Dec. 28th, 2011

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Christmas this year was simultaneously one of the best and one of hardest ones I've ever experienced. If I ever get the pics downloaded off my dad's wonderful camera, I'll post about it in more detail.

Did you know rats have nine lives? Or maybe more. I don't know. But I'm seriously ready for the passing of one of Zoe's rats and she is hanging onto life with a tenacity that is astounding. She is two and half years old. About two months ago she was really sick, we took her to the vet and I expected to be told there was nothing they could do as she was not eating or drinking and was breathing hard and heavy and barely moving and just generally extremely ill. However, the vet gave us not too expensive antibiotics and said she would either die or be a lot better in 48 hours. She was a LOT better. Then about two weeks ago she started walking with her head tilted to the side, breathing hard again, and falling over. I was loath to take her to vet and pay for antibiotics and the visit again, so I put it off and then I ran into the holidays and the vet down the street went on vacation. Her sub didn't see "exotics". Finally, I called another vet because I saw what I took to be some kind of bugs crawling on the rats. Looked too small to be fleas or anything I could see. Yesterday, I took them both in. Turns out they have really immature, brand new baby fleas all over them, in addition to Lily's issues (she's probably had a stroke at some point and a recurrence of the chest infection she had earlier). During the exam, Lily went totally limp and the tech said "Oh doctor, I think she is passing!" and the doctor ran for...wait for it...an OXYGEN tank! I just stood there in shock while she put this mask over the rat's whole head and she...again...wait for it...jumped right up!! Yeah. I came home with antibiotics for both rats as the other had some infected flea bites and instructions for getting rid of the fleas. We brainstormed how they could of gotten them and came up with nada. The dogs are treated with Frontline faithfully, we haven't gotten new food or a different brand of bedding, they haven't been outside...then the vet tech called me on the way home to tell me that she found some blog postings about an "epidemic" of small mammals with fleas that are apparently coming from the brand of bedding we use. So the bedding went in the freezer overnight, the cage got bleached like crazy tonight, I vacuumed the basement where they live thoroughly and threw out the bag, and the rats got dusted with flea powder stuff. And I have to do it all again every week for three weeks.

Good grief.

But Zoe loves these rats SO MUCH. And Lily, at least, loves her right back with something akin to almost human adoration. It is eery. And bizarre. And so I have to do what I can. Love is a powerful thing.

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