Posts Tagged ‘hairless rats’

How Do I Love Thee?

Friday, May 27th, 2011


When we were newly married and I was trying to convince my husband that we NEEDED Max the Cat, my Mom said the words that got Max’s paw in the door. ..

“Russ, Do Not Make Her Choose.”


Russ is allergic to cats.  And guinea pigs.  And their hay.  Oh, and rats.  Mostly rats.  We have had them all.

By the time we had Fuzzy and Wuzzy (our 4th and 5th rats) he honestly could not breathe in their presence.  He just did not go into the living room, and if he did, we ended up in urgent care.  “You NEED to breathe, Finch,” I said, in a rare moment of logic over emotion.  He ended up on pretty strong allergy medications for the remainder of the rats’ lives.  He could not breathe well, and he ALWAYS felt miserable, but he did not die.

Crazy, huh?

You know what would be crazier?  If I insisted on a 6th rat…or a 6th and a 7th.  (You know, so Six wouldn’t get lonely.)

We adopted Fuzzy and Wuzzy (Hairless Dumbo Rex littermates) with the misguided hope that they would be less allergenic than their furry predecessors, ButtercupRita and Cookie.  Cookie actually ended up living with Mom and Dad because…yup, Russ could not breathe in her presence.

Fur does not cause allergic reactions.

Allergic reactions are caused by protein in dander, spit and pee.

HOW MANY years have I been telling friends and clients that very thing when they beg me to approve of their Sphinx Cat/Chinese Crested Dog-adoption-to-be because they are just sure hairless pets (or low-shedding pets, like Poodles) are hypoallergenic?  *sigh*  We were just sure hairless rats were hypoallergenic.

Not that that notion is totally misguided.  Some pets seem to cause less intense allergic reactions in people than others:  those with less hair slough less dander, are easier to keep clean and probably have a genetic predisposition to being less allergenic.

Still…

We knew better.  But we sure loved those rats.  I am grateful Russ coexisted with them for almost three years.  I will not ask him to do it again.

Thank you for not making me choose, Russ.

In honor of Russ’ kindness, I have written this poem.  My apologies to  Elizabeth Barrett Browning.  I am quite sure this is not what you meant your poem to be.

How Do I Love Thee?

How do I love thee?  Let me count the ways.

If we live sixty more years more or less

And you stay on your meds and hold your breath,

To the very end of our married days…

 

I love thee more than all the future pets

We’d get if we filled our house like we do–

Got one of each color or maybe two.

I’d love all these Finches-to-be, and yet…

 

I love thee more than all of our future pets.

We could have two or four rats at a time!

And rabbits and piggies, kittens and cats,

Just a rough guess, that’s about ninety-nine

Pets we could have were we crazy like that.

But we’re not, and I promise, I’ll be fine.

See full size image


 

Goodbye Fuzzy and Wuzzy Rats…

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Our hairless rats passed away recently.  I have had (and have) pets as wonderful as these two, but none better.  Goodbye Fuzzy and Wuzzy Rats.  We love you, and we will miss you very much.

A Day in the Life of a Vet

Fuzzy (left) and Wuzzy (right), July 2010

My last story about Fuzzy and Wuzzy was just published on Omaha.net.  The link to the story is below.  Maybe I will write a remembering or looking back sort of story later (or a photo story – that would definitely be the cutest choice…)  But in Real Life, this is the last chapter.  I am really not ok with that.

Being a Vet and Coping With Loss

What I am Doing This Week, Dwelling on Construction Jobs and the Inner Ear of My Rat

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

This week I am working much more than usual!  The kids are back in school full swing and starting fall activities.  Russ’ company (J.T. Builder’s, where he is a carpenter) is closing tomorrow, but he already has some leads on new career opportunities.  God always takes care of us.  I don’t suppose He will drop us now.  I love my crazy, busy life, but it is taking all of my writing time!

Also, I have been providing supportive care for Fuzzy Rat, who has been very sick.  Last week, she was so wobbly she could not walk or even hold food.  I have been bugging all of my poor veterinarian friends to help me come up with a differential diagnosis list that does not include “brain” or “cancer!”

She is on antibiotics and antiinflammatories, and responding well.  She even started walking yesterday!

Still could be bad, but I am hoping she is either dealing with a severe inner ear infection or idiopathic vestibular disease.  Idiopathic means “unknown cause” (same base word as “idiot” – ha!)  The vestibular system deals with balance.  Idiopathic Vestibular Disease is fairly common in dogs, so it would not be unheard of to occur in rats, though I have never dealt with it before.  It is basically a diagnosis of exclusion – if it is not something else, it may be Idiopathic Vestibular Disease.  In dogs, it has a good chance of resolution, so here’s hoping for Old Ratty Vestibular Disease!  I would never wish an ear infection on anyone, but I would be ok with that diagnosis too!

Get Well Really Soon Small Rat!

What I am Doing This Week: Attending Camp Kindness Again, Taking More Rat Pictures

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Tuesday, July 20 was another day of Camp Kindness, a day camp for kids at Nebraska Humane Society.  You know I am super neurotically protective of kid pictures, and Camp Kindness is all kids everywhere…which means of course, more pictures of Fuzzy and Wuzzy!

Still, I didn’t want you to think I ONLY ever take pictures of my gorgeous rats, so I also took one of Kerry Ecklebe, the Director of Humane Education at Nebraska Humane Society…um, holding a rat.  OK, so maybe I am obsessed with my rats!  There are worse maladies to have!

I do not even want to know how many website design rules I am breaking with this layout.  I just love huge pictures of Fuzzy and Wuzzy!  They are so goofy looking, and I love that you can see whiskers and wrinkles and everything in the pictures…

Kerry Ecklebe holding Fuzzy

Kerry is a class act, and one of my favorite people.  NHS is blessed to have her!

What I am Doing This Week, Celebrating Independence Day

Monday, July 5th, 2010

July 5, 2010  As far as I know, all the pets in my life got through yesterday with just a little nervousness.  Great job pet parents!

PLEASE vote for Fuzzy and Wuzzy for cutest pet in Banfield’s Pet Photo contest!  Silly as it is, I LOVE pictures of our rats, and these ones are really cute.  The other pets entered are very cute too, and you can vote for as many as you want.  I voted for all of them, because, as you know, I have yet to meet a non-cute pet!

To vote:  Go to Banfield’s Facebook home page, and “like” Banfield.  Scroll down to Fuzzy and Wuzzy’s picture and “like” their picture.  Thank you so much!!  How fun.

July 17, 2010  Thank you everyone for voting for Fuzzy and Wuzzy!  They won third place!  Woo!  Not bad for a couple of ratties, huh?

What I am Doing This Week: Attending Camp Kindness, Taking Rat Pictures

Thursday, June 24th, 2010

This week I spoke at Camp Kindness, a day camp for kids at Nebraska Humane Society.  I love doing it!  This is my third summer visiting Camp Kindness with my Hairless Dumbo Rex rats, Fuzzy and Wuzzy.  I told the leaders of Camp Kindness that they are stuck with me and I will show up every summer whether they ask me to or not!  Ha!

Being such an introvert, it is SUCH an exhausting day.  I am not normally much of a public speaker, preferring to educate pet owners either in writing or one-on-one in the exam room, and even that does not come easily.  But I love people and pets SO MUCH and maintaining and restoring pet health is so important to me, that it is all very rewarding.  Anyways, enough of my blah-blahing, on to what you probably came for:  PICTURES OF FUZZY AND WUZZY!!!

And a couple of Josie, the super cute, super sweet therapy dog!
She looks a little like our Ebony Dog, and the rats just love her!
Thank you to Nebraska Humane Society and the Camp Kindness team for making this such a special event!  And thank you Omaha.net and Carefresh for the fun reading material for the kids!