Last night I lost my best friend. Week ago he had a stroke, and last night he finally lost his battle. He was strong through it, and at times I was sure he was going to pull through. He tried so hard. But in the end, it was too much for my little guy. Many people say they are “just rats” if they never owned one or got to know them, but to me (and other rat owners) they are so much more. There is a lot I can say about Rosco. I could go write a book if I want about me and him. He went everywhere with me. He would ride on my shoulder, hide in my sweatshirts, or hide in my bag. He was smart, he knew when to come out and when to stay hidden. We went through my last years of High School together, and my first of college.
I got Rosco from some girl who had an oops litter. She offered me a baby rat and I took it, I always wanted a rat. I went to her house and she didn’t even let me pick the baby, she just handed me a 2 month old male Himalayan with a purple bald spot on his head. Red eyes and bald, I didn’t care I was instantly in love. I hid him in my back pack because I wasn’t allowed to have him, but as I walked down the street I looked into his carrying cage. I saw how nervous he was. I then whispered “I’ll protect you, I promise”.
The same girl said later she wished she gave me his prettier brother, I told her that Rosco is pretty enough for me. I wouldn’t want any other rat.
Since that day I got him me and that little creature were inseparable. I learned more about rats and found out they needed buddies, so I tried to get him a friend. He was aggressive and not interested at first, but soon we would warm up to a baby I rescued. I remember when he was young and first met Rags he would run squeaking from Rags because he was so big. It was hilarious. Soon they were cuddle buddies though. Then he was so used to rats I could throw any rat he didn’t know in the cage with him and he would sniff them and walk away. He still never grew a strong bond with much of my rat clan though. I was told it was because I was his bonded pair, and that’s why he wouldn’t bond with another rat. It still tears at my heart strings when I recall that statement.
Rosco was my warrior. He was my lean on when I lost friends, when another pet dies, or when things just weren’t working for me. He would climb on my lap and let me pet him and cuddle him till I was better. He always knew when I was upset. He even would kiss my face sometimes when I was upset. I remember one day he was on my shoulder and I started to get upset at something, he turned to my cheek and pressed his paws against it and kissed me. He knew how to comfort me even if it was just something little.
He would even protect his rat clan. He has attacked over a dozen cats, many were hunting cats. He always won too. One day Spike the cat was bothering Cricket the rat and Rosco came running out of nowhere and jumped on the cat, biting him and making the cat pay attention to him so Cricket could get away.
Before I got Rosco I knew I would love my rats, but he shown my how much a rat and human bond can really be. He taught me how to understand, to accept others, and most of all how to love. He also taught me how to be strong when everything around you crashes down.
He was strong, but most all he was sweet. I remember when me and my friends were attacked by some drunk. She went to grab him off my lap and he turned around to snap at her. He felt my frustration and acted. He never once before or after shown aggression to people.
Rosco’s favorite movie was Ratatouille. He would watch it with me while sitting on my lap or on my shoulder. Once that movie was on it seemed to calm him down. We even watched it after he had his stroke, and he just lay on my chest while watching it with me. Maybe he knew it was about a rat, or maybe he just liked watching it with me because I liked it? Who knows, but I’ll cherish that movie forever because of him.
He also taught me how emotional rats are. He fell in love. Her name was Phantom and he was obsessed, and she felt the same way. Every time my friend who owned her came over he had to search my friend for her, and if Phantom wasn’t there he would go off and do his own thing. One day we even caught him digging through my friends purse to find Phantom. The day Phantom died we had them say good by, he cuddled her and for weeks he was depressed. I tried mating Rosco with Nibbler, but he just wasn’t interested. They stayed for weeks together and he never once tried to make babies with her. It was because she wasn’t Phantom.
Rosco was a shoulder rat and loved riding around on me. We got a lot of attention and he loved it. One couple even stopped to film us. Rosco does what he did best, pose and ham it out on camera.
Rosco was beautiful to take pictures with. He would seem to pose, and ALWAYS had cute pictures. They were rarely blurry.
Rosco meant the world to me. He was my buddy, my bestfriend, my child. There will never be a rat like him ever again. He was special and unique. He was the first rat I had, and the first to make me want more. He shown me that these little creatures who are hated by many are just like my Pit Bulls, very misunderstood. He was a foster father (he was amazing with baby rats), a protector of his clan, and a warrior. He was everything to me and from this day on there won’t be a day without that beautiful being on my mind.
Rosco, we will miss you. I hope you are at the rainbow bride with Rags and Phantom. Eating all the chocolate bars and sunflower seeds your little hearts can take. I hope you’ll be waiting for me when my time comes. Words can’t express how much I love you, or how much I miss you.
I love you Rosco. So much. You are not just a rat, you are my rat, my heart-rat.
April 19th 2010-July 11th 2012