My little girl is gone. She had a good long life.
In this photo from a few days ago, she was relaxing after being fed. She went very easily and quickly today.
Izzy was the last of my rodents. Since October of 1997, I’ve been mom to many rodents — rats, mice, rats again. I can’t do it anymore, can’t have my heart broken so often. When my dog died in August of 1997, she’d been with me for 19 years and I could not then bear to get another dog, and ended up with rats. But I’ll be a dog mom again soon, will start visiting the pound and see who wants to come home with me.
At the moment, I feel a bit adrift. I keep feeling like I have to go up to Izzy’s room and do something for her, any of the many things I’ve been doing for her countless times a day for months.
I was wondering the other day just how Izzy came to be so very special of all my rats. When she arrived with her sisters, just a couple weeks after their brother Baby got here, she was always terrified of her shadow, and was a bit of a biter. It took her a while to train me but I eventually figured out not to stick my hand in her nest, or in the cage door when she was “guarding” it. Well, okay, I figured it out but often forgot. But she bit me less often as the years went on, and she became less nervous, too. Baby was always my mama’s boy, always wanting petting and massages and attention. Izzy used to hang back a lot. Their sisters, Feloni and Femali, were just nutjobs who loved to get into every kind of mischief they could, and those two didn’t have much time for me until they got a bit older and slowed down enough to appreciate the occasional massage and cuddle.
Izzy gradually came to appreciate cuddles too, and it got to where I could make her fall asleep on my lap during a massage. Baby never, ever liked being held, even though I could make him fall asleep with massages too — just not on my lap (only a very few times when he was on me with Izzy, and then not for long). He did love being up my sleeve and inside my hoodie, though — they all did. They used to fight over it, and then chase one another around inside my hoodie between that shirt and the two under it. They hated that they couldn’t get inside my shirt in summer because there was no way I was going to let them in there under just a t-shirt and have them use my nekkid ribs as a ladder.
After Feloni and Femali died, Izzy and Baby adapted well to being just a pair. By then, Baby was beginning a very slow slide into degenerative myeolopathy, and Izzy was already on Dostinex for her PT, so neither of them were at their best. They both appreciated massages and wanted them often, at that point. And after Baby died, Izzy adapted very well to being an only rat. She wasn’t doing especially well health-wise then, but she kept bouncing back, as you can tell from all the blog posts she made. She loved being completely spoiled and constantly waited on hand and foot. She slept with two rat-sized soft plush toys that had belonged to her and her sibs and still had a comforting scent for her. She spent a lot of time every day, in her favorite towel, cuddling with me, in utterly perfect bliss.
Izzy and I bonded so strongly in the last 8 months or so of her life that it felt like we were one. When I would hold her and cuddle and kiss her, she would press the top of her head up under my chin, her eyes closed, and brux with love and happiness.
I can still feel that.