Saturday, June 23, 2007

If you love something, set it free

One of our "baby" rats, Shirley, has had some medical problems lately. She developed a huge mammary tumor, very common in female domestic rats.
I had two options:
1. Surgery.
2. Wait until it begins to bother her, then put her down.
With surgery, there are lots of risks, especially with rats. They are small, and can be tricky to put under. Then there's the fact that the tumor would return.
With waiting, it would be up to me to decide when she had had enough.
You can probably guess which option I chose.

Shirley 062307
Here is our last picture of Shirley. You can see the mass under her front leg. It had begun to drag when she walked, and she was no longer able to climb and play like
a normal, one-year-old rat.
RAPTOR recently installed a CO2 chamber, so we could perform our own euthanasia. Melinda was good enough to do this difficult thing for me today. I explained my decision to the girls (we do NOT shield them from the hard stuff, like death) and this morning, before taking Shirley to RAPTOR, the girls had a chance to kiss Shirley and say goodbye.
The CO2 process is very peaceful...at 20% CO2, it has an anesthesia effect, gently putting the animal to sleep painlessly, and then stops the breathing and pulse.
Thanks, Melinda.


Shirley's resting place
Here is Shirley's resting place..right next to Huey. Anyone remember Huey?
It was Isabelle's idea to get a rock and inscribe Shirley's name, and she also added a picture of Shirley on the stone.

Just a year and a week ago....
one day old baby
Here's Shirley at one day old...
baby rat and lorelei 6 days old
...and a week old...
me and 6 day old babies
Rats only live for 3-5 years, at best. One year was not enough for us.

To put my heart in a happier place, we went to a local church festival for a few rides.
If you get vertigo easily, maybe you shouldn't watch this...Isabelle could have ridden this ride alone, but I felt the need to tag along. Those are my shoes in the foreground:

8 comments:

Trixie said...

Oh man! What a tough day. We put Tucker down in February. He had been with me for 18 years. Sigh...

We, too, do not shield the girls from this stuff. It is important for them to get the concept. You are raising fine girls. Keep it up.

A lift a cool one for you and Shirley tonight.

Mary said...

You saved Shirley. Good thing. You are good.

I WANT A CARNIVAL RIDE! I love the beasty ones!

Trixie said...

Why am I not surprised that Mary loves the carnival rides? Hmmm...

LauraHinNJ said...

I won't watch that video - even the still is making me dizzy!

Sorry about your Shirley. You did the right thing for her.

Rachel said...

Susan,
Sorry to hear about Shirley :( Rats just don't live long enough, and there are too many common rat ailments. She had one great year with her family, much more than most rats get!

NatureWoman said...

Poor Shirley, I'm so sorry Susan. Wah for you and the girls.
The ride looks fun! How are your feet sticking out in front of you with you going around like that?

mon@rch said...

Poor Shirley, look at how big that growth has gotten! WOW! You did the right thing but still is sad to do!

Liza Lee Miller said...

Sorry about Shirley! You gave her a good life and an easy death! Good rat owner!!!