If you're surprised by this news, you aren't the only one. Jack lived to a nice age of 2 years and 5 months old. That's pretty good for a pet rat I think. I know my rats are getting old, and it started showing the past few months. But honestly, I wasn't expecting Jack to leave just yet.
On Monday night when I took Jack out of his cage, I noticed that he did seem thinner than usual. He's always been the fat one. I also noticed that instead of running around on the bed like he usually does, he just found a spot to lay and relaxed quietly. It wasn't extremely alarming, but just slightly concerning. He ate his dinner fine and drank some water too.
After that, I thought about taking him to the vet this week and went to sleep for the night. Well, yesterday when I got up I checked on the boys and he was much worse. He was laying still on the bottom floor of the cage. I picked him up and he was very still. I wrapped him in a small towel and put him in my lap, deciding on what I should do next.
I could tell by looking at him, his time was very limited. He was knocking on death's door. I suspected he had a few hours to live, max. At that point, I decided I would sit with him cradled on my lap until his soul left his little body. Jack passed away about an hour later peacefully while I held his paw and stroked his fur.
I was torn on the decision of letting him pass at home or rushing to the vet's office. I honestly didn't think that we would have made it there in time and so I'm kind of relieved to have been able to spend his last few moments peacefully at home with him.
So, yes I'm kind of surprised as this was a bit unexpected. I let his brother, Gus, say his goodbyes and then we had a little funeral in the field. Gus seems OK for now but I'll be keeping my eye on him.
The only bad thing about having a pet rat is that their lives are far too short. And they seem even shorter when you adopt one as an adult. I am happy to have called Jack my friend and pet for 1 year and 8 months. Rest in peace little buddy - I'll miss you.