I miss Hamlet. I haven't realized just how much I missed my Hamlet until talking about her with bellelvsbest. My older friends here would remember her, she was the most special rat a person could ask for. I've had many special rats; Fuzz, Isis, Starbucks, Templeton, Roswell, Algee, etc etc. However, it was Hamlet who was special beyond all others. My first rat. She was my heart. I'm sorry for anybody who doesn't know the extremely special bond between a human and their pet. For people to have a pet and not connect with them, it's sad for me. I understand the love between human and pet, you would love your pet obviously. There are some animals that touch your heart and leave little footprints on them. Animals that will never be forgotten, there will always be a little hole in your heart when this super special animal passes away. Hamlet was that super special pet. She touched me in a way an animal hasn't since (though many of come close). She was plagued her whole life with tumors and mycoplasma. I'm sure I spent over $1,000 on vet bills alone on this rat. I bred rats a few years ago (might start that again sometime, not anytime soon though!). I've spent so much money on vet bills for my rats because that's what a good rat breeder (rat owner!) does. Hamlet was $6 and I remember people badgering me about spending that much on vet bills. They would say "I guess I can understand you spending money on the vet with your breeder rats, those cost $30! But a $6 pet store rat?! You're crazy!". No, not crazy, just a good rat mommy. It doesn't matter the cost of the pet, you have a moral responsibility to look after this little being as much as you are able. My aunt has gone hungry to make sure her pets are well fed. She's kinda poor but her dog and cat, who are her children, eat decent grade pet food. A lot of people just don't understand that.
Hamlet was worth every penny that went into getting her well. She broke my heart when she died, I don't think I'll ever have a rat like her ever again. I wouldn't want to! All my other rats (see above for some of the extra special ones) also have a place in my heart but I loved them all differently. Hamlet would run to me when I got home (she got free range of the house a lot) and crawl up my leg. She would climb into bed with me, curl under my chin, and sleep while bruxing (rat version of purring). She mourned when my father died! She loved my father. It was beautiful seeing them together. My father didn't want me to have a rat but she grew on him. He would go into his office and rave about this little rat who he loved. I was at a retirement party for one of my father's co-workers and the previous mayor was there to talk about her. He saw my mom and when he found out who I was he asked me "do you still have that little rat your father talked about?". I was shocked! My father talked about Hamlet to ex-mayor James Hann! So yes, he loved her. And she loved him! When she figured out that he wasn't coming back she went to his pillow and wouldn't leave it for a day! It was bittersweet to watch this animal, an animal that so many people consider to be pests and worthless, mourning over the death of somebody. She died in my arms a few days after a tumor removal surgery. She licked me and went into cardiac arrest right in my arms. I knew her time was coming for about 48 hours so I slept with her. I got one of mom's old purses and put a towel and a hot water bottle in it to keep her snuggly. She didn't want to be away with me and frankly, I felt the same way. I had her cremated and she's in a nice little wooden urn with some of my hair (she liked to chew my hair) with some dried flower petals. I'm sure there will be many more animals that touch my heart like she did but I don't know if I'll ever have another rat that will effect me like she did. I'll develop beautiful bonds with some but my bond with Hamlet was one I don't think could happen again. I miss my girl and I'll see her again when I die.
Lots of photos behind the cut! If you don't like rats..well...don't click ;)
First photo ever taken of her, a week after I got her. It took only a week before she was friendly! In a crappy 10 gallon tank with *gasp* pine bedding!. I had read a crappy rat care book that was so out of date! I got my hands on a better one right after this was taken. I found out that 10 gallons is not enough for a rat and pine is bad. I then ordered a ferret cage and put her on CareFresh ^__^
Second photo, same roll of film! She was always getting into mischief. I found little piles of cereal and stuff for weeks after she died. She had stockpiled so much food everywhere. That can of soda was empty ;)
Taken a few weeks later.
With my dog at the time, Chaos. She's the only rat that would do this, that I trusted Chaos with. I was always there when she was with Chaos of course, but they got along nicely. Chaos was very iffy with so much, he hated having his paws touched for example. She would nibble his claws. They were cute together :)
Hamlet with my old cat Desi. Desi's licking his lips because Hamlet had just stopped grooming his face! Poor Desi ;)
Hamlet chased Desi quite a bit! Desi had to jump on the table to escape little Hammy. You'd see this full grown cat running and a rat bouncing after him!
Hamlet with another cat, Mr. Scrooge. Sleeping together on my parents bed :)
Hamlet's in the middle of shaking her head :P
Hamlet with another special girl; Isis
And yet another special rat; Starbucks! Isis was from my breeder friend, Starbucks was from one of my litters :)
Hammy also went outside. I was always super close to her and usually had her on a leash. She was surrounded by a ferret playpen here :)
Rat on the move!
Taken right before her first tumor removal
See the ears? That's a relaxed rat right there! She loved belly scratches :)
Licks for her human! You can see her eye there, she injured her eye one day and needed some stitches. She could still see out of it but not as well as before (which isn't that great anyway!)
Hamlet and her human! Mom took this photo while I was napping. Ick I look bad xD You can see her fur growing back from a surgery (either the first or second)
This was taken days before she died. She was fine that day, a bit lethargic but fine. Two days later she went downhill, and 48 hours after going downhill she was gone.
Always in my heart.
I got her February 7, 2002 and she passed December 3, 2003. I didn't even have her two years yet I have a lifetime of memories of her.
PS---I had to play this song for this post!
PPS---Apologies for any errors, was too tired to spell check and stuff.