… Gone Too Soon

Templeton was one of the Tremendous Trio. He passed March 6, 2007. The three of them, Templeton, Teetu, and Inky were adopted to give Charlie some company in his “old age”. Mrs. Rattitude and I had been talking about adopting some more rats for a little while but we were a little reluctant to actually decide to do it … I don’t recall why, but we were.

I remember looking for a local breeder. Someone to adopt some young little ratties from. All of our little ones had come from pet stores and all of our boys were at least six months old when we adopted them, even our girls Samantha and Serena who were the youngest adopted rats were at least four months old when we brought them home.

Mrs. Rattitude and I both had decided we would prefer to adopt very young boys as our recent research told us that the very young and the old would be an easier introduction and better living arrangement. Charlie had seemed so out of sorts after Casper left, we just couldn’t bear to let him be depressed as he looked.

I made some calls and wrote a few emails and tried several searches on the Internet. I just could not find a local breeder that was still actively adopting out little ones. Charlie wasn’t getting any younger, or happier on his own so something had to be done … that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! I finally found some young boys at a pet store … 2 hours away! There must be a pet store closer that would have youngsters. Then I remembered there was a pet store in the largest mall in the city, I searched out their telephone number and called them.

After some minor confusion on their end of the telephone line I was connected through to the small animals department. Yes, they had young boys, very recent arrivals … only 2 months old to the best of the young lady’s knowledge. Aha! I thanked her for her time and waited to talk with Mrs. Rattitude about adopting more little ones. (Just a side note: it wasn’t much of an argument I had to make, she really wanted to adopt little ratties, maybe more than I did.)

We drove over to the pet store a couple of days later. They had three little boys in one of their display cages. We found a sales clerk. As fate would have it she was the same girl I talked to on the telephone. She showed us the little ones and said how she really liked one of them. She called him Templeton.

We rarely ever adopt just one at a time and Templeton was a real cutie. We asked to see Templeton, and his two cage-mates. They were equally adorable. I looked at Mrs. Rattitude, she looked at me. We almost said at the same time, “we’ll take them.” The young girl looked at us not quite sure what we meant. I explained we would like to take all three of them. We couldn’t leave Templeton by himself (she did say something about maybe adopting him herself), and we definitely wanted to adopt two of them, so we just compromised and adopted all three.

We took them home and set the boys up in a smaller cage (best suited for the very young with small bar separations) and let them get settled in. The three passed through our quarantine period without any issues and then we started the introductions. It took a couple of visits but Charlie learned to accept them, or maybe tolerate them, but they all ended up living together in relative peace in the large boys habitat we have. The little cage was cleaned and put back into storage for our next group of youngsters?!

With the young girls we have, we had considered a possible single litter and from time to time we would give the boys and girls some alone time. Nothing has ever came of that. Unfortunately our first choice for papa rat was Templeton, his quiet subdued nature just seemed best to match with Serena, the highly inquisitive loving cuddly female (something of a rarity from our understanding). That’s not going to happen now, perhaps given that little Templeton is gone it’s for the best.

We are not really sure what happened to Templeton. I found him in the morning of the day before lying quietly in the bottom tent. Nothing unusual about that. He often slept quietly while his brothers ran rough-shod over the rest of their home. He just seemed a little more quiet than usual this time.

Teetu seemed rather agitated that I was getting Templeton out, so did Inky.

I gently pulled him out of the tent and made a full exam. All his paws were a good pink color; no swelling; warm, not hot or cold. I could find no bite marks or torn ears, or even any of the common “red” around his nose or eyes. His breathing was slightly labored, but there was no wheezing, or rattle. Templeton did not squirm, or squeal, or make any sort of movement that indicated any discomfort. I thought to myself, “OK, he seems to check out fine.” I’m no vet, but I was quite comfortable with giving Templeton the once over.

That night, Mrs. Rattitude and I decided it may be better for Templeton to spend some time in our “healing cage”. He was still being a little quieter than usual, and we had thought that perhaps he had fallen and Teetu and Inky were just too rowdy for Templeton to get the rest he needed to recover. There was still no reason for us to believe he was seriously hurt, or even in any sort of discomfort. There were simply no telltale symptoms. We had the three of them out for some play time and Templeton was lapping up the attention Mrs. Rattitude was doling out.

We have a 15 gallon aquarium we keep for when we think a rat may need care above and beyond what we can provide in a group setting. We set up the healing home and placed Templeton in it. He made his way around and located his food and water. He ate; he drank; then, he went and curled up in the nesting materials we had put in for him.

When Mrs. Rattitude checked on him not even an hour later, he was gone.

Templeton is survived by his brothers Teetu and Inky, as well as his girlfriend Serena and her sister Samantha. His feline friends, Sony, Boo, Roo, and Cinder as well as Mrs. Rattitude and myself will miss him dearly. We know he is waiting at the Rainbow Bridge for us with his papa Charlie and our other furry friends.