Tag Archives: rats

Day 15: Putting Myself On a Schedule

It was so hot today that the dogs and I slept on and off until four this afternoon. Buddy and I didn’t get to go on our walk until close to nine and even then it was still very hot. The humidity isn’t helping either. Summer has arrived in Oklahoma even though it doesn’t officially begin until next week.

Hotter days means higher electricity which means that if I need to do any work in the house, it will have to take place early in the morning or in the evening. The afternoons will be spent resting, playing computer games, writing, scrapbooking, or anything else that doesn’t require much movement.

All of this means I have to put myself on a schedule. I need to go to bed at a reasonable time (I usually call it a night at 3 in the morning) so that I can get up at a decent time to take Buddy for a walk before it gets too hot. Needless to say, I’m not fond of this new schedule because I am a night owl and I love being a night owl. Plus, if I go to bed too early, then I’m wide awake at four or five in the morning and I can’t go back to sleep. Then again, I can always walk Buddy that early and when we got back we could go back to sleep. It’s an idea.

Also, I need to figure out a way to make some extra pocket change and I need to get my lawn sprayed for pests and weeds (but I think I covered that a few days ago). So much to do, so little motivation.

On a lighter note, the dogs and rats are doing well. Buddy has learned that he is not allowed to bother the rats despite the fact that they intentionally provoke him. I keep a spray bottle around to spray the dogs when they’re doing something I don’t want them to do. Everyone, but Molly, avoids the spray bottle. Molly loves water, so it’s difficult to correct her in the rare case that she misbehaves. It’s mostly for the baby gate jumpers. Anyway, Buddy will sometimes attack the rats’ cage in order to get to them. I’ve only had to spritz him once or twice. Now, all I have to do is pick up the water bottle and he backs away from the cage. He really is the best behaved one out of my group.

I apologize for the past few posts being only pictures, I’ve been dealing with some depression and anxiety. The anxiety isn’t as bad, but the depression is still hanging out with me. I guess as long as it doesn’t try to smother me I won’t fight it. I just feel empty though; not happy, not sad, just here. I know that it will go away, but it sure is annoying while it is here.

One consolation is that Buddy lets me hug him and even rest my head on his back. He makes everything better. He certainly is my teddy bear.

Until next time, don’t let the summer heat get you down and if you’re not experiencing this horrible heat, don’t brag.

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Day 13: Three Random Pictures

Random pictures because I can’t adult today.

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One of my trees

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Close up of the Blossoms

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Razzy, a rat from a previous colony

Until next time, let that inner child out to play from time to time.


My Thoughts on Rescued Animals

*Disclaimer: I was a child in the early nineties, so my perception may or may not have been the actual perception of the adult world.*

Back in the early nineties, I never heard much about animal overpopulation. Yeah, there was talk about spaying and neutering, but I remember it being an expensive procedure and often female dogs in heat were just kept separate from the rest of the animals. Generally a female was spayed only in an emergency and males weren’t spayed. It was a fact of life that unaltered males roamed.

Generally pets were acquired from friends, or there was a sign in front of someone’s house announcing “Free Puppies” or “Free Kittens,” or people adopted strays. Those with money (definitely not my family) got dogs from breeders, those that didn’t have money, but still wanted purebred dogs got them from “breeders” (or puppy mills or backyard breeders as we call them today). Those with “Pedigree” dogs did have the bragging rights and those with mutts just shrugged and hoped that their dog was better than the pedigrees.

This is where my family got our dogs: from family friends, as strays, from oops litters of our own and others, and from breeders. Despite their origin, our dogs were family and were treated as such. We didn’t think about the fact that taking in a stray was considered a “rescue” or was “saving a life.” We just saw a dog with physical and personality characteristics that we liked and the dog became ours.

Fast forward to a few years ago. I was feeling the pressure to “rescue” because my family had never rescued animals in the past. Then as I read more and more literature, I realized that the term “rescue” is a broad term. The accepted term is used when someone adopts from a shelter or rescue, but I’ve seen people refer to animals they’ve taken in off the street, or those adopted off of Craigslist, or those taken in from a bad neighbor or former tenant.

That made me think about all the animals in the past and some of them could be deemed as “rescues.” Cujo, our Great Pyrenees/St. Bernard mix. He, along with a few other feral dogs, lived on a housing development construction site. My dad and the other workers fed this group of dogs to keep them from starving. Cujo, being a puppy, came home with my dad. Aztec and Muffin, brother and sister cats that we got from the shelter during the shelter’s kitten boom period. Penny, a rat terrier adopted from a shelter in OKC. I also got numerous rats from the same shelter I got Penny from. Zip and Bella, two Blue Heelers that probably got lost, but no one came looking for them. Others were Shaffer, Ares, a couple male rats that were abandoned at Petsmart, and so on. All of these animals can be deemed rescues…

But you know what? I never considered them rescues. They’ve always just been family members. When we adopted Ares we got a packet with coupons and on the packet it thanked us for saving a life. Saving a life? I never thought I was actually saving a life. In fact, Ares came from a no-kill shelter. So how could we save his life if he was in no danger of losing it? I realize that if I think too hard then my brain will explode.

I guess I have a different view on bringing animals into my home. They’re my family. I don’t like to look at where I got them from. I don’t want to know about their past. Their past doesn’t matter to me; only their future…with me.

To be honest, I hate the pressure that society puts on us pet owners to rescue animals because if you don’t you’re a heartless person. They don’t say that, but it is implied. Really, it is. Next time you watch those adoption commercials, pay close attention to what they’re saying and what they’re not saying.

I love my animals equally and I don’t feel that my rescued animals love me more or less than those I got from breeders. I can’t speak for everyone, though.

I apologize if this was a rambling mess. I just wanted to write out my thoughts. I also apologize for my long period of silence. I was ill for three weeks and in bed for most of the time I was sick.

So, until next time save a life and rescue a human. They will love you for it.


Rats! I did it again!

So…I decided to go by the OKC Animal Welfare Division today. I wasn’t looking for anything or anyone special, I just had a day off and felt compelled to visit the shelter. This particular shelter is a very nice shelter. Most of the animals, especially the kittens or mothers with puppies, have suites rather than cages and people can go in and play with the animals. For the ones who have to be in cages, there are three rooms designated for people to take the dogs out of the cages and play with the dogs to see if the dog is compatible with their lifestyle. However, there aren’t just dogs and cats at this shelter. They sometimes get exotics in and there is a special room for exotic animals. This is where my tail…er tale begins.

As I was walking toward the dog area, motion caught my eye and I looked in a room and saw two large aquariums with rats in each one. I assumed one held males and one held females. After a short wait, one of the shelter workers (or volunteers) retrieved the key so I could go in. I was immediately drawn to the male rats, not simply because I have males, but because of the size of a couple of the males in the aquarium. Mind you, I’ve always wanted a large rat which is the reason why my colony consists of males rather than females.

After little deliberation, I decided that I wanted to adopt two of the males. Their adoption price? $1.00 each. I didn’t adopt them right then, though. I glanced at the kittens in their suites and then looked at the dogs. I wasn’t drawn to any, except two Shih Tzu who had just come out of spay/neuter surgery, but since my husband won’t let me have another Shih Tzu, I didn’t pursue them any further than to inquire when they were ready for adoption.

Then it was time to adopt my rats. I couldn’t find two dollars in my purse so I had to use my debit card. A couple workers and I laughed about how people rarely use cash anymore and how cash is always the first thing spent in our purses. After signing some paperwork, I chose my two rats and drove home.

No, my story doesn’t end there.

I put the rats in one of the ferret cage while I went to get an aquarium from work. I know actual rat cages are better for them, but until I can order one I settled for an aquarium. While paying for the aquarium, I thought about the other two male rats that I left behind. “Monday,” I told myself. “Monday I’ll go get them.”

So I returned home knowing that I wouldn’t get them Monday.

I put the new boys and my boys in the aquarium together. I expected them to bicker or something, but they immediately sniffed at each other and groomed each other. Positive sign. Even more positive was that the aquarium would hold six rats.

Yep, I fished five dollars from my tip jar and drove back to the shelter to get the other two boys. They weren’t surprised to see me again. They were happy that the boys were going to a good home. If I had two or three more cages and money to spay/neuter my rats, I would have walked out of there with the females too.

When I got home I added the two boys to the rest. Everyone groomed each other and piled up for a nice nap. The new boys are so much bigger than my boys, but they all act as if they’ve known each other their entire lives. Below is a picture of a pile of rats. Sorry it is kind of hard to see, had I taken the lid off the rats would have scattered.

The six posts after this one is an up close and personal look at each of my boys. Enjoy…

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Ciel and Pip

Yesterday, my husband and I added two new family members to our menagerie of pet-children. It’s a funny story how I got them…okay, not necessarily funny, but interesting.

Working where I do, I’m exposed to many animals of all shapes and sizes. Since the grooming salon is in the back of the store I have to pass by most of these animals. Among these animals are rats.

A few years back, I had pet rats. I really enjoyed them and I didn’t realize how much I missed them until I started spending more and more time passing their cages and stopping to look at them.

At first it was just a quick stop to see if we had any rats. If we did, I’d say how cute they were, but remind myself that these were male rats and I had female rats. I didn’t want male rats. It has nothing to do with male rat personalities, but with their dangly male parts. It’s kind of weird to see. So I decided that I’d go to another store in Norman where they carried only female rats.

Then my desire to get pet rats again got stronger and stronger. Soon I didn’t care if I got males or females, I just wanted to have them again. It finally came to a head on Monday. My husband wanted to know what I wanted for my birthday which is tomorrow. I didn’t know what I wanted at first, but then I stopped at the rats again. Yep, I wanted rats for my birthday.

I asked one of the people in pet care to see one of the rats. She told me about a rat they had for adoption that only had one eye. I wanted to see him and immediately fell in love with him. I was going to make him mine.

Then yesterday my husband and I went shopping and we came home with a bunch of rat stuff, the one-eyed rat, and another one so he could have a little friend. I held them a little last night. I was going to wait to name them, but I started to look up names.

Eventually I settled on Ciel for the one-eyed rat, named after a boy in Black Butler who lost his eye, and Pip for the other rat. Pip is the main character in the novel Great Expectations.

So…that brings the amount of pets up to: three dogs, four cats, and two rats. Eventually we’re going to get a ferret because my husband wants one. Yeah, we’re crazy, but that’s okay.

Until next time, keep your whiskers clean.