I know I said that I would post the first part of my Desolation of Smaug review today, but my sweet Wicky rat passed away last week and I wanted to give him a post all of his very own. The film review will go up next week instead.
From the get go he was nicknamed 'Wicket the Cricket'. He was lifted out of the cage, where upon he promptly jumped out of the girl's arms, bounced off a shelf and landed on the floor. When I was handtaming the guys by sitting in the (empty) bath with them, he was the first to figure out how to jump onto the side of the bath; something which nearly gave me a heart attack in case he overshot the mark and fell to the floor, and completely baffled Yoda at how his brother kept disappearing.
Despite his boldness, he was always a bit of a 'fraidy rat. My little bundle of contradictions. He'd be the first to venture out of his cage into a new environment, but he was distrustful of any food we handed him. Often he wouldn't even take a tasty treat from us until he had seen Yoda having a safe nibble first. Had Yoda been the one to go first, Wicket would have shed ounces within a week!
Even though he was cautious of his food, he loved it. Especially Chinese and rather bizarrely, cranberry juice:
About six months ago we noticed that he had a little lump developing. After our past experience with rats and lumps we decided against having it operated on (we have a 100% success rate at rats having lumps removed, and a 100% fatality rate with them getting through the following 24 hours afterwards). He was far older by then than any of our rats who had had the op, so we decided to keep him comfortable and trust that he would let us know when he'd had enough.
And it didn't slow him down or stop him at all. Until the second week of December he was still climbing up and down the bars of the cage. He'd even put himself to bed if you popped him on the staircase and told him where to go.
Then he started to slow down. Almost over night he decided to stop climbing up the cage, so we added extra bedding for him, moved the food down to the ground floor, and made him comfy. We hoped he'd last for Mr Click's birthday. He did. We hoped he'd last through Christmas. He did. And the whole time he kept eating and drinking and washing and doing all the usual ratty things. He was happy, but he was obviously starting to fade.
Wicket saw in the New Year and then he slipped away.
I had a feeling that he wasn't going to be there any more when we got home. It was like he was just waiting to see what 2016 looked like and then he decided it was time to go.
He was my cute and chunky little guy. He was black with a soft white belly, but he wasn't just solid black, he had brown and grey and white and dozens of other colours in his coat; like a little ratty kaleidoscope, you saw something different each time you looked at him.
And he way better eyesight than Yoda, so he didn't nip you when you stuck your fingers in the cage to rub that cute little nose.
I miss him. Sleep tight, little guy.