Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Planting and Burying: A Day In The Dirt
I spent my day in the dirt today.... planting the summer bulbs that I bought for my mother, and burying Darius, my oldest daughter's pet rat.
Hard, dirty, sweaty work. And heartbreaking and backbreaking and filled with relief, too.
Little Darius, a domesticated white rat, was 3 years old. That's ancient in ratty-years. He was just a little bag of bones at the end; he had lost a lot of his glossy white fur, and his little pink eyes had lost their sparkle. He stopped eating his food almost 5 days ago, and stopped drinking water almost 2 days ago. In the end, he would only take a little nibble of cantelope or honeydew melon... enough to keep his teeny ratty-lips moist. He was the sweetest, most loveable boy, and if you have never had a pet rat and the notion disgusts you, well, you don't know what you are missing. Rats are not mindless little hamsters that croak if you stress them out saying "BOO!" They love to be out of thier cage playing, and the more you play and train with them, the better they are. Darius and his brother Scooby came running if you called thier names. (We never locked their cage, they had full run of the house.) They could sit and give 'paws' for food, they could do tricks and cuddle right along side you all night. They even purred (a ratty purr is like a chuck-chuck-chuck sound) when you scritched their cheekies.
I stayed up with Darius most of the night, and held him most of today until he died. If I put him down for a moment he would cry and try to crawl to me, so I just gave up and held him until he finally said goodbye.
Abby took his passing much better than I did, but that's because I shielded her from the worst of it.
Little Darius will be greatly missed. Sigh. I loved that little ratter.
He was pretty prosh, too. Just look at the picture of him and Scooby and the feather boa.
(Scooby is the dark grey rat. Dar is the white one.)