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I thought I'd start a fun little topic, where we could share stories of what turned us into rat lovers!
For me, it was a totally impromptu decision. I've had every type of pet you could think of (bunnies, cats, dogs, fish, hamsters, mice, birds, toads, hermit crabs, the list goes on...) but never rats, though I always thought they were cute. Then one day, I was picking my boyfriend up from work and was early so I decided to pop into the pet store next door. I walked by the small animal area and there was Mango, her two little front paws up on the glass just looking at me. She's the one in the top right of my display picture. I knelt down to eye level with her and started talking to her and she just stared at me with those big beautiful eyes. I couldn't help myself, I asked to pick her up and she was SO friendly. I just fell in love! It was funny because I had texted my boyfriend to come into the pet shop when he was done his shift, and he saw me there holding Mango and just smiled and shook his head because he knew she'd be going home with us. But, I knew she needed a friend, so I looked at her sisters and decided on Tango (bottom left in display pic). We picked out a "rat starter kit" and took the babies home.
That was back in June, and here we are in February and somehow my mischief has grown to four and my cage has been upgraded to a DCN with all the toys and hammocks a rat could dream of. And that look Mango gave me in the pet store? That look still gets her extra cheerios, all the time.
 

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My boyfriend and I were in the pet store and it was kind of an on the spot type of thing. I was not really thinking about getting one because of all the bad rep rats get. I ended up picking out Molly, my dumbo hairless girl, and taking her home with me. It was only after I got her that I actually did research on rats. =P
 

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Ever since I met my friend's rat back in college, I was cool with the idea of rats. They're smart, and they're cute. I didn't realize just how clean they are or that they are so nonaggressive until recently.

My wife and I live in a condo with 720 square feet. I haven't been interested in keeping pets. My motto was that if it eats or poops, I don't want it. We knew we couldn't have a cat. There was no place we wanted to put a litter box. Also, cats like to walk on kitchen counters, which grosses us out. We have expensive blinds too. Too much hassle for a cat. A dog was also out. We'd have to walk the dog daily, and that sucks living in the Midwest where you have 10 days of it not being too hot or too cold or too rainy. Besides, the thought of putting on one of those gloves to pick up dog poop really grosses me out. So we lived in our place for over 9 years with no pets.

A few months ago, my wife asked about getting a small pet. She likes fish, but she knew that I would have nothing to do with them. If I can't cuddle it, I don't consider it a worthwhile pet. But she was thinking about hamsters. I wasn't opposed to the idea, so we did some research. Okay, hamsters are jerks, it turns out. Well, gerbils are interesting; that would have been our second choice, I think. We had to rule out rabbits and guinea pigs because they prefer horizontal space, which we don't have a lot of.

That brought us to rats. They don't need a lot of horizontal space if you can make it up with vertical space. And hey, there are various cages out there to help with that. I did some research.

In the middle of that research, we decided to look at rats. The first store we went had an impressive reptile section but no rat section. Oh, the rats are in the pantry. Well, they're all cute, but they're skittish since they're just breeder rats. The second store had Latte. My wife fell in love with her right away. Dumbo rat with a charming personality. We were still in review mode, so we left for the third pet store. They didn't have any rats, so that was easy. But at the third store, my wife made the decision to get Latte. We went back, and the store didn't even bother to put Latte back on display; they could tell by my wife's reaction that we'd be back. We bought Latte a companion, who unfortunately died of URI 3 days later. The store has a 7-day guarantee, so we replace Chloe with Penumbra. We also bought a starter cage.

It wasn't too much longer before we bought the DCN and a third rat to help keep those two company. Unfortunately, she's 4 weeks younger than Latte, so she tends to get shoved out of the fun, but sometimes they cuddle with her and chase her.

We got Latte Dec 26, so only a month and a half, but it feels like we've known her for longer.
 

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I never gave small animals or rodents any real thought as pets until I started dating my fiance. He squeals at adorable fluffy things and you know, when you spend a lot of time with someone you like, you start to take on their traits. So soon we were both sticking our faces into the hamster cages making girly noises and after a few years of that, he announced that for my birthday he was going to buy me a gerbil. Gerbils were my favorite, at that point, because the hamsters bit and were super skittish but the gerbils were more inquisitive and didn't bite as much. Then he off-handedly mentioned, "Or a rat or a hamster or whatever you'd like" so I went to google for advice.

Turns out, rats were right up my alley. I was really excited for the idea that I could put one on my shoulder and he'd just chill (theoretically. of course, not 100% true but that's google for you). I wanted a cuddly, snuggly, relaxed rat so per the advice of the online forums I'd visited I decided to get a pair of boys. I'm so glad the store happened to have dumbos, and ended up getting Clark because he was the one trying to interact with me through the glass and Marley was the only one there that wasn't a black hooded. I liked his colors so I got him too. Ends up Marley was the snugglebug and Clark was the troublemaker and, in hindsight, I should have seen it coming.

So if not for my fiance, I'd be rat-less and know nothing about their awesomeness.
 

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I have really bad anxiety and spent a few years friendless. Then some things happened in my family, I was working long weird hours so my boyfriend and I started to grow apart. So, I was fairly lonely. I started looking up small, caged pets that could give me affection.

Ferrets slept a lot so it seemed likely we would hardly be able to interact. Hamsters I had a bad experience with and weren't really social. This video freaked me out from gerbils http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mdfvisPMNB1r2452ko2_250.gif (I realize now it isnt a gerbil and am interested in getting them next). Mice were nice but I didn't want a watch-pet, which mice can become. They also live only a year. Rough. I wanted a hedgehog but it isn't quite affectionate. Chinchillas and sugar gliders were way too finicky. That left rats.

I started staring at them in pet stores, watching hundreds of youtube videos, and searching for rescues/breeders nearby.
 

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My very first rat wasn't actually /mine/ persey. I was allowed to buy him for my 7th grade science classroom. Everyday in homeroom he'd come out of his cage and hang out with me (the girls all thought he was gross as he'd poop and pee on the table), and he'd snuggle in my lap until the bell rang. I was usually late to first period. Then, when Science class rolled around, my teacher would let me pull him back out, providing we weren't doing any labs. He was a black self standard top eared boy, who was named Tar. For vacations he would alternate between coming home with me and another girl in my class. He was an awesome, friendly boy.

I'm almost thirty, and until recently I've had cats, dogs and snakes. Within the last 5 or so years I've only had cats, and while I love them, they can be aloof (or clingy, depending on which cat we're talking about - and not an affection clingy. An annoying, loud, meowing clingy). I'm a part of a hobby forum and one of my friends over there has rats. some really CUTE rats. I started watching her posts in a "rat thread" and started doing research about 2 months ago. I joined RF, and shortly after I found my current boy, Alfie.
 

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In the late 90's I had two friends, siblings, who had a pet rat. Her name was Rosie and she was a beautiful berkshire agouti. She was extremely intelligent too, her humans constantly played with her. She was also like a therapy animal to Tony, the younger sibling who was about 6 and has sever autism. From the fist moment I met Rosie I fell in love. Unfortunately my mum and I had fallen on hard times back then and my want for one was pushed to the far corners of my mind.
Fast forward to March 2013. I have mixed bi-polar disorder, along with an encyclopedia of other wonderful issues, and at the time my husband and I were in a fish based pet store and I was manic. This place only has feeders and before that day I usually had no interest in the feeder rat section, I usually just prowled around the fish tanks or reptile section. But that day I happened to wander over to the feeders and a single thought hit me hard enough to knock me out. "I want a rat." That was the thought that started it all. Because I was manic at the time and stayed in that state for a few weeks, the thought "I want a rat" gradually turned into "I need a rat" and by the end of the week it was "I'm getting a rat.". While in this wonderful manic mode I managed to do days upon days of research; and then "I'm getting a rat" turned into "I'm getting a pair." I bought a nice three level cage off ebay, started to fill it with all kinds of rat goodies and then went to pick up my first rat. Since then I've owned nine amazing rats. I've lost too many but I gave them the best life I could; and the ones left behind are my whole world. I'm glad I had that spur of the moment thought way back when; I can't imagine not having rats now.
 

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Back in college I had a friend who had adopted her psych lab rat. They were actually pretty screwed up animals in general. But she talked about hers like it was a real pet, like a dog... That conversation kind of stayed with me for a few decades.

Flash forward 25 years and my wife is rampaging on about our 5 year old daughter needing a real pet.... She had been ranting on for several weeks by that point and was beyond reasoning with... You know how women can get... She said that she would feed it and walk it and clean after it... none of which was ever going to happen... ever! But as I was headed for the pet shop with my daughter and she insisted we not come home without a furry pet. She shouted NO RAT!!!!!!!!!!!! after us as we walked out the door.

So we got to the pet shop and we went by the bug and herp section... Nothing furry there I'd want my daughter to cuddle with... Then the bird section, there wasn't much there our wild parrot wouldn't kill or a 5 year old wouldn't snap like a twig. Then we came upon the dogs and my little girl immediately fell in love with an $1800.00 Lopso Opso dog... I had a girlfriend with one years ago, the critter was always matted and walked right out into traffic and needed constant vet care... and there wasn't anyone in my house that was even going to feed it, or walk it, much less bring it to the vet. And, although I had dogs as a kid and young man, I really never walked them and they almost never went to a vet, I just let the out into the woods to do whatever they had to do. Honestly I never got into the leash thing, my dogs came on command when recalled and pretty much fended for themselves. And living where I do now, that wasn't likely to be an option. Dog food, leashes and pooper scoopers and vets seemed way more likely and unavoidable... And my daughter wasn't the kind of kid that takes care of animals, either was my wife and I wasn't up for it either.

So we went past the dogs to the small animal section. I lived on a farm and tended rabbits, they seemed a bit wrong for a little girl, and more work than I was into... the gunea pigs looked pretty frightened and old, I had a hamster before that came with daily escapes and bites and really nothing seemed right for a little girl. Moreover the poor animal was headed for a home where no one was going to take proper care of it and a little girl that was going to get tired of it in about a week... I suddenly became rather sad about the poor animal that we were going to take from the nice safe pet shop into our inhospitable home to die of neglect... I knew the furry animal concept was a horrible idea and I kept pushing my daughter past the cute furry critters until we reached the back of the store where the feeder bins were. A most pleasant sales girl opened a bin full of 3 week old rat pups, I always felt sorry for feeder animals, pretty much on death row, but especially for these little ones, so innocent and so doomed. The sales girl suggested girl rats for little girls because there would be less explaining to do and and my daughter picked one out and started to cuddle it, and it was actually quite tame. The sales girl told us it had been brought in by a customer who had handled it and cared for it and it was used to people... my daughter was getting seriously attached. It was a very sharp looking rat; active, healthy and bright eyed... and best of all friendly.

Suddenly I began to do the guy thing... rationally weighing the pros and cons...

Pro.... this little animal was doomed anyway, no matter what happened in our home, nothing was worse than where it was already headed... No guilt!

Pro... My daughter was already attached to it. And it didn't bite.

Pro... A friend had told me that rats made for great pets. Despite the nasty lab rats I had worked with.

Pro... the sales girl told us this little rat was hand raised and it did look pretty comfortable around my daughter.

Pro... I had an old lab bin and water bottle in the basement large enough for a rat pup. And I just happened to have about half of a 40 lb bag of pine shaving and a bag of rodent chow on hand.

Con... My wife specified NO RAT!

Pro... This whole stupid furry pet idea for a 5 year old was my wife's in the first place. And if it weren't for her I wouldn't be deciding some poor animals imminent fate. And as best as I could figure that rat was only going to last about 5 days and the pet shop would likely take it back if I could keep it alive that long...

I looked down at my little girl clutching desperately on to the only forbidden animal in the store, now tearing up and shaking head to toe. Then I asked the sales girl how much the rat pups cost... She replied "2.49", I cast a last glance at the Lopso Opso dog for $1800.00; my sinister plan now fully formed...

My daughter really wanted the rat pup, my wife would hate it, my daughter would get tired of the rat in under a week and I could try and find it a better home or return it, my wife would get over the animal fever and life would go back to normal... for only $2.49! The sales girl even told me rats don't live too long, usually less than two years, so worst case nature would solve my problems in relatively short order... So I set my duplicitous plan into motion... and I looked into my daughters tearful trusting eyes and said... Yes, sweetheart, you can have your rat pup...

When I got home, it turned out that my wife was actually totally rat phobic so you can imagine how that went... my daughter chasing the wife around the house trying to show her her new pet and the wife on the table... It was louder and better than I ever expected... Then everything went terribly wrong. My daughter didn't get tired of her rat pup, she dressed it and towed it around in a Barbie Doll convertible and I fed it and cleaned it's cage and it didn't die, in fact it started getting bigger and followed my daughter around the house all day and they fell asleep together in the easy chair every night and I'd put the rat to bed while the wife put the kid to bed, and the dang thing started following me around and hanging out on my desk while I was working and my daughter was out... And I had to make a bigger home for the rat that outgrew the lab container... And despite screaming and jumping on the furniture whenever they crossed paths my wife conceded that the rat was really good for our little girl. I tried to keep my distance, but I was getting sucked in too. I was actually growing quite fond of the strange little critter that had invaded our house and was by this point roaming about turning up and evaporating at will. The peculiar rodent didn't only survive in our house, it actually thrived. Little did we realize when we got her that she was a part wild rat and surviving in people's houses is what wild rats do best.

My best laid plan foiled by a rodent, I conceded defeat, rats were here to stay. And now, I'm rather glad of it. I have to wonder how many rats started out with inauspicious births, doomed to be feeders or disposable pets, only to enchant their humans and make amazing lives for themselves. Once you really get to know a rat, they change you. You really can't help falling in love with such a special animal. I really never wanted a pet rat, but now I don't think I would want to be without one or more furry friends.
 

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I literally just typed into google "Do rats make good pets" And turns out they do. My first mental image of owning a rat was (don't hate me for this lol) a single black hooded rat in a mouse cage with a cute lil wheel and some shavings at the bottem. I'd occasionally take it out to hold and it would tolerate me but never truly bond with me. And it would also poop everywhere. and smell. That was pretty much what I thought owning a rat would be like. But fortunately for my future rats I did plenty of research and ended up getting two females with a proper rat cage and no shavings, yay me. I was also pretty impressed at how they didn't uncontrollably poop everywhere and used a litterbox. However I still thought they'd be spending most of their time in the cage. Fast foward nine months and now they pretty much own my room. And my bed. (I don't sleep in my room, carpet gives me allergies and my bed is uncomfortable) its quite funny too look back and see how clueless I was, for example when trying to rat proof my room before getting the rats I though an old sketch book woukd be high enough to block the rats from cables. I thought puting stuff i didn't want chewed on the top shelf and thinking it would be out of reach. Hah, all that stuff is now in the hallway out side my room or in my wardrobe and the cables run under my mattress. But honestly, I couldn't Imagine not having rats, They're great.
 

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I've always been a dog person. I grew up with an amazing dog and when my mom and I moved in with my aunt we got more dogs. Dogs dogs dogs. Dogs are loyal and they love you, like, so much. After dogs, I didn't get animals that don't interact with you on that level. When I moved out into an apt with my boyfriend who worked 11pm to 7:30am and I was working part 5 to 10 (plus free lancing) I was getting lonely at night and really missed having a fuzzy friend. I really missed my dogs. Apt was too small and dogs weren't allowed anyway, or snakes (my landlord had a horrible story about a previous tenets escaped snake and sent me a very very long email about how I'm not allowed to have snakes. I didn't want a snake but there it was.) or birds or anything that made noise. I love ferrets but all the ones I met were stinky. I've heard you can have it so they don't stink but I really wanted to be sure. Chinchillas can live up to 20yrs! I wasn't sure if I was ready for that kind of commitment for my very first pet that I was totally responsible for.

Also I needed something that was more then cute, something that would interact with me. Something kind of dog like. After some research (ok lots, I was a library assistant) it looked like rats were perfect! Something that would more then tolerate your existence but would actually enjoy your company! Also the litter training was a big seller. I actually had to get over some sort of deep seeded primal instinct at first. I thought rats were cute-ish but not really. (Now I think they are the cutest things in the world) Their movements triggered survival mode in the deepest darkest primordial parts of my brain. (it took months to get over, not holding them but having them dart out from somewhere right in the corner of your eye) I went to some pet stores and held some squirmy rats to see if I could. My boyfriend and I talked about it, we got a big cage and all the supplies. Found a vet a head of time just in case. That vet did exotics but not rat exotics apparently we later found out. I didn't want to grab the first rat I met just because I could. The one Petco rats where not very interested in people, fear pooped all over the place. In a Petsmart I met Nimbus and Loki and Nimbus was special. He was very friendly and curious, tried to climb up to my face. Loki didn't really want anything to do with us at the pet shop but that was Nimbus' cage mate so off with us he came. I had to get that trust back when friendly human equated being put in a dark box and arrive somewhere totally different.

I learned that rats are not like dogs, the are like rats. There really is nothing like a rat. I don't think I will never have rats after my first two rats. One day when I get a stable and large living space I would also like to get dogs but I will always have rats.

Also you can research forever and nothing will prepare you other then having a rat. Those basic "Why rats are good pets" really need to let people know then existence of porphyrin. I thought my rat was sneezing and crying blood. Seriously they should have a warning label so their humans don't have a heart attack.
 

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For years now I've been searching for the right pet to meet my emotional needs. What exactly are my emotional needs? I have absolutely no freaking idea. Regardless though, I knew that's why I was looking for the pets I was looking for. About three years ago I got Ivory, my creamino Peach-faced lovebird. I swear she's possessed by a demon. I love her and she loves me, but she just... Didn't fulfill that need.

Skip forward two years. My hamster and my green anole had sadly perished and I was ready to commit myself to another animal. I had decided against hamsters, since I know feel that they really don't do anything emotionally for me, but I wanted something small... Somehow, I found rats. I was hooked almost instantly. I researched for two months before finally settling down with my pair of females. Yes, their petstore rats. Yes, I've made mistakes. Yes, Neera's still skittish. But they are, without a shred of doubt, the most amazing pets I have ever owned.
 

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my son has always had rats and I started getting attached to his 2 little female rats so I decided it was time to be a rat owner and I found 2 little sweet girls , Snowball and Mickey and now I will always love rats
 

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I had always wanted them ever since my friends had some in college. I didn't get any though, until I had to rehome my guinea pigs due to an allergy to their hay that I developed. At that point, we had a cat and snakes / geckos, and I still wanted something small and cuddly, but without the need for hay. Them being social was also a big motivator and them using more of their cage space than other rodents so I could decorate their home with fun toys / hammocks.
 

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I was about 17, living at home with my mom. I wanted a small pet for myself. I approached my mom and asked if I could get a hamster. She said "How about a rat?"... and the rest is history. I learned a lot over the next few years, had my heart filled with love and broken a few times, and although I haven't had rats for quite a while now, they certainly left their paw print marks on my life :)
 

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I was 18 and had just moved into my first apartment. It was all well and good until I realized I was lonely, lol. My landlord specified no dogs, and I am allergic to cats, so I went in search of a small animal that would be relatively easy to care for. I had had hamsters before and liked them well enough, but then I saw the rats. And I couldn't look away. It hadn't even occurred to me until that point that people kept rats as pets. There were two of them in the enclosure, a PEW and really pretty blue-gray one. The girl took them both out and let me say hello. PEW was not at all interested in me, he sniffed me briefly and then curled up and went back to sleep. Little blue-gray was very interested and climbed into my hand. So I took him home and named him Donnie. I didn't know at the time that rats need cage mates, or I would have taken them both. That was over 10 years ago and I STILL feel guilty that Donnie had no friends. However, I had him for 3 years and he was awesome. He moved with me twice; was around when I met my boyfriend and we moved in together. He was there when my boyfriend became my fiance, and when we adopted our dog Rusty, they became friends. When Donnie passed, I had a little ceremony for him and buried him in a shoe box in my back yard. I wish I had a picture of him, there might be one packed away in the attic somewhere. Maybe one day I'll dig around for it.

Then I didn't have rats for a long time. Now I do. :)
 

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the first rat I had was Mittens.My girlfriend at the time was keeping her in a glass tank in her DORM ROOM and couldn't take her for the summer. So I took her...and got her a buddy who I named Tonks. They were both great rats and I lost both of them last year.
 

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aww I love reading everyone's stories.

I first just saw rats in the petstore and just fell in love with how cute they were. So I went home and spent the day reading all I could about pet rats & falling more in love the more I read. Then I had to talk my husband into letting me. The next day I went and picked up Sookie & Willow. A few years later after they were gone I was in the same petstore and was manic (bipolar too lol) and just out of the spur of the moment got a rat. She ended up being preggers and I kept 3 of her babies. So I have 4 now.
 

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Ignorance, really. I had pet mice as a kid and always adored them. I was convinced rats were just a larger version as far as behavior. My mother would never let me have a rat, so a few weeks before I was leaving college, I was looking at rats at a pet store and once of them picked me. He ran right up to the glass and put his paws on it and stared at me. I shouldn't have taken him home, but I did. I very quickly learned that they were nothing like mice and fell in love with the species. I did a lot of research and reading, got him a buddy and I've had rats ever since. At this point, there's very little I don't know about housing pet rats except for how to teach them tricks. I've never tried that. I love them dearly and I'm currently going through an emotional crisis where I'm not sure if I can keep pet rats anymore. They live such short lives and it's so heart-wrenching when they pass... I think I need an emotional break. Milosh is slowly dying now... :(
http://www.ratforum.com/showthread....-can-do-rats.....-I-need-some-kind-words...-(
 

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This is a weird story but anyway my boyfriend works for a compost plant and part of his job is killing the rats he finds. He does this probably almost day if not atleast every week. They are so mean to the rats there, for example (i wont go into details) one guy skinned one of the dead ones after killing it.
He came home one night and was all excited to tell me about how cute the new baby rats at work are and telling me how big they were and he was just so happy to have seen them and he said he wanted pet rats. We werent planning on doing it but then about 3 weeks later it was my birthday and id always wanted an animal. So when he asked what i wanted for my birthday i told him i wanted pet rats because i knew that they were something that we would both enjoy.
He does kill rats at his work but that is his job and it doesnt effect at all how he treats our rats.
 

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After I moved to a place that no longer allowed cats, I longed for something small and furry to fill the gap. I had always thought rats were the most interesting of the small furries at the pet store but all they ever had were albinos and old hooded rats that looked like they wouldn't survive the drive home. One day when I walked by, something caught my eye; it was a beautiful champagne dumbo (though I didn't know those terms at the time) and he looked much younger and healthier than all the others. Turns out someone had abandoned him there and I immediately decided I had to have him. I took him home and named him Chester and slowly learned how to take care of him. My roommates at the time were not thrilled with my choice of pet, so I was never able to get Chester a friend. After about a year, I noticed that Chester just really didn't seem happy; he was getting absurdly fat, wouldn't play anymore and just didn't seem interested in anything. A trip to the vet told me that nothing was wrong with him except that he needed more companionship than I could give him with my full time job and night classes. I made the heartbreaking decision to find Chester a new home and told myself that, one day, when I finally had the time they deserved, I would have rats again. It took a few years, but I eventually got to the point where I knew I could give them everything they needed :)
 
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