Sometime ago, I posted on this blog about Rowena, my daughter’s rat. Rowena had become ill with what was assumed to be cancer but was later diagnosed as a chronic lung disease. We were instructed to give him antibiotics twice a day. And for a while, we were doing this. We didn’t know if Rowena was going to recover from the disease but we did know that it was chronic and that he would need the antibiotics for the rest of his life.
The rest of his life ended up lasting for only two months. His condition worsened and, yesterday, he took his last breath. He was extremely weak, had trouble breathing, the left side of his body was limp and he could barely move. He would try to eat, but his condition was just too bad for him to be able to eat. He died surrounded by family with his favorite music playing in the background. He was 2 ½ years old.
I remember the first day that Trevor brought Rowena home. He was such a tiny rattie and just so really cute. He was named “Rowena” after the Harry Potter character. I eventually got into the habit of calling him “Ro” (which reminded me of Ensign Ro from Star Trek: The Next Generation. I also called Salazar “Sal”). I had some reservations about Trevor getting a second rat, but she assured me that rats are social and that her other rat, Salazar, would be happy to have a roommate. That’s not how it went, unfortunately, so we had to separate them. They each had their own cages.
From the beginning, I could tell that Rowena was a little different from Salazar. They each seemed to have their own personalities. Even so, both of them loved the same kind of music (Beethoven) and both of them enjoyed hanging out with us every so often. We would spend time with each of them every day so that they weren’t in their cages all of the time.
There were many times that Rowena would hang out at the desk as I was writing, reading or doing research. I also had him up on my shoulder. He liked to burrow inside of the hood of my hoodie. He also liked to go inside of paper bags we’d put up on the table every once in a while.
But any chance he got, Rowena would hurry over to be with his mommy. There was a certain kind of excitement and joy he exhibited when Trevor would come home from school and visit him or whenever they were hanging out together on the couch. He always loved to be close to his mommy. He loved her so much and I know that she loved him, too.
Trevor took excellent care of Rowena and always made sure he had what he needed. She sometimes would text me while at school and ask me to check on Rowena or give him some extra cuddles. Of course, I’d also occasionally go in to check on all 3 animals (the two rats and the bearded dragon) but also talk to Rowena to let him know we were there for him.
When Rowena got sick, he did get some extra love and attention. It was frustrating when his condition worsened and we knew he didn’t have much time left. For this reason, we were grateful for every new day that we got with him. We didn’t take any of those days for granted. We cherished every single extra day he was still with us.
We are all really sad that he has left us now. I am glad he is no longer in pain, that he did not die alone, and that he did not die in his cage. I am glad that we gave him all of the love and cuddles that we could. We did try to do everything for him but there was only so much that could be done to save him. It has not been easy for us to accept this loss and we have so many happy memories of him. And Trevor has many pictures of him to remember him by too.
We buried Rowena in our backyard. It was a small ceremony in which we all said goodbye to him. It is unfortunate and sad he is gone but we will never forget him.
Rest in peace, Rowena. I hope you enjoy playing with our other rats, Homeboy and Pebbles. We will miss you and love you always.