Baby, Pit Bull mix (1 y/o) – Available for adoption from @nycacc. Bone given by @jwitthuhn • “A lot of people refer to us as ‘the city shelter’ and use the term 'kill-shelter’. We took in 35,000 animals in 2015 with an 86% overall live-release rate (89% for dogs). To be designated as 'No-kill’, the number has to be 90%. We see a lot of owner surrenders, where people think it’s a good idea to adopt an animal, and then return it for reasons like 'too energetic’, 'chewing up things’, 'not housebroken’, etc. Our admissions department has prevented over 1,000 surrenders by helping people keep their pets, offering services like behavior training, free or low cost veterinary care, spay/neuter surgeries. We aren’t the bad guys. We want to help as much as anyone. ACC staff really care about the animals in our shelters. We strive everyday to expand our programs and improve the quality of life for the animals in our care.”
Oliver was easily the most beloved of all my rats. There was just something about his personality that set him apart from everyone else and I knew that losing him would be the hardest rat death for me. He came to me as a female from a pet store- he had undescended testicles so he looked very much like a girl and I named him Rosie. Then he managed to get a big cut on his stomach days after I got him and upon closer inspection to his injury, I noticed that he didn’t look like a typical female and one of his balls was starting to drop. I panicked a bit because at the time I only had females and I didn’t know much about neutering rats. I eventually got in contact with a rat rescue who gave me the name of a low cost spay neuter clinic near me (which has been a godsend). I actually considered giving him up to someone who had boys but I decided to go ahead and neuter him because I read that the cancer risk for him was much higher because of the cryptosporidium (missing balls lol). So he was essentially “spayed” because they had to go into his abdomen to find the other one but at 10 weeks he made it through surgery successfully and eventually was integrated into my group of girls.
He was trouble from the start- medical problems aside. He was insanely high energy and would keep me up all night. He was constantly getting beat up (lightly, no real injuries) by some of my girls because he was so goddamn annoying that they had to put him in his place a lot. He never acted like a typical lazy male. I always joked that I got the reject boy who never wanted to snuggle or sit still. He wanted to explore and play with everything and was always the first to figure out how to escape from his free range areas or rip through expensive items he found. Despite being a neutered male, he despised any new rats and it made the introduction process hell every time I got a new rat. He piddled absolutely everywhere and at all times. He basically did everything wrong and I loved him that much more for it.The mischievous rats always seem to win you over the most and he was the king of mischief.
He was the rat I had for the longest and it just seemed like he would always be around even though I knew someday he would die- but it seemed like a very distant future. Then he developed a tumor and he had already slowed down significantly being 2.5 years old so I had tons of internal debates about whether to operate. I eventually decided against it because he kept having flare ups of respiratory issues that were hard to control and I didn’t think he was strong enough to make it through surgery. He also despised medication (shocking, I know) and it was extremely difficult and stressful for both of us to try to gets meds into him twice a day. He reacted so extremely to smelling the medication and I tried literally everything to get meds into him. He eventually starting refusing any food on suspicion that it might have medicine in it so I started to back off the meds and focus on keeping weight on him. I know it’s hard to believe since he was obese for most of his life but it did get very thin at the end and my main priority was weight gain for him. So at the end I just tried my best to make him comfortable and one day he was having a lot of trouble breathing and just seemed like he wasn’t living a happy, pain-free life anymore. I tried really hard not to be selfish and keep him alive when he was suffering but it was so difficult to make the call to bring him in. When I got there, they asked if I wanted to a few more minutes with him, which I desperately did, but I just handed him over because he was so stressed by the car ride and wouldn’t sit still and was breathing so heavily I just couldn’t justify holding him any longer just because I wanted to say goodbye. When I got in my car I immediately ripped open the box they put him in and held him with me for the whole ride home and then laid down with him a bit until the rigor started to set in. I was almost laughing to myself because it was the only time in his life that I truly got to cuddle with him since he was always such a maniac and never wanted to be still. I’m happy that we’re living in the house now so he can stay here with us and not be left buried somewhere else.
He truly lived a full, happy life here with me. He got to have tons of other rat friends and although he protested at the beginning with each new rat, he eventually accepted them and loved his friends. He loved his snacks (and it showed) and I loved making and buying fun toys for him. He really started the obsession with rats for me. I had rats before and loved them but it was Oliver that really catapulted me into the full rat crazy life because he was also doing something new and weird and I had to look it up and deal with all his medical issues- I ended up learning so much from him. He also opened the floodgates for me in terms of getting boys in addition girls and that has led to, of course, tons of new rats.
He was a bright light in my life for two and half years and even now that that light has been extinguished, I hope he will live on in everyone’s memories. I know he changed a lot of people’s minds about rats with his smiley face and messy hair and blob shaped body. He was endearing and frustrating and so lovable at the same time. He could ruin my day and make it in the same instance and I will never be able to thank him enough for all of the joy he brought me and everyone around us. There are some rats who will never be replaced and I think a part of me will always be buried with him. I’m not big on destiny or anything but a part of me wonders if I was meant to get him. I think about the odds that a rat with cryptosporidium would find his way into a home where he would actually be neutered and cared for. I feel like most people would have either a) fed him as snake food since he was a baby or b) gotten him as a boy and left him intact where he would have developed cancer and died young. I don’t know too many people shopping at pet stores that have the means to neuter a rat and I’m so glad that I mistakenly bought him. It was the best mistake I ever made. He was the rat of all rats and I will miss him every day. Rest in peace my love- I hope you’re still stealing food and destroying toys and licking fingers wherever you are.