Starting on a Down Note

by Sylvia A. Winters

Well, September has kicked off to a good start. To cut a long(ish) story short, I now have no rats of my own, and am just down to the two foster rats. I lost Ren a couple of days ago, my favourite rat probably ever, literally the day after we lost Milo, the funny little rat I took on for a friend not even three weeks before.

It’s going to be very weird when the foster rats leave. I’ve been keeping rats for four and a half continuous years now. I’m so used to having them around. Feeding them, talking to them, cuddling with them, and just having them out to run around the living room has all been part of my daily routine for a long time now. I’m used to having animals around. With the exception of my three years at university, I’ve always had animals in the house.

So I don’t know how long my pet keeping break will be. I might well get more rats in a year or so, but for now I’m tired of being constantly in and out of the vets’, tired of having to be on guard for any sign of a crackle in their breathing, or red staining around their noses. My fucking bank balance is tired. Really though I’m just tired of losing them all the time. I love rats. They’re one of my favourite animals for sure. But they only live 2 years on average. It’s not really enough time, not when you get attached to them, and there are some rats, like Ren, that you get attached to very strongly in a very short space of time.

Tomorrow I’m going in early to the tattoo studio to get something to commemorate Ren, and all of my rats. Pretty basic, just a little rat paw print. I’m a bit excited and a bit nervous. My first tattoo hurt a lot more than I expected (to everyone who ever told me they don’t really hurt, I hate you and I want your lack of nerve endings). I feel like I need it though.

I’ve got a week long holiday now and not much planned so I’m going to spend most of it writing. I’m working on a paranormal story (surprise surprise) that I really like. The characters are really jumping out at me and I find myself just wanting to sink into their heads and get their story down on paper. It still needs a bit more planning plot-wise, but everything else, all the characters and relationships and internal drama is pretty much already there with very little effort on my part. So I’m looking forward to not having to do anything else but that for a few days.