World Rat Day

On this World Rat Day I want to reflect on my pet rat Melanie.

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Today is World Rat Day.  Yes, it does seem like we have a holiday for everything.  In this case, it is justified, at least in my book.  I love rats.  They are one of my favorite animals.

On this World Rat Day I want to reflect on my pet rat Melanie.  I had her when I lived in Florida and she was one of the only bright spots of my time in that hellhole of a state, besides my kids of course.  She was a gray rat and I named her after the character in Gone with the Wind.  She was sweet, affectionate, and loved to sit on my shoulder or inside my hood.  She even got along with my cats and would groom them.  Melanie also is the cleanest pet I ever had and would act upset if I was a little late cleaning her cage that day.

Unfortunately, Melanie got cancer.  This is fairly common in domesticated rats.  It broke my heart having to euthanize her.  To this day, I miss having a rat as a pet and I miss Melanie something fierce.  I want to get another rat friend, however the place I live now is not a fan of rodents.  I am against pet discrimination rules like this for the simple fact that not everyone is a dog or cat person.

Rats are a very misunderstood animal.  Yes, wild rats can be dangerous and do carry diseases.  However, they are also shy creatures who really try to avoid people if they can help it, and who are excellent mothers known for teaching their babies things like how to take a bath.  Domesticated rats are often judged by their wild cousins, and worse are often used for experiments.  I guess the feeling is that it is; “just a rat”.

Anyone who ever met Melanie would tell you that “just a rat” does a disservice to these awesome animals.  If you had known her, you would know why I say this.  She was unique and loved life.  Who can hate a creature that wants to sleep on your neck and eat leftover fruit?

Author: Stacie M Stark

Activist with 25 years of experience in human and animal rights and welfare. Specializing in children's rights and issues, LGBT rights, and companion animal welfare and rights. Member and always will be of Amnesty International, Best Friends Animal Society, and PETA. Mom, queer, vegetarian. Hello Kitty and Disney Princess collector. Cat lover. Sagwa fan. I want to live at the public library.

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