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Perhaps I should have started my blog on day one. Perhaps I shouldn't start a blog at all. Why now, on day three, of all days?

Because I feel I'm ready to start a blog. I feel Tarot and Ouija are happy now, and that I don't need to spend every waking second making sure they're okay. Now, they're happy, and my new rattie momma jitters are ix-nay. I can sit here with them in their big playpen and know that they're not stressed out about anything, and I can take some time for myself.


Day Three - Finalizing the Cage
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Today, we finalized the cage. We decided on a four foot by four foot wooden enclosure with a little fleece floor. The rats really seem to enjoy it; Tarot seems to be a runner and Ouija seems to be an explorer, giving both of them ample of what each of them loves. Tarot is much less sniffly now that he's finally off the pine bedding, and with no other issues such as breathing problems or loss of appetite (seriously, no loss of appetite), I've come to the conclusion that he's going to be just fine.

I do, however, worry for Tarot. He head weaves a lot, and I've heard that this can be both from lack of sight and from lack of hearing. I don't know which is the case for him. He's a dove, so probably just the sight, but he's so sensitive to every little movement and sound, and he reacts negatively to all of it. I suppose I prefer this to becoming aggressive, but it still worries me.

I got both rats to sit with me today, even though they've never really been this far from their cage yet and were eager to explore, I got each to sit on my shoulder and to take food while they were seated in my lap. I don't know if this is a good step in the right direction (most of my experience with shy/etc. animals is with dogs), but I think it's marvelous. I've gotten both of them to come to me when I say "Come here!" whether I'm holding something tasty or not. I've used cheerios to try to teach them their names, as I'm almost positive they don't really smell like anything that would be too overly inviting, though perhaps the taste was/is tempting for my little lovelies.

Besides the new cage, which isn't really all that overwhelming as this was the plan I had for my little rattles all along, perhaps the most wonderful thing that happened today was when I asked my father to give the rats some cheerios when he came to greet us and see how the new cage (which he built, bless his heart) was working out. My father, who likely smelt of all sorts of oils and metals and unsavory things for rats from just having made their new cage, and who was being loud as possible and half-wrestling with the dog before approaching them, is someone whom the rats have never met before. Perhaps they've heard his voice, but he's never actually approached them nor held them. Yet, Ouija stood up on his little hind legs and allowed my father to feed him a cheerio. Perhaps this shouldn't be so surprising - Ouija is a very social rat, after all, and he took to me right away and loves to climb on people and meet them and has no trouble facing new situations and new things as far as I can tell. However, the real surprise came when the shy little Tarot, who runs at every challenge and shies at every turn, approached my father's hand and did not only take his cheerio, but he licked my fathers hand before doing so. Perhaps it's just me over-thinking things, but we have a dog for several years whom was abused before we adopted him (Luke, a little mutt), but he is still sometimes very skittish and squirrely and will not let us touch him, especially outside, where sometimes he cannot even be approached. Yet this little rat, who has never had faith in himself or anything around him, approached a giant creature he'd never even seen before, and was not only friendly but kissed him and then willingly took food from his hands. I do not even have words to describe such an action of trust and love from such a skittish being; it is simply a miracle.

It may only be day three with my new babies, but with how loving and caring they already are, I hope it's day three of a long, long life filled with many rats to come.
 
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