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Ratsalot Rattery And Rescue

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This is where you can learn a little about me, my family and why I have chosen to start a rattery.

Hello,

   My name is Tonya.  I am 29 years old.  I have two boys, Quintin Tod and Kobe Anthony.  They are 9 and 6.  I live with my boyfriend, Ed in Rutland, Vermont.  I enjoy the outdoors such as hiking, swimming and sports.  I enjoy trying things new as I feel you should try most anything(within limits of safety of yourself and others of course) at least once.  

  I obtained my first rattie on May 14, 2005.  His name was Sebastian and he was 8 weeks old.  I bought him at a pet store in New Hampshire.  A couple of weeks went by and I felt bad as forum folks and info I read told me he needed a cage buddy.  Well, off to the pet store I went to buy one of his brothers.  When I got there all of his brothers were gone and sisters to.  The next rattie available I'd have to wait 3 weeks as a litter of two dumbos were just born.  Hmmm...I couldn't wait.  I wanted someone for him.  They suggested a feeder rat.  I went down to the dungeon of doom...isn't that what they are in the reptile area?  I went in the back and found cages full of "feeders" ranging from mice to rats.  Poor things.  Well, I found a cage with small rats as Sebastian wasn't that big.  I wanted somewhat the same size.  Well, I found a sweet one.  Turned out she was a girl.  Well, I'd neuter him to be safe I thought and bought her.  I named her Isabella.  I had heard someone at work talking about their granddaughter, Isabella and for a week or two the name kept popping in my head.  As soon as I picked my new rattie up I looked at her sweet face and thought, Isabella.  Although I call her Izzy for short. 

Weeks went by and the two were adorable. I took them to show everyone at my nursing home where I work. I had to show them my new babies. As most folks love animals I brought them in not only for the staff but also for the residents who were more than willing to give "dirty rats" a chance. I found that even some folks that said they hated or couldn't stand rats or mice really loved them once they gave them to chance. I have many residents ask me every time they see me how are my "animals". I felt wonderful inside to pass on the good word of ratties. At a nursing home many folks come from a different generation obviously as I do so to introduce them to an animal that many folks might of thought of as disgusting, gross or have aweful views of them due to horrible stereotypes poor rats get; dirty, bug or disease infested, it's a wonder no one gives them a chance as a pet. Being the 20th century, they are great pets and it was nice to show everyone that they are not AS BAD as everyone THINKS they are. I didn't pressure anyone to fall in love with them, pat them or snuggle them most folks didn’t need any help at all and took to calling them, "sweetpea" and "cutiepie". Amazing what little effort it is to TRY something different from the NORM. Although I did run into several coworkers that of course said aweful things about them and said how they'd tie a brick to them and throw them in the river or feed them to a snake, how nice huh? But you know those types of people to me are just ignorant, stubborn and personally pretty sick. How could you hurt anything regardless if you like it or not? I couldn't bring myself to hurt anything living because I "didn't" like it? So you don't like dogs do you run them over? No, I didn't think so. Come on now really get with the times.  Pet Therapy is just that regardless of what animal brings joy to someone.  Be it a dog, cat, bunny or RAT.  We are not ALL stuck in the movie, "Groundhog day or 50 first dates," where time stops and never moves ahead. I can respect someone who seriously does not like them and I would never force someone to do anything or like something against their will nor will I deny them the chance to learn about NEW things. What I really don't like is when others take it into their own hands and just "censor" what their idea of what a person "should" like because of their own beliefs of this or what they won't like because of that. Everyone DOES have a right to THEIR opinion not what OTHERS enforce. You wouldn't force your religious beliefs on anyone would you? It's sort of like that. Just because YOU don't like it doesn't mean the next person won't. Be nice if people in the world could just GET IT. Last time I checked we lived in a "FREE" country. Since when do we have to "pay" for our rights as a person with an opinion other than theirs?    

  Well, in time I went to a local pet store and asked if they sell rats sure enough they did.  The response however I got was they are sold for pets but if not go to snakes.  It was such a laid back attitude like it was really no big deal either or.  I was apolled by it and had to see what he had.  The first day I just looked as I had gone there to pick up a screen for my gerbils I bought at a yard sale.  Yes, a yard sale.  I don't have sucker on my forehead but I feel for animals and couldn't let these really cute gerbils sit in the hot sun in an aquarium with a tank cover at a yard sale that their fate didn't matter.  So yes, I bought them and brought them home with food, PINE shavings(which are horrible for them), another broken up cage and aquarium for 10 bucks.  I had gone to the pet store for a screen cover for them on a Friday.  Well, got home I bought the wrong size as I swore the size I picked was right.  Next day went back with boyfriend in tow and exchanged the cover.  I peeked in where the rats were.  I could see a biege one that I had looked at briefly on Friday the day before.  I couldn't really see it well and wondered was it a dumbo, girl/boy, sweet???HMMM.  So I asked if they did carry dumbos.  The girls said yeah and wouldn't you know she picked up that biege one.  I picked her up.  A 6 month old.  Her previous owner took her everywhere with her and had brought not only her but at least 12-15 other rats in.  And as I said the attitude was if not pets snake food.  How could anyone just hand over their babies like that?   She was so sweet and darling.  I was furious that someone gave up to me like their own kids...just like that...I had also seen a gray variegated blazed white backed with gray spotted female in the beige ratties cage.  I wanted her but when I went to pick her up she looked like she wanted to bite me.  She ran around and didn't want to be picked up.  Being new at ratties I was scared and nervous and didn't want to risk a biter rat with my kids and looked at other ratties.  I picked up a boy who was a dark gray blazed heavy monster who didn't want to sit still for nothing.  Some black hooded younger rats that didn't want anyone to pick them up.  I called it a day and brought home the biege female dumbo.  Halfway home I told my boyfriend I really should of bought that gray spotted girl rat.  He said go back and get her.  I got home and got the new rattie all situated in her new cage and yes, I went back.  I tried the gray spotted female again.  She was so nervous and scared.  Poor thing.  I just patted her head as she allowed that I just couldn't pick her up.  I took a chance and bought her.  That left a black berkshire white bellied girl all alone in a cage left for fate to decide pet or food.  I couldn't leave her behind.  I bought her too.  I brought all the new girls home.  The gray spotted one was named, Amelia and the black one, Lilly(after a resident I adore who has rhumatose arthritis and her hands are crippled yet she still trudges forth.  I have alot of respect for her.)  I feel asleep on my bed with Lilly under my neck and Amelia by my leg.  What a happy family.  Yet, all the night I thought about that zippy boy I held and couldn't think of anything else. 

  The next day I went down and paid for him although I had no cage available and no money to do so until that Thursday's payday at least no one can buy him for snake food.  I had helped my mom move and she paid me.  I went with the money on Monday and picked up a 10 gallon tank and my new boy, MacKenzie.  But there is always a twist to my stories.  As I was going to pick him up in a cage of at least 10 others, one black berkshire with a litte patch of white on his belly zoomed over and begged next to my already purchased rattie.  I couldn't resist.  He came home too.  By now you have noticed I have a weak heart and pity small critters in need.  Well, I named him Wheaton.  All of these ratties were 6 months old.  We were a big happy family.  I put the boys with the boys and girls with the girls.  But, something fishy was up.  Sebastian wasn't looking or acting like one of the boys??? Hmm..could HE really be a SHE? 

  I had him sexed as I was unsure and now he was 12 weeks and all I could think was maybe he hasn't descended yet?  I didn't know for sure.  Well, it was official.  HE yes WAS a SHE!  Oh, Boy!  Well, interesting enough 17 days after I bought Amelia she explained to me not very suttle why she was so timid and cranky.  She delivered 9 pinkies on July 2, 2005.  We did lose one as to those of you with no rat knowledge it's very graphical to tell.  But they clean their own enviroment of the sick or dead.  It is unclear why this baby was rid of.  Amelia and her babies were seperated as I was thrown into the grandma role.  They are doing well and I am going to adopt them out.  5 girls and 3 boys. 

  About 3 weeks ago from this date, July 30, 2005 I purchased Molly, a gray berkshire with white belly blazed baby.  I found her at a different pet store and was actually looking at some dark brown ratties I wanted but when asked what sex I said a girl and she handed me Molly and told me she didn't have any brown girls.  The moment I held Molly she snuggled real close to my neck and was so sweet and calm I couldn't say no.    

  July 17, 2005 a week and half after Molly I found a breeder after looking for over a month that sold Blue Dumbo rats.  They are so unique I wanted one or two.  Finally, I got my wish.  I was going to drive 2 1/2 hours for them as I had picked them out on the internet.  A boy and a girl.  The breeder's family actually lived 25 minutes away and she offered to bring them the following day that I was willing to drive up north to pick them up to bring them to her parent's house.  What could be more perfect?  Well, I picked up my just turned 4 week old ratties, Lacy and Noah.  Two blue dumbo sweethearts.  Could my rattie family be complete? 

  No, Sabrina's gender mix up brought me 13 pinkies on July 28, 2005.  It not only brought me joy as she was my first rattie and has such wonderful temperament but also anger as I thought what if this was some little kid that begged for a rat in the store and their parents bought them two boys(as they thought)and had babies unexpectedly like I did.  What would they do with them?  Bring them back for snake food?  It angers me that pet stores really don't care or have knowledge that they need.  When I bought my second rat and asked what else do I need to know with two rats...they never told me to quarantine...that was just wrong. 

  Well, 5 cages and 31 ratties later I thought I want to raise rats and have my own rattery so people can have rats that are sexed properly, raised with lots of hands on love and care and have a chance at a good life versus an unanswered sense of belonging while dwendling away in a cage in the back of a pet store.  I feel if you buy from a breeder you are getting a great addition to your family with less rats going to these uncaring pet stores.  Do you agree?  I have very sweet pet store ratties but some take alot of time to get them to trust you and feel a sense of security.

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This is a cage I first started out with a simple aquarium with a three story topper.  I have toys of course we can't go without toys!  This is Sabrina(before I knew she was a SHE at 8 weeks old)  As you know wire is bad for rattie feet so I simply took construction paper and put some hole punched designs glued on it, ran it through my laminater and boom instant flooring.  You can clean it with spray cleansers and replace as needed.

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Scott is the vet I use for neutering and care of my rats.  I haven't had to make too many trips so far to him knock on wood!  He is a wonderful vet and I would recommend him to anyone in my local area.  He neutered one of my boys and Willow decided he didn't like the idea of having stiches so he chewed them off...he glued his skin with the natural glue stuff that they use...I have to travel 30 minutes to get to him.  Might not seem long to some but most of the time I have to beat his closing time right after work and of course when traffic is the busiest so 30 minutes is like 45!  He took my boy, Willow home with him to observe him overnight for me as he was bleeding and needed to stop chewing his missing "parts".  What vet would do that?  He is very down to earth and they help me finacially when I need to wait to pay a week when things come up.  I really appreciate him and all his staff and hope that if you are in my area you will check him out.  A must have on the top vet lists!!!!  I want to nominate him for best vet of the year!  If you are in my area help me to do that for him.  It is the least I could do for his wonderful, intelligent and helpful services he gives to me and all my rats.  Thanks Scott and staff!

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