To my beloved girl….thank you for the most wonderful 27 months. I loved each and every one of them with you. Your life started after I was told by a Kaia, a Texas rescue, let me know about a person looking for a home for a mom and her new litter. When I contacted the woman I found out this young mom had been bought to feed the husband’s snake and then she gave birth. The wife decided this meant that she needed to be rehomed instead of eaten, and I came into the picture. I went over right away and found the mom in a horribly smelly wet critter keeper with her pinkies and I took them home. Miracle the mom (or Mira for short) was an amazingly gentle giving mom, and she even took in some orphaned babies only a few days younger than her litter. At one point Mira was nursing successfully 20 tiny babies. Pele had a LOT of siblings. I will admit for the first 16 days, you were just “one of those cute PEW babies” but on Day 17 both our lives changed. I took you to my mom’s for the weekend with your mom, your new step-sister Syla, and your siblings. Put you on the desk in a small cage. I didn’t realize that there was a wild male rat that had gotten into my mom’s house and when you poked your curious nose through the bars at 3 am he bit you and tried to drag you out of the cage to kill you. I woke up on the couch nearby to the sound of gasping. I rushed to the cage and found you bleeding profusely and gasping through the blood and swelling. I turned on all the lights, moved the cage to a safer place and pulled you out. I was able to give you Metacam from my travelling rat med kit, but the bleeding and swelling was seriously dangerous and I held you until you finally stopped gasping and we dozed. You were never able to nurse from your mom again, and I agonized over you. You slept on me all weekend at my moms, I would put you back with your mom hoping you would nurse but you weren’t able to due to the swelling. So from that day on, you and I were always together. Once you got over the worst, I saw you were Special, unable to do a lot of normal ratty things. There was a disconnect between your paws and your mouth, you were always flapping your tongue out of your mouth constantly, and it only stopped when you were deep asleep. You were my special needs girl that would always need soft foods, lots of love and special care to survive and thrive. You had lots of ratty friends, but especially loved the oldies even as a very tiny wee, and would share soft foods and cuddles with them. Almost all rats loved this tiny brave loving girl but there were some that either didn’t like her or were too rough for her gentle soul. In the end I split her from her remaining siblings and she became the ultimate Bed Rat. Her top incisors fell out from the damage and I had x-rays done of her head as I was sure there were fractures to her skull but it turned out that her skull grew deformed due to the injuries instead. We had to trim her bottom teeth which grew fast but luckily grew outside of her mouth so there was never any internal damage. J Pele at 3 weeks Her x-rays for the medically inclined Pele molting – a pink hoodie? She and I grew closer and closer over the years, we were always together although occasionally I had to cage her with her current companions, but she went away with me on weekend visits to my Mom, …developing our patterns of behavior. She had and lost any older friends but she and I always had each other. Sharing my morning coffee was a definite ritual. She would often insist on cuddles or back scratches even before eating her lab block mush which she got twice a day. She would put her little paws on my hand or curl into my hands then lick me. She loved to sleep in my hands, over my legs, on my stomach, or especially draping herself over my foot. LOL. In the last year or so I would curl up on my side to sleep, and I would pick her up and put her front feet and body on my flat hand. She would then shift until all her feet were on my hand, I would stroke her, we would both take a deep breath then drift off to sleep knowing all was right in the world. She would wake me up in the morning, and greet me when I got home from work. Weekends were super special for both of us. I cannot describe how much just being with Pele would balance my sometimes topsy turvy world. A few cuddles and kisses and I would feel at peace again. Life will be a little difficult for the next while, but it was time for my beloved to move onto her next life as my little Miracle was able to live almost 27 wonderful lives when she really should’ve left me at 17 days of age so for that I will always be grateful. Pele and old man Nigel, the first of many older companions My little “hamster-head” loved babies She was able to lick flat things but she couldn’t lick out of a dish for the longest time but was able to eat out of cups on their side More of that infamous tongue LOL A month and a half old and the lap cuddling begins Sleep sweet my love.