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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Over a month ago I knew my boy, Pepper, wasn't doing so well. Despite this the vet and I agreed to have a second tumor removal surgery done. The first night he was home he started mouth breathing and I thought I was going to loose him. He recovered the next day and ended up with penis prolapse. After treating that it resolved and I noticed Pepper's respiratory rate had increased. As the days passed he lost mobility in his hind legs. I decided Pepper would do well on soft foods alongside lab blocks which he happily ate. He took his meds as well. During this time he had been salivating and he was no longer grooming as he used to which meant icky red eyes.

Today his fur on his chin was covered in saliva and I knew he was loosing condition. I kissed and kissed him and rubbed my nose in his wet fur to smell him and tried to see if he would 'rest' with me on a lounge chair in the yard so he could feel the warm summer breeze. During the time outside he kept trying to find ways to get off me and the chair. He would pull his body to the end of the chair to look down with the intent of jumping and resting on the grass. How do I know? He did it before! He also would leave me at the computer desk and jump to the floor to make his way under a bed against the wall----and just lay there. It kind of hurt that my sick boy did not want to rest on me so out of respect for him I'd return him to his cage as I did today when in the backyard with him.

This past week Pepper was eating his Carefresh bedding which is pica behaviour which can be indicative of a rat in pain. We went to dinner this evening to celebrate my birthday and when we came back I was ready to take Pepper out for a 'rat walk' along with two other rats. We do this every night in the warmer months and for some strange reason during the past month he would allow me to hold him on his back held up close to my face where he'd kiss me. He was never a loving rat and once attacked and ripped my hand open. It is peculiar why a non affectionate rat would suddenly start being affectionate---or maybe Pepper thought my face was part of his while he was grooming himself on his back? It is confusing. Each kiss was worth every dollar spent on his surgery; priceless kisses.

When I went to reach in Pepper's cage to get him out for a rat walk after coming home from dinner my hand went underneath him and in that moment I knew he was gone. Again he got lots of kisses and I smelled him once more and buried him in my backyard.

My poor boy had a hard long fight. I don't know what ailed him and neither did the vet, but we both knew he may not make it. I am glad his tumour was removed and that his last four weeks of life were tumour free as it was the size of a golf ball. His incision site healed beautifully but his fur hadn't yet all grown back.

Pepper I will miss you. You were a funny boy and I thank you for all the beautiful memories you have left behind. I will never forget the way you chose to hop speedily around the house instead of walk, how you chased the cats around to show them who was boss, how you hopped like a bunny up the stairs, how you'd make your way to the girls' cages to say 'hello', and how you chose to kiss me on our nightly walks during your last weeks of life. I hope you know how much I love you and miss you.
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