I got Bart in May of '05. He was a tiny, scared little thing huddled in the corner of a 10 gallon aquarium at the Humane Society. I got him on a whim, my first rat, and spent the next two months doing everything wrong. He was so patient with me as I learned how to best take care of him. During the three months he was housed alone before I found him cagemates, we grew very close and developed a very strong bond. The day he met other rats for the first time, he ran to me and hid inside my shirt. He's always been a Momma's boy.
At around two and a half years old his back legs became paralyzed. He still ate like a horse, still wanted out for playtime, and he could still get around just fine. But recently his spine began to curve and he held both legs to one side. He'd become imbalanced easily, and roll or fall. Even though he showed no signs of discomfort, and still acted normally, I didn't want to wait for him to begin to suffer. I didn't want to wait until it was too late, and he was already in pain. I wanted it to end on a good note.
This morning in the hours before his appointment he ate breakfast with his cagemates, plus an extra treat of blueberry baby food. We cuddled on the futon for an hour or so, and he fell asleep on my chest. Another nap with his girls in the hammock, and then it was time. He spent the car ride to the clinic in my lap, licking my hand. He was PTS with me holding him and giving him kisses and whispering to him until the very last moment.
Goodbye, my sweet baby boy. My love. I will miss you so much.
RIP Bart. January 2005 - January 19, 2008.