the world as I understood it from interacting with her, rather than on theories humans made up in labs to describe rats.

I suppose, it was just chance luck that my daughter picked Fuzzy Rat out of a feeder bin, she was actually a very plain looking rat, but she really changed my understanding of the species and what rats can be. I've trained two true shoulder rats since her and although they aren't like her personality-wise, they are very special too and enjoy being part of our family.

I doubt I'm the first person to figure rats out, I'd like to think it's been an open secret all along since accused witches kept rat familiars in the late middle ages...(most likely without cages). I adopted a rat for my daughter, who needed a real furry friend and she got one, I wasn't expecting much and my whole understanding of rats was turned upside down. And really all I've done is to share what I've learned so it can benefit other rats and their humans elsewhere. And it's been great fun to watch the lessons I learned from our pudgy little tail dragger help other people to bond with their rats... And it's a blast when I see other folks with their own true shoulder rats and when a biting and aggressive rat learns to be part of a new family... and to see black rats back in the fancy and to maybe welcome native American wood rats to the fold...

Fuzzy Rat wasn't our first rat, but she was so unusual I first went on line to get help raising and understanding her... I was told that shoulder rats were a myth and Fuzzy Rat couldn't possibly be real. Moreover she would certainly get killed or lost... As rats were small dumb animals that simply couldn't be more than cage pets....

Later that day, I was sitting at the playground with my daughter playing with the kids that Fuzzy Rat had drawn to her to play with and Fuzzy Rat was resting on the bench next to me and I told her she didn't exist... she didn't seem to care what other people thought and I decided that I wouldn't either....

Fuzzy Rat took on all kinds of crazy challenges...

Tree Jungle Plant Branch Wildlife


And she loved meeting people, especially children... She touched hundreds of people, maybe more, everywhere she went.
Water Fun Beach Play Summer


And she swam at the beach and walked at heel and never got lost or ran away from her family...
Sand Beach Vacation Fun Shore

And she had an older sister and frenemy...
Rat Muridae Rodent Muroidea Gerbil

and her own pet rat and later on caregiver Amelia she actually picked for herself
Rat Vertebrate Mammal Muridae Rodent


And she survived all of her adventures and remained a loyal and best friend throughout her disability.
Guinea pig Rodent Hamster Cat Fawn


And still enjoyed going outdoors when she could barely walk and mostly had to be carried
Grass Green Lawn Pasture Grassland


And most of all she was love and she was loved...
Sensitive content, not recommended for those under 18 Show Content
Child Selfie Photography Toddler Baby


I suppose if folks don't mind learning about rats from a rat, and taking lessons about their rats from the rather unusual life story of ours, I'm happy to share our experiences and be of help.

And maybe.... just maybe... I really don't want the real myth that rats aren't amazing and competent animals perpetrated on anyone else. No one should ever be told that their rat isn't special. Everyone should be inspired to have great relationships with their own rats and to understand each other. Rats deserve great humans to love them and challenge them to be more and humans deserve to be loved and cherished by their best furry friends...

I suppose, that's the most important thing our rats taught me and the lesson I try to pass on...

Can a rat have a legacy? Who knows? But if she can, I suppose that would be what she would have wanted most...

And what we learned from Fuzzy Rat... begat Max and then Cloud who are also true shoulder rats in their own right....

So, I guess I learned some from every rat we've ever owned, and from wild rats I've observed and from 4 years of college, and some background in the woods, and living on a farm, and owning other animals, but most of all it was 2 1/4 years traveling around with and living with a very special friend that taught me enough to get by when it comes to rat behavior...

It's all about everyone sharing the special relationship we have with our rats with their own best furry friends....

Pics below are of Max passing her true shoulder rat final test and from the meet and greet afterwards...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Fuzzy rat is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing your story with me! I have a chronic illness ( it's not dangerous just uncomfortable) and am too sick to go to school right now so learning about fuzzy rat and others on this forum really helps cheer me up and feel connected to the world. I hope your daughter is doing well and your current pets too.
 

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I'm sorry to hear about your illness, I hope you feel better soon.

Every so often I re-tell Fuzzy Rat's story because rats can sometimes be shy or reclusive and their humans forget just how amazing they are and miss opportunities to really enjoy time with their best furry friends. Not many rats are like Fuzzy Rat, but each rat deserves to be loved and engaged and to live a life of comfort and adventure to their potential and every human deserves those precious interactions... I hope your furry friends are keeping you good company while you recover. It's nice to be out and about but it's also good to be home with friends sometimes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you. My pair of boys really do help me feel better and they seem to like being spoiled while I stay at home. They deserve it having spent so much time unloved at petco. I take them on walks almost every night lately holding them with me so they can sniff the outside air and they love to cuddle all day. Give your babies a yogi drop from me (or other healthier alternative they like) :)
 

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Squishy rats are fat cuddlers. Generally, boys are squishies.
 

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I gotta say, Rat Daddy, every time I read a post about Fuzzy Rat, I cry. It would have been an incredible honor to have met Fuzzy Rat.
 
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