Author Topic: In memoriam Bartholomew (2/20/16 to 6/15/18)  (Read 254 times)

Offline BigBen

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In memoriam Bartholomew (2/20/16 to 6/15/18)
« on: June 15, 2018, 08:34:54 PM »
I'm in shock.  I went into my bedroom just now to find my downstairs ratties in the Space Pod, with my beautiful sweet Bartholomew half-in and half-out.  He apparently died while climbing in to be with the girls, so I'm thinking heart attack or stroke.  Something sudden, anyway; there was no indication that he was unwell.

Bartholomew was an unintentional rescue.  I was buying rat and chinchilla toys at a pet store on Mother's Day, 2016.  I asked an employee for help, and we got to talking.  She asked about my animals, and I gave her the spiel.  I mentioned having six rats, and suddenly she said, "Do you want another one?"  She explained that Bartholomew was a baby who had been sold to a customer the previous week, but had been returned the following day with a degloved tail and a broken leg.  The purchaser had tried to claim he'd gone berserk and done the damage himself, but Michelle didn't believe her and banned her from the store, confisacating Bartholomew.  She took him to the vet, got the tail amputated, and took him home to heal.  He was such a sweetheart that she was planning on keeping him herself, until she discovered she was violently allergic to rats.  So when she saw me buying toys for rats and chins, she struck up a conversation and ended up offering him to me.

It took me a week to decide, but then I realized I had to give him a home.  I came to pick him up the following week, and he turned out to be adorable, and extremely affectionate.  He was about twelve weeks old at that point.  Introductions to the boys at home did not go well, although I tried several times.  He actually seemed to prefer being on his own, whether by himself in his cage or out cuddling with Daddy.  He was always affectionate and very eager to meet people; he was a superb rat ambassador.  I used to take him with me to visit my spiritual director, whom he instantly charmed.  When I would go to pick up some food at local food pantry, he would usually insist on coming along.  The volunteers all wanted to hold him, and the times I didn't bring him, everyone was quite disappointed.

Bartholomew never forgot me during my long hospital stay in 2016.  When the friends who had been caring for my rats brought him back home, he was so big I almost didn't recognize him, but he clearly remembered who I was.  He never forgot Michelle, either; when he was around nine months old, I brought him back to the pet store to say hello, and he jumped straight into her arms and cuddled there, pleasing her no end.  She was thrilled to be the recipient of many kisses.

My old boys all died in the fall of 2016, and the West Side Highway boys followed in April of last year, shortly after my mother's death.  Bartholomew and his cuddles were a great consolation during that difficult period.  My sister persuaded me to buy a house with her and move in to take care of my niece and our dad.  We moved in in stages, my sister as soon as we closed, then Dad, and then me at the end of August last year.  Meanwhile, the empty cage began to weigh on me, and I realized that there were plenty of rats out there who needed homes.  I got in touch with Mainely Rat Rescue, and arranged to adopt six of their least-adoptable rats:  three brothers, one of whom was a biter, an old doe no one would take, and two Holbrook rats, a mother--also a biter--and her daughter.

The boys and Louise moved into the upper level of the DCN, the mother-daughter pair moved in with Bartholomew.  At first, he was all "Daddy y u do dis 2 me?" and took every possible opportunity to get out of the cage, but the girls were so meek and unassertive that he soon fell in love with them and became very protective of them.  The times I brought them out on the bed (not often, because they were so scared) he would be right there, making sure his girls were safe.  They appeared to derive great comfort from his presence, and he enjoyed cuddling with them, to the point where, in the last several months, he would actually pass up opportunities to come out of the cage.

Bart was a rat ambassador all his life.  Despite the misadventure with his first owner (I suspect his injuries came from running in a metal-mesh wheel), he always loved people.  He charmed them almost instantly; it was amazing.  The day I picked him up from Michelle at the pet store, every staff member insisted on petting him and saying goodbye.  Wherever I brought him after that, people always fell in love.  He charmed the staff of the vet office I went to in New York, and he had the staff at our new vet's in Connecitcut wrapped around his tiny paws in no time.  He had an excellent memory for people; he still knew who I was after our three-month separation, and he still remembered Michelle after an even longer period.

Although Bartholomew didn't get along well with most rats, he was extremely gentle with Mary and Martha, my Holbrook girls.  He seemed to understand how badly traumatized they had been, and watching him look after them was very touching.  I think his gentleness and encouragement helped Mary get over her fear of me and stop biting.  His eagerness to let me handle him seemed to surprise her at first, and I think it helped her stop seeing me as a threat.

For such a small ratty, Bartholomew had a big presence.  He will leave a large hole in my heart.  Farewell, my sweet and lovely boy.  I hope you get along well with all the other ratties at the Bridge while you wait for me to come and find you.  :love9:
« Last Edit: June 15, 2018, 08:37:34 PM by BigBen »
What is a rat?  King-sized love in a pint-sized package.
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Offline purple rat

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Re: In memoriam Bartholomew (2/20/16 to 6/15/18)
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2018, 07:56:09 AM »
oh Big Ben, I'm so sorry for the sudden passing of Bartholomew.  It's hard enough to lose our fur babies, but when it happens so suddenly it's even more difficult :'(. What a lovely memorial for such a sweet rat ambassador.  Take care of yourself.
proud mama of Spock & Streaker

missing my babies at the bridge: Remy, Tuck,   Neo, Crash, MRR Canadian boys Kirby & Digby, brothers Baxter & Abbott & Bentley, Goober, Merlin

Offline gramma2jaakk

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Re: In memoriam Bartholomew (2/20/16 to 6/15/18)
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2018, 04:01:59 PM »
Oh no, I'm so sorry to hear of Bartholomew passing! I've been going so am just now seeing this. You gave him a wonderful home, given how his life as a pet first started. I'm sure he will be missed, and is missing you and his cohorts in rattie heaven.

Offline Been to the Mountaintop

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Re: In memoriam Bartholomew (2/20/16 to 6/15/18)
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2018, 02:12:09 PM »
Sorry for the human losses and was so sorry to hear about Bartholomew. You may remember he was so much fun for us while you were being treated for your accident I selfishly wanted to keep him. Although you were kind enough to let me do so, I knew you loved him too, and first. So glad he found ratties he could tolerate. Here, he was a total non-rat rat even after neutering. I bet he made a great ambassador. Who knows---he may have been older than we thought. As much of a shock as it is to find a body, at least you didn't both have to suffer a long drawn out "something."
--Best, Mountaintop--