Welp, Sammy bought it yesterday. We are now ratless. I felt bad for her. She had such a strong will to live. When we got her, she was so tiny, Eric and I worried she wouldn't live through the night. But she did. She ended up being the longest-lived rat we've ever had.
She's the one who chewed out her stitches, staples and glue after having a tumor removed. We had to put an E-collar on her and hand feed her to keep her alive. She looked awful and was starting to get pretty desperate. That was over a year ago, when our personal lives were at their lowest. Nursing a vile-looking rat just about put me over the edge.
Anyway, last fall she developed another tumor, but by then, she was old. I didn't want to go through another E-collar or risk having her die shortly after the surgery anyway because she was so old. So we just let it grow. Mistake. She just wouldn't die. So we ended up doing a bit of nursing anyway as she got more and more disgusting.
After Lilly died, I figured Sammy wouldn't hold on much longer. She was in terrible shape and her companion was gone. Yesterday morning I found her flopped on her belly, twitching. Eew. I talked to her a bit. She didn't seem to react to my voice.
Eric and I went out to lunch – I had a buy-one-get-one-free coupon for Noodles – and she was still alive when we got home. I had to leave, and Eric did not want to be the one to deal with the dying rat. It's too upsetting for him. I called him after my class, and she was still hanging on. I suggested he take her by the fire and hold her and comfort her. He said he didn't want to hold another rat while it died. He said it was too awful. I agreed it was awful, but it was also a privilege to be the one to give her some comfort in her final moments. I thought it would be pretty sad to die cold and alone.
He took her down to the fire, but she just kept on living. The kids got home from school, and Kayleigh took her. She was Kayleigh's rat. Kayleigh held her and petted her head and talked to her, and Sammy died in her lap.
Eric wrapped her in a towel and called me at work. They wanted to wait until we were all together to bury her. So, she's still wrapped in a towel because Kelsey went to a friend's for the night.
Kayleigh says she smells kind of bad. The rat, I mean.
I hope the ground isn't frozen.