I have been crying myself to sleep for a week, and the tears just keep coming. I will never be ready for this. We knew one of them was going to be put down soon. I mentioned it elsewhere, it was decided long ago not to continue treatment that wasn't working very well and wasn't well tolerated. We expected her to be put down long before the other...
Despite not treating, Nico has hung on very well and for much longer than I thought. Curly has suddenly become very ill, though. She has fluid in her abdomen, and her respiratory symptoms were overnight even worse than Nico's. I could hold out, I could wait, I could do Curly and keep Nico for a while.... but I've decided with both of them terminally ill and together since they were pups I can't do that. Nico still eats, but she doesn't otherwise leave her hammock and rats are not known for doing well solo. The extent to which the mycoplasmas affected clinically them was heartbreaking, and I'm upset with the breeder for not being interested to figure out what lines they came from and avoid breeding genetics with a known weakness for a bacteria present in virtually all rats. I'm sorry for all the other rat parents who will have to go through this. I don't know that I'll ever want to have rats after this.
Tomorrow night they will be put down at home, together. I was wracked with guilt for months after putting down their sister Luna, for not realizing she was sick sooner, for waiting until she lost so much weight. I have a feeling moving sooner on them won't make me feel any less guilty, I just hope I have the courage to go through with this... since I'm doing it myself this time rather than taking them to the vets, I need the strength of will. I don't want to keep them around longer for my feelings, when the decision should be about them.
I don't believe in an other side. I don't believe in a better place. I just hope they had a good life, that they know they were loved, that they enjoy their last banana, and that they are calmed as it happens by having each other.
Nico, I will miss you. You were an odd one... between nipping at toes for fun and being obsessed with burrowing down my shirt and napping in my cleavage, we never knew what to expect. You were never involved in the hierarchy squabbles in the cage, but if anyone ever did the wrong thing you stepped in - you were the quiet queen of the roost.
Curly Sue, you silly goose: you were everyone's favorite. Impossibly outgoing, incredibly sweet, and probably the rat equivalent of ADD, even people who found rats somewhat disturbing were charmed by you. You were the addition to the pair, the youngest of the trio, and forever seemed to act like a child. Thank you for helping to keep Nico cleaned up this year, we couldn't help but notice how much time you spend grooming her now to clean up all the eye and nose discharge.
I will always miss the antics, when we could hear the cage rattling upstairs from the first floor because you all were playing so hard. I will miss too the quiet, sweet moments when you all napped in bed with me. I will miss you all so much.