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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.





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