Friday, April 15, 2011

RIP Ee-Grek

Double-V's brother Ee-Grek died sometime early this morning. I knew it was going to happen last night or today because he wasn't moving much and wouldn't eat or drink on his own. I had him on the remaining pain-killer, so I don't think he felt very much. He had a couple of seizures that must have been strokes which hopefully numbed him that much more.

They were both good pets. The only real damage they caused was to Kate's mom's nightgown, which Kate left a little too close to their cage one night. We were in Sudbury for the weekend, staying at Mary's (Kate's mom) house, and Kate had borrowed one of Mary's nightgowns, a bright red one. She didn't actually sleep in it, but wore it in the evening and dropped it on the floor at bed time. In the morning she put the nightgown on and went cooking in the kitchen with Mary. Eventually, Mary noticed a sizeable hole in the nightgown and asked what had happened to it, suggesting that perhaps the rats had gotten a hold of it somehow. Kate insisted that our beloved rats would never do such a thing, and that Mary must have mice in the house, sneaking around at night chewing holes in clothes left on the floor. The matter was dropped until I woke up and checked in on the rats. The first thing I noticed was a bunch of red material tucked away in a corner of the cage. When I emerged from the bedroom and saw the giant hole in the red nightgown Kate was wearing I mentioned that the rats must have been chewing on it during the night, pointing to the red material in the cage as evidence. Kate apologized for both the destruction of the nightgown and the blaming of the damage on fictitious mice.

We got the pair from the SPCA, the humane society in Quebec basically. They were almost full grown when we got them, and over the two years we had them they fattened up quite a bit, especially Ee-grek, who was more inclined to stay in his cage than investigate the house. Dube was much more adventurous. He would often leave the cage and sneak his way to the cat food bowl on the far side of the kitchen and living room. I would see his running back and forth from the cat's food to behind the couch, where we was storing piles of cat kibble. Once I even found Dube on top of the coffee table. The legs of the table are well under the actual top, making the climb for Dube a treacherous one, but also one that he evidently made. I was quite impressed actually to see him on top of the table, and I spent ten minutes trying to figure out how the hell he got up there. I finally concluded that he must have muscled his way up.

I know some people don't like rats. Many guests have commented on it. The tails are long and scary, people are afraid they'll bite them, and the stigma with rats of course is that they carry disease, but they really are good pets. They train very easily, and while they do tend to pee wherever the please, they almost always poo in a litter if you provide one to them. They also never bite, some can of course if they're wild, but if you get a Fancy Rat (the domesticated breed) they don't bite. Sometimes I gave them soft food, like wet cat food, from the tip of my finger. At first they want to grab it and run, mainly so the other one can't get any of it, but they kind of test if out first and when they realize the only thing to grab is your finger, they stop and just lick off the food. They can cause some mischief, they can grab onto things, and they love to gather material and paper. If you leave an important document out where they can reach it, they will destroy it for you. I don't know if dogs will actually eat your homework, but rats most certainly will.

We're probably not going to get anymore, at least for a while. For one the rats at the SPCA tend to have viruses that lead to pneumonia. The rats are in close proximity, and the virus just spreads through them all. Ee-Grek didn't suffer from pneumonia, but Dube was very often on anti-biotics. Unlike human anti-biotics, rat anti-biotics are expensive and do little to cure the problem. He ended up being rather expensive. Many animals are put down in Montreal, hundreds of cats a month and who knows how many rats and other small creatures, but it's hard to justify the expense, at least right now.

We will miss the rats, but I think they both lived pretty good lives for rats, and both died fairly quickly and with a minimal amount of pain and discomfort, as far as I can tell anyway. I mostly sad that the little guys didn't even get to see one Leaf playoff game in their whole lives.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

RIP Double-V

Double-V, one of our rats, died last weekend. He wasn't moving on Saturday morning, and he didn't move much all day until he finally died around 10pm. I had some pain killers for the rats so he was pretty drugged up for the final few hours. He had been sick most of his life and often on anti-biotics, and two and a half years old for a rat is pretty old.

Ee-Grek is obviously old, but he's doing fairly well. It seems rats become paralyzed in their old age, and Eeg doesn't move very well due to paralyzation in his hind quarters. I also suspect he had a stroke the day after Dube died. He starter having seizures, and he keeled over to one side. I noticed that some of the Gatorade he was drinking was coming out of his mouth, which led me to think he was choking or something. I pumped his chest and he seemed to recover, but a few days later I noticed his right paw is always curled up. I think he had a stroke on his left side and has even less control of his body now. During my research of senior rats, I read that they often have strokes when they're older. I don't know how much time Eeg has left, but I'm making sure he's comfortable and dry. I have to change his bedding often since he just pees where he is and then sits in it.

On to more uplifting news though. I went into my final grammar exam with an 85% average. I expect to get an A- at least, hopefully I can score an A though. The exam was tougher than I expected it to be. I think I got the right answer, but it took me a long time to determine that "via" is a preposition. I got my Camera II mark back and it was an A, straight As in my camera classes with four to go; I've finished six classes so far.

Back to sad news, the Leafs once again  missed the playoffs, but at least I can absorb the Habs' playoff run. I suspect they won't do as well as last year unless Price pulls a magic act out of his butt, but the first round Boston/Montreal series should be a greast one to watch.

I start full time French classes in May. I had an evaluation yesterday, and I'm in level three of six. I'm pleased with that, my knowledge of French grammar is what got me into the third level. Hopefully my coversation will quickly catch up. The classes are 20 hours a week so I expect to be quite busy once it starts. Each level is quite a few weeks so if I chose I can take these French classes for quite a long time.

Kate is finally home from her work trip so I must finish up here.