http://www.adobe-animal.com/new%20adobe/grief%20rts.htm - The grieving Person's Bill of Rights
I hope this can be helpful! Please post any other stuff you have found helpful/comforting here too.
Thanks so much for posting all the great resources for helping with the loss of a pet. I just lost my rat Vic recently, and this information has been helpful for me in dealing with the loss. I am also glad to see that there are caring people out there who can understand what I'm going through.
I'm sorry about your loss . I'm so, so glad the info is helpful for you. We unexpectedly lost one of our girls recently so it's been helpful to me too.
I wish our ratties did live ten years. I adopt rescues mostly, and it seems my time with them is so short, too short. It is easier when you can hold them and say goodby for now, but I lost one during a spay, her heart just gave out. The vet said she was probably so overbred, I was not sure where she actually came from--just that she was supposed to be sname food--which makes sense, because her sister also had a heart attack a week after I adopted her, and you could tell something was wrong with Ruby, she, at times, seamed so weak next to the others, and would sometimes sit hunched up in the corner, but at that time I didnt think to much of the signs, or else I would not have put her through a sedation. Now I am more careful, I hanlde all regularly and watch them as they play, eat, and sleep.
I just wish I would have seen these links last Jan. when I lost her. It is too hard to not be able to say goodbye, no closure, and of course I blamed myself for not seeing the signs.
Behavoir changes are important also, I lost another rescue to a brain diorder, she actually became overly aggressive, and when I adopted her, she was really sweet. I found out later that one of her littermates had the same problem, it was a brain tumor.
I adopt rescues too and older rats needing homes. This past month was really hard here. I lost 4 in 2 weeks. One had a pit tumour and hind end paralysis, he died seizing in my arms. I'd been watching a second who was a petstore rat who had a hip tumour and resp issues very carefully, trying to know when the time to be PTS would be. I didn't watch one of his cagemates well enough as I found him in the cage dead. He'd been rescued from a hoarder and was morbidly obese when we got him so no telling what his history was. I then finally had to give in with Buzz and had him PTS leaving Mickey alone in the cage. His greif was so great he began to eat things he shouldn't, bricks, wood, dirt and a pummace in the cage. He died in my arms at the ER from a bowel obstruction just days after I'd adopted Mo to be his buddy.
Very very hard. I was almost psychotic from grief after Mickey. He was so young and shouldn't have died. I just didn't see that he was EATING and not just chewing on things. I thought he was chewing to relieve his stress. I felt so guilty. My daughter told me about baby rats dumped at a campsite where she had stayed and I just became obsessed driving out there and camping out till I rescued three of them. I must say that camping in the wilderness and raising baby ratties does help to make the grief process go faster although the pain of losing my old boys still lingers on. The new rats just don't have that trust yet or the comforable feel but I know that they'll get there.
So nice to know we aren't alone though eh?
I had to put my Kiki down two weeks ago, the same day I took two there in for their neuter. It was so hard, I cried, and will miss her always. She had congenital heart failure, and I was keeping her alive by feeding her yogurt and baby food as she could barely eat her block, or any hard foods., but was still grooming and looking good. It took all her energy to breathe. She also came from a hoarding situation along with her two sisters. They are all gone now--Mozart had cancer, Tosca was overly agressive to the point of attacking--but I kept her as long as I could. Kiki was the runt, and the weakest, so I thought. She just went into respiratory one day, and I could not calm her down. I took her to the vet, and poor Kiki's sides were throbbing so hard, she was hunched up and staring. You could actually see the pain.
I have 4 more rescues, and 6 more from a breeder, but I miss my Kiki and her sisters. Seems the rescues really grab the heartstrings, cause they seem to need you more.
Fran, I'm so sorry. I've seen that hunched, staring look before and it's terrifying. There's nothing worse than seeing someone you love suffering and not being able to fix it. It was good of you to end her suffering (although I know it doesn't feel good to do it, at all). I'm certain she knew how much you loved her, and it sounds like you really gave her and her sisters a great life tehy just wouldn't have had otherwise. I have to say, it's been about 9 months since I shared my life with a pet - I just had to take a break from all the time spent at the vet and taking care of sick rodents. I know that once my life is more stable I'll run out and get a few new ratties because I can't stand being without them, but for now I just can't risk the heartbreak . Still, I miss all the funny things they do and all the love. I'm looking forward to having that again. Also, runts rule - Poco, the dog I grew up with, was the runt of the litter, and she was my best friend for 15 years. When we went to get our puppy I went to pick Poco up and the lady said to me, "Oh you don't want that one, she's the runt." At age 3, that just made me want her more because I knew no one else would take her! Runts and rescues are the best.
Theresa, you're amazing camping out to rescue those babies. I'm so sorry about the furries you've lost too, how traumatizing! You can't blame yourself that Mickey was eating stuff - we all watch rats destroy stuff all the time, but they're never actally eating the random stuff they chew up. How would you know?
I'm so sorry it took me so long to respond. I really need to get back on here more often because I totally missed all these posts even though I thought I was tracking them. It really is good to know we're not alone in all this, that there are other people who understand what it is to go out of your way to help someone (because most people wouldn't even do these things for their best human friend these days).
I wonder if rats force us to be better people....