It’s been a few days now and it still is not any easier to write these posts. Our second Mynx, one of the Prodigal Sons passed to the Rainbow Bridge on Dec 22, 2009. I will remember him as one of the strongest willed rats I have known … and I will miss his indomitable spirit.
Being on vacation this week let us sleep in a bit so breakfast was a little later than usual. Even with that extra bit of sleep you cannot be prepared to wake up and find one of your little ones passed on to the Rainbow Bridge. Since everyone is used to eating earlier I immediately make them breakfast once I wake up. Today, like every day, I count heads once I put the plates into their homes; and, I make sure there are no stragglers … everyone needs their breakfast.
BJ was nestled into a corner so I reached in to pick her up and put her with her sisters. She was cold to the touch. She was gone. Mrs.R and I both had the same dream that one of the girls has passed, little did we know it was BJ saying goodbye.
Black Jack played his last hand today. He played it well, then in the quiet of the afternoon he left for the Rainbow Bridge.
Today is Friday and like most Fridays I spend the day taking care of things around home. I do laundry. I clean the boys’ cages. I vacuum. I run some errands. My day fills up quickly.
Laundry was laundry, what can i say … it’s laundry. Cleaning the boys’ homes was fairly mundane with the exception of taking the doors off Black jack’s section as he had managed to coat the entire lower frame with his splashing about in his meals. Black Jack’s diet of late has been primarily our “baby food” breakfast. He always had his dry staple food available but with his “advanced” age it was much easier to make sure he was eating by providing breakfast four to five times a day, depending on his appetite. Black Jack had what I call “old man syndrome”, appearing much older than what his chronological age or as compared to his brothers. As frail as he was he was still very spirited and if left to his own devices would quickly find his way to the floor or some other place that he really should not have gotten into.
Today was no different for Black Jack, or at least that is what I believed. I had moved him to his “box” while I cleaned up his home. He seemed comfortable and went to sleep, although I was a little concerned when I picked him up from his cage. He was cool to the touch, more so than the room temperature would cause and although slightly agitated and freely moving he felt “stiff”. After I had finished with his Ferret Nation and was preparing to take him home I decided to sit with him for a bit as he seemed … he seemed … well, his eyes were near empty.
We sat together for a while. He slept for a bit, then woke up seemingly refreshed and ready for lunch. There was still a bit of breakfast left from this morning, enough to tide him over for a couple of hours. He was more interested in simply going home and getting comfortable in familiar surroundings … little did I know. Black Jack bluffed me into believing he would be fine, although I think I really knew that today was likely going to be his last and just was not ready to accept it, yet.
I put Black Jack into a freshly made nest, and finished getting ready to go out. Black Jack played his last hand while I was gone; this time … it was a bust.
It was lunch time today. Moonie, or as sometimes he better answered to Mr.Moon, had gone for a swim … in his breakfast dish. We have been feeding all our rats a mixture of baby cereal and baby food from a jar for years. A bit of a daily treat if you will, but also as a means to administer medications as the case may be.
Today, like most every day, I am home for lunch to check on the boys and girls. Just because … no other reason of late. Moonie had decided it would be a good thing to take a header into his breakfast dish. Enough so that he was a semi-sticky mess and needed a “shower”. When I say shower, I mean a quick rinse under the tap with warm water then a good towel drying.
Yesterday, Mr.Moon was not quite himself but only in that he wanted to sleep more than usual and was very warm, so much so that he would lay on top of the nesting materials in his habitat, and on top of the blankets we put out for free range time. That was about all the indication that Moonie was not well. During his shower he seemed tired yet agitated. I turned off the water and let him settle down in the sink, not having planned a lunchtime shower I had not gotten out anything to dry him with and he seemed fine to sit in the sink and wait until I did. I returned a moment later, towels in hand. I picked up Moonie and just as I was about to start drying him, he took a deep breath, sighed and left for the Rainbow Bridge. It was his time.
Today was Ash’s day. We hadn’t planned it. It just turned out that way.
Ash was sound asleep this morning at breakfast, he’s normally awake. Although his appetite has been waning he would still eat his breakfast every morning. Today he just wasn’t interested.
Ash was an affectionate little critter, always wanting and giving kisses. He would happily run up onto your shoulder and then stretch to give a kiss, or steal one as the case may be. Today he was too tired.
He’s been tired for some time now. He would come out for free range time, but would more often than not just find a comfortable corner and lay down. Today … today we knew it was most likely the day. Today we took Ash on a field trip.
We took Ash to the Cheltenham Badlands. Not your usual rat day trip, this was our very first one. Mrs.R took some pictures, you can find them on the RatChatter forums. Here is the original picture of Ash in my pocket, where he spent most of his time while we were there.
Mr. Ash found his way to the Rainbow Bridge a few hours after we returned home. He seemed quite peaceful and passed quietly in Mrs.R’s arms.
For most of the last hour I held little Prongs as he began the journey that would take him to the rainbow bridge.
Prongs is one of the prodigal sons. He is one of the boys who were returned home by our daughter. He seemed to have been waiting for her visit tonight.
Although time was beginning to show itself in Prongs he was still spry and loved to jump onto your shoulder once the door to the Ferret Nation he lived in was opened. He would often turn right around and jump back onto your shoulder after free range time. Tonight, after our daughter’s visit, Prongs seemed just a bit older than when she was here.
She had given him kisses and snuggled with him and he was happy. Although when I went to return him to his home with his brothers he appeared very tired, like he had used up all his energy waiting to see his Mama. Our daughter had been on vacation and had actually only returned a few hours before. Dinner with Mrs.R and myself; a visit with her boys; then, off to her friends. All was well in the world.
Prongs laid in my hands or arms … or hands … or arms. He was restless, then he was quiet, then restless, then quiet again. He took some water first from my finger tips then from the bowl I held to his lips. He became restless again, then quieted down to “help” me with some work. Once he got himself situated to see the screen he settled right in. About ten minutes later he nodded his head, took a deep breath and went on his way to the Rainbow Bridge.
Ratchet became Ratchetu when he came into our home. There will only ever be one Ratchet!
Ratchetu had lived in the same home as our three girls I wrote about here. He had lived alone and was troublesome to introduce to any of our other boys so he stayed in the same room but in his own habitat. This was only for a couple of months before the Blue Crew came home.
Turq, Shadow, Colby, and Tanzi were so young and they fit in so well with Ratchetu that he no longer needed to live alone. He had four baby boys to tend; and, along the way he earned his more common name. Rachetu became Papachu or simply Papa. He took great care of the blue boys. He made the best pillow and he always kept the peace.
Today Papa just didn’t seem quite himself. He was quiet. He would not eat, not even a special treat of cooked chicken. He would not drink. He just wasn’t interested and if one thing could be said about Papa … he was always interested in food! We set him up on the love seat in the living room to better keep watch. We did not believe it to be too serious but felt better about having him nearby.
Papa passed to the rainbow bridge around 4:30 in the afternoon while Mrs.R was petting him. It was peaceful and quiet … and his time.
That was the time, 5:21 AM, that Number 8 left for the Rainbow Bridge.
He was our “old man rat” for the longest time. Thin, a little slow moving, but still with a good appetite and an attitude. He snuggled on his terms, and his terms only.
Mrs.R and I had been expecting this for the last few days, maybe a week. Unfortunately we are starting to see these signs more clearly when the bridge is calling for these “old man rat” boys. They start getting quieter. They sleep just that little bit more. They take just that little bit longer to eat. Its almost as if they are savoring the last little bit of time they have with us before going to be with their brothers and sisters.
Mrs.R stayed with him or he stayed with her, depending on your perspective, last night as we were fairly certain it was time …
… a few minutes after 5:30 Mrs.R woke me. Number had passed. She whispered it was 5:21 when he left and I thought to myself … 8.