The Rat Fan Club
Rat of the Week
You can submit
your rat for Rat of the Week by sending a photo and a little story about
your rat by email or snail mail to the addresses at the bottom of the
page. Please include your name
and where you live.
This is Annie, or sometimes Anna Banana, who lives with three other
rats and her humans, Joep and Midori, in the Hague. When we first got her at about
eight months old, Annie was a reserved little beast who most often used her
roaming time to fall asleep in some difficult to find corner. She got
along well with other rats, and was first to welcome an abused ritten who
we adopted into the group, but she was mostly quiet and shy.
Since the unexpected death of a domineering alpha rat, Annie has
flourished. Once afraid of reaching her front paws too far when
bridging a gap, she has become quite the little mountain scaling
explorer. It seems as if she hit one year old and began to age
backward, becoming more playful and agile with time. As our oldest
rat, she is a firm but kind alpha for the rest of the group. Her
social skills also extend to humans, for she has earned a smile from many a
rat-skeptical house guest. She has became a patient and enduring embodiment
of that rat trademarked lust for life.
Last July, when she was 23 months of age, we discovered a lump
under Annie’s front left leg. It was the infamous mammary
tumor. We were stricken, and modified the diet of all of our rats to
include plenty of veggies and soybeans. We tried to treat the tumor
non-surgically with our vet, but it continued to grow. The vet, while
very helpful, was uncertain about anesthetizing a two year old rat.
We watched Anna carefully, and her vivacity didn't waver for a
moment. Finally, with some encouragement from the most helpful
website of the Rat Lady Debbie Ducommun, we told our vet we wanted to have
the tumor removed, despite the risks of surgery.
That was November 11, ten days before this picture. Annie
pulled through the surgery like a hero. The first few days after the
operation were a bit frightening, because she was sleepy and lethargic, as
if her old age had suddenly caught up with her. This is not to
mention the two and a half inch incision on her side. But now, she's
back to her same youthful self. In fact, she's just that much better,
with no tumor under her arm to slow her down. Twenty seven months
young, and her biggest worry is the new cage of two month old rittens of
whom she thinks she must also become the leader. And, tumor-free,
she's still got enough strength and energy to play with them.
So, this is a
thank you. Thank you to Joep, for "getting" Annie's surgery
for my birthday. Thank you to Debbie, for your website, the first
place we looked when we found the tumor and the source of our courage to go
through with the operation. Thank you to the Dierenartsen Praktijk
Laakkwartier, who helped us afford the operation and answered our many
questions. (You guys have our recommendation to any rat owners in the
area.) And, of course, thank you to Miss Anna Banana, for your bright
inquisitive eyes, your sprightly upright ears, and for toughing it out and
staying with us. May you stick around for a long time to come.