The Saturday Before Easter
It was the Saturday before Easter. Children were busily rushing back and forth in our front yard, gathering
eggs from secret hiding spots while the rest of the adults watched and took pictures. I was one of the adults with a camera
in hand, enthusiastically taking photos of my stepchildren and their 10 cousins. During all of the chaotic hustling and bustling,
my mother-in-law spotted a neighbor out in her yard and went to talk to her.
After the excitement from the Easter egg
hunt, all of us went inside the house to chat and visit with one another. While
we were talking my stepdaughter came up to me and asked if she and two of her cousins could play in the backyard on the slide.
I thought about it for a moment and then told them it was okay. A few minutes later my mother-in-law told us what her neighbor
told her. She explained that her neighbor was a little worried that her house would be invaded by a domesticated rat roaming
the neighborhood. Apparently, someone in our neighborhood no longer wanted their pet rat so they decided to turn it loose
"into the wild" to fend for itself. The rat had been running back and forth in
our neighbor’s backyard all morning, and our neighbor was worried that the rat would somehow find a way into her home.
and saddened by the tale of the homeless rat, I knew that the rat was doomed to die from either exposure to the cold, starvation,
or violence. I thought about looking for the rat myself, but quickly became pessimistic. Just then, my stepdaughter came rushing
into the house saying, "Becky! Becky! There's a rat in our backyard!" My mother-in-law quickly asked what color it was and
my stepdaughter answered in a rushed voice, "White!" I immediately jumped up and went into the backyard. The other two girls
were on the grass looking through the fence. The rat had escaped.
Our Easter Surprise
After realizing that
the rat was so close by, I went back into the house and asked my stepson for assistance. My stepson went out into the front
yard and began searching for the rat while I decided to walk around our next-door neighbor's yard. By the time I came back
my stepson was holding the beautiful Siamese rat in his hands. Apparently, the rat was hiding under the giant fir-tree in
We brought the rat into the house and immediately announced the news to the family. We were very pleased
that the rat was a girl rather than a boy, because we already had three female pet rats, and we were fine with the idea of
owning another one.
My son created a rat-name ballot and we all voted for which name we liked best. The winner was
"Cookie," to match with our other "C" rat names: Cinnamon, Cocoa, and Checkers.
Two Weeks Later
Two weeks went by, and Cookie
quickly adjusted to her new home. She seemed to be a very calm rat and loved
to be held by people. We had to have the tip of her tail amputated, because it
had died either from frostbite or an accident, but Cookie healed from the procedure immediately and did not seem to mind. I have never owned such a submissive, easy-going rat before.
After her confinement and quarantine
was over, we introduced Cookie to our other pet rats. The first meeting, however,
did not go as planned. Cookie seemed to be very grumpy and agitated at the sight of the other rats, and became very nervous
and aggressive when they approached her belly. That was when I noticed how fat
her belly appeared to be. Could she be pregnant?
We decided that we should keep Cookie away from the other rats.
At first I was a little in denial
about Cookie being pregnant, so I started searching the internet for "how to tell if your rat is pregnant" sites. I even emailed
some photos to my rat breeder, Hilloah, and asked her what her opinion was. Little did I know that while I was on the computer,
Cookie was directly behind me on my bed preparing to give birth! After I got off of the computer, I picked Cookie up gently
and put her in her cage. That's when I noticed she was acting a little strange. She started stretching, breathing hard, and
she pressed her face against the glass walls of her cage. Then I noticed the blood discharge. YIKES! I immediately looked
back at my bed and I noticed that there were blood spots and holes all over my sheets. Apparently, she decided that my bed
would make the perfect nest for her babies. I immediately
took action and began shredding paper towels and stuck them in her cage, making sure she would be as comfortable and clean
as possible for when she delivered her babies. She then proceeded to give birth a few minutes later.
Cookie gave birth to six healthy babies on April 8, 2008: two boys and four girls. Now I need to find homes for them. Email me and let me know
if you are interested.