March rat-ness

I never saw myself as a rat person, until my girlfriend brought home a snail. I certainly didn’t see myself spending a weekend watching basketball with a trio of rodents.

Lacey, the ever-caring animal lover that she is, couldn’t stand to let a snail, whose shell she pulled off trying to move it out of harm’s way, suffer. This meant an urgent trip to Petco to find all of the supplies to repair its shell.

On our way around the store, we found ourselves in front of the rat cages. On top of her expertise with snails, Lacey also knows a lot about rat care. It was pretty obvious with all of the adorable eyeballs on me that we weren’t walking out of here without a new pet.

Even as we were gathering the cage, the treats and anything adorable we could bribe them with, I was having second thoughts. All of the pets I’ve ever had were rescues from the SPCA. I’d rather adopt an animal than buy one stocked on a store shelf.

As if reading my mind, the cashier at Petco mentioned they had three female rats that had been abandoned together. We weren’t walking out of there without three new pets: Olive, the skittish brown-and-white one; Abby, the black-and-white food finder; and Rosie, the tan little ball of adorable.
The early going was rough. They didn’t know who we were, we didn’t know who they were. The only way to fix this was with a weekend bonding together inside watching the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The terrible punishments I’m willing to go through for the care of animals.

Fascinating thing about college basketball: There’s a whole lot of sneaker squeaking. Fascinating thing about rats: They love squeaking. At least these three do.

After a game or two, the girls were sneaking out of their nest to look around their cage for the noise. Rosie gave up first, going to sleep in their second home—a graham-cracker box. Olive gave up the second she realized I was paying attention to her and hid in the main nest.

Then there was Abby. She was the one brave enough to come to the edge of the cage and see what was going on. She stood up watching the second half a foul fest between Michigan State and St. Louis. Thirty-five fouls kept her on her hind legs and glued to the TV.

Sadly, with the Final Four this weekend, I’m running out of regular basketball content that doesn’t require a cable subscription. But Abby doesn’t seem to mind. She’s adapted to catching up on The Walking Dead with me—outside of the cage now. I’m a little worried how fascinated she is whensomeone gets mauled by a zombie, though. Might have to put on The Waltons to take the edge off.

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