Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Even the smallest among us

Jess with the late, great Beyonce on her shoulderThe world is a little less adorable now that our dear Beyonce the Rat has left us. She was a survivor, to be sure: She was rescued from the very jaws of death (a cobra's cage) at National Geographic* and came to live in our house in the Summer of 07. We all learned very quickly that she was not to be stalked, pounced on, or chewed (friend-not-food was the mantra). She loved me and Stoney, sneaking her way under my chin when I was lounging on the couch.

The girls gave her the best of everything! Smoked oysters, organic veggies, blankets to shred. Jess would save the frisee from her salad. I have to admit that it's downright cute to watch a rat munch on salad greens. Her little hands would turn the leaf this way and that, then start nibbling. Yogurt drops were her all-time fave. She'd throw out everything else in her bowl to get to them!

Beyonce hung out on the couch most of the time. You can still find the spots she chewed in the fabric and pulled out the stuffing. Her favorite spot was sitting with Jess while she watched TV. Beyonce would sit quietly and let Jess stroke her fur. She watched all of Ratatouille that way!

Beyonce lived to be about 2 years old (probably). She survived 3 days in a cage with a cobra, a bout with an upper respiratory infection, breast cancer, and life with 6 cats. It was either pneumonia or cancer that took her in the end. Whatever it was, she couldn't breathe. She let Jess feed her medicine in baby food right up until the morning she died.

Now the cage is empty, all cleaned out and ready for storage. Jess kept looking at it, expecting that little nose to poke through the wires. I'm sure the girls will bring another rat or two into their lives soon, but not just yet.

Beyonce the Rat

*The NatGeo story is true, but may not be as dramatic as Jess and Marlene tell it. They don't care. They're sticking to it.