Over the Rainbow Bridge: Huey

I recently lost a pet rat to pneumonia, the first time I’ve had one of the little ratties pass on.  Let me tell you, it was awfully hard to see him go.  This post is his memorial.

Huey: 2011 – 7/15/2014

When I first met Huey, I didn’t really like him.  He came into my life as a full-grown male, formerly a classroom pet; back then he was known as “Alfredo”.  As a new rat owner, I didn’t know what to make of his big, bulky white body, his pinkish red eyes, and long, skinny tail.  I rather meanly thought he did resemble a big blob of alfredo pasta.

Huey, however, had no such prejudice against me.  He was a great rat, and quickly won me over.

Of all the rats I own, Huey was special because he loved to cuddle in my lap for hours.

His primary obsession was food – any kind of food, but especially junk food.  He’d snatch the treats out of my hands, real fast like “gimme dat!”  He wouldn’t take just one or two pieces, either – he’d stuff his whole face like a chipmunk and back away dropping food as he went.

He especially loved sleeping in hammocks.  One time, I hand-stitched a little tent that became his number one sleeping place.  He loved it so much that he did a little redecorating – adding so many “windows” that the tent eventually fell to pieces.

When the pneumonia got bad, his brother Lewis could tell and began cuddling him all day and night.  Huey would rest his chin on Lewis’ back to help his labored breathing. He would only eat food if offered on my finger, and only drink water if I held the spoon to his mouth.  Despite two antibiotics and some intravenous fluids and vitamins, the pneumonia was winning.

The night he passed, I went to visit his cage.  As I reached in to give him some pets, Huey climbed out of the hammock, crawled up my arm, and sat on my shoulder.  He hadn’t shown an interest in doing anything for several days, so I hardly dared to hope that he might be getting better.  We sat together for a while, while he burrowed into my hoodie and leaned against my face.  I could hear his raspy wheezing and somehow knew the burst of energy wasn’t a good sign.

Eventually, I put him back in the hammock with a yogurt treat and gave him a kiss.

About two hours later he was gone.

I just didn’t expect it to hurt this much, losing a silly little furry rat who somehow crawled into my heart.

Goodbye, Huey.  You were a wonderful, loving and special rat.  I hope you find all the junk food and hammocks your heart desires over the rainbow bridge.

2014-08-15 18.18.23

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