Thursday, August 7, 2014

Missing My Rat

Yesterday I had to put down Romulus. He got a respiratory infection, but his symptoms did not seem to indicate that. So I waited too long to bring him into the vet. We got him started on antibiotics and after several days, they weren't working, but I thought they just needed more time. So I didn't take him in until he was having severe trouble breathing (suddenly). I rushed him to the emergency room, crying and panicked. I kept him on my lap and basically refused to let go of him until someone finally came to put him into an oxygen box. That seemed to help and we added an antibiotic.

The next day he was struggling to breathe, even with the oxygen. Despite the care and drugs and oxygen, he was fading quickly. I had to make the horrible decision to put him down because I didn't want him to suffer anymore and there wasn't a chance of him getting better.

I feel like that was the right decision, even though it was a big one and I felt like I really shouldn't be the one to decide that. But it's hard. And my heart is broken.

The whole 24 hours or so seemed so surreal. I spent so much time in the ER waiting room and exam rooms and Romulus faded so, so quickly. It all happened so fast that I didn't get time to really adjust to his life ending and him being gone from my life. Usually when pets age, they decline slowly and you have time to prepare.

I put him down exactly two weeks before his second birthday. He didn't even make it to his second birthday. And that just seems horribly unfair. And I actually feel angry. I am used to my pets living a pretty long time and he should have had at least another year. So I can't help but feel that he is supposed to be here. I still expect him to be here. He was so cheerful and loving all the time, even when he wasn't feeling well (which is probably part of why I didn't realize how sick he was earlier). It is very hard for me to see my life without him. It was too sudden. And I know life isn't fair, but this seems so cruel.

To top it off, I feel horrible for Remus. He has always been with his brother. And I can tell that he is OK, but kind of mopey. I think it will be hard for him. And I feel like I should look into getting him a buddy (after some time), but he is really going to have to be the right rat. Romulus was SO easy-going and happy. Remus is sweet, but neurotic, anxious, and the dominant rat. I am pretty sure the only reason he was dominant is because Romulus let him and didn't care enough to fight for it. I would have to find a rat that would fit with him. Remus is kind of anti-social; its possible he will be OK on his own, but I don't want him to be sad and lonely.

Romulus and his little "meeps" when he was getting into trouble.

I keep expecting Romulus to be here. I miss him licking me all the time and playing with me. He was always the social one who wanted to come out and run around and be in the middle of everything. I will miss him trying to help himself to my food and drinks (Remus is too polite for that, the sweetie). I just miss him with an acute ache that makes my stomach tighten and my heart hurt. And I cry a lot. Sometimes randomly when a thought sneaks up on me. I also haven't been sleeping very well. I lay there for hours and just think about him. I feel lost without him.

Romulus kisses.

I'm glad I still have Remus and he still has me. I make him come out and sit and cuddle with me more (which he tolerates pretty well--he's not much of a cuddler). It's going to take a while for me to bounce back from this one. I try to keep myself distracted, otherwise I just cry all of the time. He was the best rat and he is sorely missed.

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