Bug's Memorial

Baby Bug
<3 Bug <3

A large hoarding situation, and word had spread through the rattie forums with speed. Larger than anyone had thought, there were nearly 2,500 rats once you counted the babies born after arrival. The rescue effort was big enough to attract A&E’s Hoarders, who filmed the amazing rescue made possible by North Star Rescue, Andy’s Pet Shop & numerous generous donators. “Rat trains” were organized to relocate as many rats as possible to other rescues, and while so many rats were lucky enough to be on board those transports, it was one train in particular that will stay with me. 100 rats headed up to Best Friends Rescue in Washington, making one pit stop along way. 100 sweet souls clamoring around in the room as I slept, and one of those amazing men stayed behind to continue his journey with me.

Off to such a memorable start, intro’s to my current crew followed suit. While sweet small Bug was simply a schmooze, my previously sweet boy Bosco was out for blood. Eventually neuters were in order for both boys, turning into a horrible few days in which I almost lost my dear Bosco after surgery, and a procedure which left Bug with what became known as his “pseudo ball”. Both boys pulled through, and a lifelong friendship began its course between Bug, Bosco and their wise old gal Minx. They were my very first trio of rats, and abolished any fears I had that one in a trio would be left out. They alternated cuddle sessions and adored Minx until her body gave out on her down the road.

Bosco, Bug & Minx

Bosco and Bug

In typical Bug fashion, the next chapter in his life was bumpy as well. Two oldie gals were residing at a rescue, deemed to be sanctuary rats due to one having a suspected pituitary tumor & both having chronic respiratory issues. The rescue allowed me to take them on, though warned me they could both be short-lived. Gizmo surprised us with only having residual head tilt, not PT, and the groups began a rough intro process as both girls liked to beat the boys up. In the end, they loved each other dearly despite the boys being chased & nipped throughout the cage, but sadly Nibs turned out to have much more trouble than we had feared. She battled chronic respiratory troubles from pulmonary abscesses with a gusto I had never seen, and while she only had 4 months with us, she lived them to the fullest & spent so many wonderful days with Bosco, Bug & Gizmo. The girls tormented the boys for food, giving Bug in particular plenty of needed exercise, & the foursome alternated buddies in the cage, taking turns so you never knew who would be found snuggling with who. I think Nibs helped the boys get accustomed to Gizmo, who as a tilty girl has a tendency to be overly nippy and a very rough groomer, so that when she passed Gizmo would be well taken care of by two very loving boys.

Bug and Gizmo

Bug and Nibs

Bosco, Bug, Nibs and Gizmo

And so the cage moved to a trio again, with Bug & Bosco left to adore a feisty Gizmo. The trio was older now, and spent most days simply snuggling & enjoying meals together. Eventually Bosco left too and paved the way for sweet Merlin to take his place, and after a mildly huffy start Bug had another boy to love. And so it was Gizmo & Merlin who saw him through his final chapter, now an older boy  and his body beginning to fail him. His back leg function had deteriorated but he was still able to climb up the cage & into his favorite hammocks. Even when he landed in an emergency surgery because his pseudo ball pushed up into his kidney and herniated his stomach, my little man pulled through. When that surgery had to be repeated just a week later he amazed me again, and he was back to spending good time with his friends, coming out on the bed to share his favorite treats & lounging in hammocks getting rattie grooms and rattie loves.

Gizmo, Bug and Merlin

Bug, Merlin and Gizmo

And with all my oldies doing well, I went to pick up another rat said to have just 2 days to find a home, with the intention of getting her to a rescue in California. We rushed to pick her up and tucked the sweet girl into a cage at my mother’s house, relieved to know she would have a chance at a forever home. The next day I spent the morning sharing pancakes with my oldies, enjoying simply watching them all stuff their little rattie faces. I then went back to my mother’s to visit the rescue girl, and came home to find Bug just a step or two out of his hammock, dead, his eyes open, his tiny paws clenched together. I’m not sure if his heart gave out on him (he was a *very* big boy and I suppose that might be the obvious choice), or if it was a complication from the multiple surgeries he went through, I just know my sweet man was there that morning, and gone that night, in what seemed like the blink of an eye. & while my heart aches feeling like he made a spot for the rescue girl who arrived just 24 hours earlier, I’m certain he would have wanted her to have it. He was a rats rat, a rescue boy at heart who spent his life in the company of so many other wonderful rescues, and I suppose it’s only fitting that he would so perfectly time his exit to allow another sweet soul the chance at a life he so seemed to enjoy.


Rest easy, my sweet Bug, with Minx and Bosco and Nibs back at your side. I hope I gave you the best life you could have had, I hope you are enjoying mounds of treats wherever you are now, and I hope you are able to run free again with no bad legs to slow you down. It was a wonderful journey and I’m thankful to have been a part of it, and I’ll hope your rescue girl has grand stories to exchange with you when she finally gets the chance to thank you for what you gave her.

Bug and Merlin