It was awful. She's had a respiratory infection for the last few weeks and she's been on antibiotics and it seemed to have cleared up pretty much - but she's also had a new mammary tumour been growing down near her groin that's been growing a lot faster than the old one and the last few days I'd also been wondering if she was going blind because her eyes seemed to be sinking into her head a little bit and she seemed to be wandering around the cage a little bit and she didn't seem to be so interested in building her nest when I was cleaning out their cag eevery day - she was just sort of taking her naps wherever she laid down.
Today when I went in to spend time with them when I got home from work everything was fine but when I went to check on them before I was going to go to bed at 10:30 - Mrs Dingle's head was covered in blood and she was having real problems breathing and she was sneezing blood - so I wrapped her up and we went over to the Emergency Clinic - on the drive over it was obvious that her lungs were just full of blood- as we drove over I became just covered in blood, it was so sad. I didn't know that mycoplasmosis could have such an awful ending. She was in so much distress. The vet thought that maybe she had developed lung cancer? I don't know but I think it was obvious that there wasn't anything we could do to make her better at this point so we killed her. (I don't use the word euthanize). She had such a short life. But at least she only had a few hours of real discomfort - and maybe not even hours hopefully. By the amount of blood in their cage it looks like it wasn't going on for too too long before I discovered her situation.
One distressing thing is that they wouldn't let me stay with her while they killed her - their policy with "pocket pets" is that they gas them before they kill them so that they're asleep and then they kill them - and for some reason they don't want the owners to see that. So I didn't get to be there when she died. You always feel like you failed the animal in some way when you're now there when they die. Now I'll always have that guilt. Just one more piece of useless guilt to add to the mile-high pile that's there already being the good Catholic that I am, I suppose.
A couple pictures of Mrs Dingle in her prime to remind us all of how even a domestic rat is a living, breathing, beautiful creature that is as alive as you and me and hurts and feels and is scared and happy and feels better after she has a good crap and feels bewildered and alone when she is abandoned in a park in the middle of the night by the humans who had taken care of her up until that point and will therefore run up to anything else that looks like those same humans - luckily those humans happened to be a couple people driving by who knew a white rat shouldn't be in a park in the middle of the night and stopped and took her home.
I will miss you Mrs Dingle...
Mrs Dingle in her hammock
Mrs Dingle coming out for a sniff
Getting some TLC at the vet right after we found her...
Jada saying hello to the camera when I was taking pictures....
The last picture I ever took of Mrs Dingle on July 5th, 2005 - still hogging all the carrots for herself.