This was not my usual rat laundry day but this has not been a usual week either. Mrs.R and myself have been on vacation this week and aside from some unexpected medical issues it has been rather uninteresting until today.
I had just finished taking the rat laundry from the dryers and was going back to the folding counter when an immigrant family decided they needed to do their laundry in the exact same area, ignoring the other four rows of washers to choose from. I just went about my business of folding and putting the laundry back into the clean hampers. I was listening to a random shuffle on my iPod and had not really noticed the two elderly ladies that had started doing their laundry on the other side of the washer line I was at. As I removed the earphones one of them asked, “How many dogs do you have?”
She said she recognized the blankets being the same as she used for her Chihuahua. I said they were not for dogs, but were for my pets. We chatted a moment or two longer when I remembered a recent post I made and decided to push the envelope a bit more. I led in with they are for pocket pets. Her friend was quite attentively listening and asked what are pocket pets? The first lady suggested ferrets; I took the opening and said, “No, mine are rats, pet rats.”
The first lady grimaced, the second let out a little “oh” and I smiled seeing an opportunity to explain the greatness of pet rats. Given the use of the blankets for their pet dog, I used the similarity between rats and dogs. The intelligence, the train-ability, the bonding, and especially the commonality of small breeds of dogs and rats. The first lady was still being skeptical, but starting to accept the possibility of a rat as a pet, the second lady appeared to think it was very interesting but curbed her enthusiasm as it might not sit well with the first. I spent another five minutes or so with the ladies explaining other benefits to rat keeping, and trying to explain how there are ladies of their age (“no offense”) that breed and keep rats. The first lady asked several times if I breed rats, which I replied each time with, “no, we are not breeders” but some of our boys have come from professional breeders.
I think it was a good laundry day and quite fortuitous to be able to try and explain the benefits of fancy rats as pets and companion animals … just like having dogs.