I can watch the ones of rats that died a few years ago, like Ivan & Wyatt, & just feel normal-sad. I miss them immensely, but I’ve grown accustomed to them being gone & it’s not like I’m going to start bawling at the thought of them. but I cannot watch the ones of Bug, I tried playing one & video-me opened up the cage door & video-Bug came lunging for my hand like he was gonna bite it & then he just gave me his evil Bug glare & it hurt too much to go any further.
I miss him very much.
August 2011 - September 12, 2013
Rest in peace.
Ever since I was little, I’ve always liked animals that other people didn’t. I don’t know if it’s a rescue complex related to my low self confidence or special snowflake syndrome or what, but the list of pets I’ve had that were defective in some way is a mile long….the mentally challenged rat terrier who had been abused by his previous owners and would attack with little warning, the lab/chow mix that obsessively chewed on the side of my mom’s house, countless betta fish that couldn’t swim straight or were just plain ugly, Wyatt, the rat that had psychoses so severe that the offense of petting him without looking at him resulted in a bite that literally hit the bone and left me with permanent nerve damage, Stubbs, my little half-tailed mouse that I only had for a week but still cry over if I think about…and then there was my sickly little Bug, who turned into my not-so-little Bug, who attacked his cagemates and had to be separated at mealtimes to keep from killing everyone.
Rewind to almost exactly two years ago—September 17, 2011. The aforementioned Wyatt had recently died and it was a few months after a bad breakup; I was too depressed to feel much interest in my remaining rats and knew I needed a distraction. Nothing is as good of a distraction as baby rats, so I merrily made my way to the notoriously awful pet store on the other side of town a week after tragedy struck in the form of staying up all night with a dying rat as he suffered seizures and strokes. I obtained five babies from the snake food bin. Of particular interest to me at first was a handsome black hooded with a lightning-shaped blaze, to be named Badger Potter, but the little agouti hooded soon stole my heart over his flashier cagemate. He was very small, much smaller than the other four, and it took me a few days to give him a name…I couldn’t decide between Thomas and Darwin, but in the end, I opted for Darcy, feeling that he was was perhaps not dashingly handsome like Mrs. Austen’s romantic hero, but I liked him enough already to feel he deserved a dashingly handsome name. Things quickly went downhill for my little quintet—Badger became quite ill with pneumonia, Spoticus passed away overnight from unknown causes, and my little “Darcedarce” appeared to be dying. He was so small, probably too young to be away from his mother, and had a severe case of pneumonia. The vet I was seeing at the time didn’t feel comfortable treating him because his condition was so bad and he was so tiny, and he recommended me to an exotics specialist that I still see (and love) today. I remember my family and even people on Tumblr recommended that I should just return him to the pet store, that I hadn’t had him long and was in for nothing but heartbreak and money thrown down the drain, but I loved him. He licked my fingers and his chest was barely bigger than my index finger, and he wanted to live, I know that’s stupid to say because of course it’s an animal’s instinct to live, but Spot died overnight and Badger was a pain in the ass about taking his medicine, they were not like my precious little Bug. He took his medicines like a champ, he’d beg for them, and he didn’t mind having to live in isolation from the others, he was always sweet and always licky, and I didn’t mind having to wake up every few hours to make sure he stayed hydrated, or having to take two or three breaks at work to rush home to get antibiotics in him.
He got healthy and stronger, and slowly, he grew into a decent-sized rat…the little three ounce Bug I had would eventually be a big 1.5 pound tank of testosterone, and the name didn’t fit any more, but it had stuck. He was not an easy rat to deal with: he had severe food aggression problems, and at times, during puberty, I worried he’d have to permanently live alone. We eventually reached a compromise, me and Bug, where he had to go in a small “bad Bug” cage at mealtimes and occasionally when he felt pissy for no reason, but otherwise, he (mostly) lived with his friends in harmony. He had a bad habit of lunging for fingers when he was hungry, and I probably should have stopped that when he was young since it resulted in a lot of bleeding hands later, but I put up with a lot from Bug, because I loved him. He was never a very good-looking rat, if I’m being honest. He had squinty eyes and he always looked angry, even when he was licking you, and his nose was shaped like a hook. He had a funny way of walking, even when he was at the age where most rats have a tendency to drag their back end a little bit, he held his tail up high like a flag, with the tip curled up into a question mark. He loved to clean my ears, and my eyebrows, and he’d groom at my hairline until my scalp was bleeding and I was overcome with giggles because it tickled and was just such a weird hobby for him to engage him. He was a funny rat.
He caused a lot of problems I won’t go into other than to say that he led to some pretty extensive vet bills after attacks on his cagemates. People always asked why I kept him or why I never got mad at him, but I think he was a genuinely good rat. I don’t know, I guess I had a soft spot for him because he was so sick when he was young and I practically hand-raised him, but rats are like people, and some are better than others. I’ve been around enough to know when a rat is good and has personality and I don’t know the word for it, but MUCHNESS, when they are special and I’ll remember them forever and ever, I won’t ever have to stop and think “what was that agouti hooded with the hook nose’s name?” no matter how many years it has been and how many rats I’ve had. I’ve got nineteen right now and fifteen more deceased and countless others that I’ve known and will know, but (Jesus, this is cliche), none of them are or were or will be my Bug.
He got sick suddenly and I had very little warning that he was going to pass away. I always tell people that’s the way for them to go, that it’s better to not watch them waste away or suffer, and I know, if I’m being logical, that that is the way I would have preferred it, but it’s a lot harder on the person left behind when it happens that way. I fed the rats this morning and no one tried to bite me, I just handed them their lab blocks and they gently took them out of my hands. I cried very hard.
There’s this weird feeling that’s difficult to describe that you get when your pets achieve relative fame on the internet, or at least I have that feeling. It’s like I share them with people, like they’re not fully mine. I don’t mind, I find it to be gratifying and it makes me feel like I have purpose and like their short lives have more meaning, but it’s also a little strange, knowing that when a really popular rat dies, I’m not the only one crying. I don’t think Darcy’s magnetism came across very well in photos because he was not very photogenic and he never really did anything spectacular that made for nice stories, so he usually didn’t get a ton of notes and I never thought of him as particularly well-liked. This gave me this weird possessiveness over him, like he wasn’t as beloved as Ears or Jameson or Courage, so he felt more like he was *mine* instead of everybody’s. He was a special rat.
There was a little fire in a tiny blue cage that got snuffed out suddenly yesterday. Now I feel cold.
I love Bug. I wasn’t able to be at the vet due to car issues & my boyfriend took him. I had to be at work, it is a convoluted situation. I thought that maybe he could be saved if I got him there in time. Maybe he just needed oxygen & fluids. But the vet said he was too far gone. I feel really bad for not being there. She told me that she would pet him for me since I couldn’t be there, but she didn’t know he was called Bug, so I am sure she called him Darcy and he doesn’t know that name very well. He liked Bug better. She made me some paw prints of him and they left it wet so I could write his name, so I wrote BUG. it’s not very good because I used my fingernails. He got sick really fast. It was pneumonia. I shut his eyes. I wrapped him up in his hammock because he loved his hammock and now he will have to go in the freezer. I am not sure what I will do. I have other rats in my freezer and most of them I want to bury but I’m not sure about Jamie and Bug. I will have to get some money saved up to get them cremated, maybe. I am really very sad, I think maybe if I type a lot I’ll feel better and not cry, but I don’t think that works. I will watch some cartoons and maybe I’ll feel better. Carter is very sad too. Rats don’t understand some things and he doesn’t know why he is alone. I guess I should let him out but I don’t feel like handling any rats right now because Bug died. Sometimes, he was not a very good rat. He bit Jamie and Edgar and he ate Badger Potter after Badger died. And he would try to bite people that opened the cage door. But I liked him a lot. He was nice to me and he had a lot of spirit. He had a ugly hook nose but he was pretty sometimes and he was a very nice color. I liked Bug a lot, better than I like most rats. Probably my third favorite rat I had ever had.
It was really nice of him to offer to take him to the vet. I think he is a nice guy, maybe I should trust him. Sometimes I have trouble trusting people because it is a lot easier to trust rats or dogs or cats, but I think some people are nice and maybe they don’t want to hurt you. It seems like Bug should open his eyes and wake up but he won’t.
i will try to make a post later. very sad now.
This would be a cuter picture if he were neutered.
Darcy likes for people to hold him in their hand so he can enthusiastically lick them.
Buggy loves his hammock!