Before I even had the chance to really process the loss of Missy, Wednesday, August 31, 2016, my adorable Artie was in bad shape and I knew it was time to say goodbye to my sweet, sweet baby boy. Although it is still unknown what caused him to lose the use of his back legs, Bucks VETS and I tried everything we could to treat and reverse or improve his condition. Although I am anguished by the short length of rattie lives ending with tumors, respiratory issues, etc., I think of all the love and wonderful life and personality I was blessed to have shared with Artie, my rescue with the racing smudge down his nose.
Here is the story of how Artie came into our lives…As Ben's health declined, I worried more and more about his roomie Willie being lonely so I started looking for another male rattie to adopt. While in Pet Supplies Plus (a store that previously sold rats as food for snakes) picking up treats, I met their pet care technician who introduced me to an all-white, pink-eyed boy (PEW) with the cutest smudge of dark racing stripe down his nose and a scar over one eye. She told me he was a biter and squealed a lot when she tried to pick him up. He just didn't like her way of picking him up (or maybe didn't like her). Although not sure of adopting a PEW rattie, he looked at me with his sad, pink, hopeless, "please love me" eyes and I fell in love with him immediately.
I adopted him, gave him a bath, took him to the vet to be checked and named him Artemus (Artie for short), the artful snake dodger. He would never be food for another.
Artie, my curious little acrobat, settled into our home quite contentedly and he and Willie did enjoy short periods of time together, visiting every day nose to nose. The boys just couldn't resolve their differences and after five minutes together would poof up their fur and posture for a fight…thus, they could never be left alone or housed completely together. Artie also managed to have the pleasure, due to my error at play time, of sharing intimacy with Missy and I am sure they too loved each other very much.
Artie was so special, had such a gentle soul, and just loved attention. The minute I walked into the room he was at his door waiting for me to lean over for him to climb onto my shoulder.
He loved his hammock and cloth cubes and genuinely showed appreciation for everything he was given from food to toys to love. He loved to come out for play time, get a good brushing and hang out on my shoulder. I would hand him toys on the couch, he would give me a thank you gesture, take the toys promptly through the tunnel between Mike and I, and then he would give the toys to Mike. He never got bored of playing his
other favorite silly game, peek-a-boo, with me but also loved more challenging games that required him to figure things out. He loved kisses and cuddles and seriously loved to sleep. I could pet him while he was sleeping and he'd push his head into my hand for more with his eyes still closed and what looked like a little smile on his face.
I am so lucky to have been blessed to have Artie in my life and am glad I was able to stay up all night Tuesday before having to say goodbye Wednesday morning. I will miss my baby boy Artie so very much…his kisses, his cuddly love, and all of his quirky little traits. I will hold his love and his memories forever in my heart and in my thoughts.
Once again, my thanks go out to Dr. Jackson and her staff at Bucks County VETS who treated Artie for his leg condition, a severe URI and for helping Artie pass over the rainbow bridge.