My sweet precious ratty died a few nights ago in my lap and I’m really struggling with grief. I read a lot of the posts here and it’s both heartbreaking and comforting to read people dealing with the same feelings and thought-traps of guilt and regret as me. I wanted to write my own confessional too.

My rat was at least 2 years old, she’s had a pretty big mammary tumor for the past couple months but I figured surgery would put her at potentially greater health risk and she remained active and happy so I let it be. Her sister passed away in December and I know rats don’t live very long so I kept her single, figuring I’d just take care of her until she slowed down too. 

But she actually seemed to get a lot happier once she was alone. I gave her a lot more attention and play time than ever before. I kept her cage in my bedroom and listened to her run around and drink water and chew on food and toys as I fell asleep every night and I think my presence brought her comfort too. She got a lot more cuddly, she’d brux a lot more, she just seemed to really really be thriving. 

About a week, a week and a half? Ago she lost the use of both her back legs. I read up on it online and it said that it was a normal thing that happened as rats age and so I moved all of her amenities to one level of her cage and made sure she could get everything she needed without risking a fall. Until about 3 days ago, she wasn’t still getting around pretty well, her front arms must’ve been really really strong. 

2 nights ago, I got off the phone with some friends and got ratty out for some before bed cuddle time. She snoozed peacefully in my lap for 20 minutes or so, but when she woke up I noticed she was breathing really hard and sucking in her sides. She was trying to crawl around but now she was basically dragging her body by her front legs in an army crawl or like a snake. It looked horrible. I tried to cuddle her some more and she stayed in my arms for an hour but her eyes were wide open, she couldn’t seem to sleep, just kept breathing and staring. She tried crawling again so I thought maybe she wanted to go back to her cage so I put her back but she kept doing that horrible crawl so I brought her back to my bed and put her in my lap and wrapped her with blankets.

i really wanted to make her comfortable and calm her down. I knew she was dying but I didn’t want it to hurt, didn’t want her to be scared. She kept her eyes open and I think she did calm down, she stopped trying to crawl, but she kept breathing hard and staring and then she started jerking a little bit and making these tiny choking noises. I held her and petted her the whole time, I sang her the little song I always sing her, I cried and cried and finally I checked her breathing and it had stopped and I knew she was gone. I couldn’t close her eyes until the morning, when her body softened up a bit. 

The next day I buried her in her own corner of my parents backyard, all wrapped in a blanket in a blanket in a shoebox. She was still so soft and cute and finally looked peaceful but I can’t stop thinking of her final moments and her wide eyes and jerking and I’m so sad thinking about how scared she must have been and how it must have hurt. It’s so hard to stop thinking about it even though I know she had an amazingly comfortable and happy life otherwise. she was originally a feeder rat, sold to be fed to a snake and I’m so happy I got to give her a happy and luxurious life as a pet instead

im also sad because she was a comfort to me as well. I miss hearing her at night and I miss bringing her treats and sharing my food with her and holding her and feeling her happiness and love. I feel so alone without her. I know the feeling will pass but I am so so so sad right now. It hurts so much. I have to work tomorrow but I know I will fall apart as soon as someone asks how I’m doing and I feel so stupid and childish being this sad over a pet, especially when people don’t think much of rats anyway. 

I’m relieved she is no longer in pain and I’m happy I can visit her at my parents house any time and I was as emotionally prepared as I possibly could be, but I just wish so badly I could have given her another couple of months and I wish I could’ve told her what was happening to her and I wish it would have made her not so scared. 

Thanks for reading 
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Ashley, I'm sorry for your loss. Ratty had such an amazing life wth gave her all the love she deserved and she loved you back. You saved her from being fed to a snake. I wish you well,and that you find comfort in all the memories you shared. Take care.🌈🐕🐈🐀💔🙏

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Dear Ashley, I'm so sorry too. I cried as I read your story. I can identify with what you experienced - you gave your baby such comfort at the end, even though you felt helpless - and I know the overwhelming sadness you're feeling. Ratty was loved dearly, and she knew that. One thing I've said several times to myself and others: the greatest unfairness of life is that our precious, unconditionally loving pets live shorter lives than we do. Please come here to share more if you wish, and to get support and understanding. Sending you hugs...
Cindy (Buddy’s mama)
My baby Buddy 5/4/10-3/7/20, rescued March 2011
My sweet Mandy 11/27/91-11/2/10, rescued November 1992
My beautiful Barney 4/28/73-9/7/92, adopted May 1973
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Ashley - I am so sorry for the loss of Ratty.  She had a short time on this earth but it was filled with love.  It sounds like you gave her a wonderful last few months.  Remember that.  She was lucky to have a mom like you.  It will start to get better slowly, in small increments.

Best to you and bless you.
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I am so sorry . You gave her a wonderful life full of love and she in return gave it back to you with all the little things our pets do. I am still in the grieving process as it has only been 4 days since I lost my baby Fancy girl.. We all know it just takes time and it is ok to feel all the emotions that come up. Keep posting on the board as it really does help. It has been a Godsend for me to speak to others that understand
alan farlowe
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Thank you everyone who replied. I feel a great sense of peace at having typed all that out and hearing words of validation and comfort from you all. I pray we all find peace and comfort in our happy memories of our beloved animal friends 
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I'm so sorry that you lost Ratty..., but grateful she was in your arms when she left for Home. I believe they know when their time is near and they want to be close to us. RIP, Ratty... 🧡
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