Hey everyone! I’d like to introduce yet another series here at ILRA: The Truth Behind The Family Menagerie. For those that don’t know, The Family Menagerie is a webcomic based on mine and Nikki’s crazy life with all our kids, both furry and scaly. It’s sure to include humorous situations that any animal lover can relate to and we hope it will continue to grow. Be sure to check it out – you won’t be disappointed!
This weeks TFM is entitled “Rescue Rattery” and, believe it or not, there is no exaggeration in this comic at all! A couple months after we moved to Austin, while a friend was visiting, we went and picked Nikki up from work to eat lunch with her. After lunch, we stopped by a pet store called Zookeeper to check out the cool reptiles they have there. Nikki loves snakes of all kinds and I’m particularly fond of leopard geckos and bearded dragons. We very seriously told ourselves before walking in that we were “JUST LOOKING” since we already had so many kids.
Of course, it being an exotics store, they also have mice and rats there to be sold as reptile food. It always makes us feel sad so we went to look at the baby rats. We bent down at a tank that was crawling with baby fancy rats and watched them play and tumble. We couldn’t stand the thought of them becoming food. A store associate came over and asked us if we wanted to see them. Against our better judgment, we said yes. Seriously, if you’ve ever seen a baby rat, you’ll know why we couldn’t resist. He opened the tank and we started pulling different babies out to play with them. The guy played with them too and as I watched him I said “He loves these babies too much, there’s no way he’d sell them as snake food.” At that, the guy jumped up and disappeared into the back. Nikki picked up an older boy rat who looked Himalayan and as she was playing with him, the man returned and set another older boy rat on her shoulder, this one brown. He told her he was going to be sold as snake food. I could see the thought in Nikki’s eyes and the man must have seen it too because he dashed off to the back again and returned with yet another boy rat, this one a Himalayan just like the first.
As he explained their story to us, we knew what we had to do. These three had been raised as pet rats, meaning they had been played with since they were young so they wouldn’t be hand shy. But they had never been bought and so the owner of the store had put them back with the feeder rats since they were “too old”. The employee who had helped raise them had kept sneaking them back up to the front, hoping they would be saved. I guess we were the bleeding hearts he’d been looking for and we knew that we couldn’t allow these sweet babies, raised to be companions, to become food simply because they were bigger and older than the babies. We couldn’t save just one either, so we took all three. The guy was so happy and told us that they liked to play “Tickle Butt”, where you chase them around with your hand and then tickle them and that if we “put them in a room with a disco ball and play some Diana Ross and they’ll be just FABULOUS!” Hehe. It was meant to be.
The friend who was visiting wanted a baby rat so she chose one from the tank, a pretty little fawn girl. Since we didn’t want her to be alone, Nikki & I ended up picking a gray hooded girl to keep her company. We named the brown boy TumTum, the twin Himalayans Toodles and Twinby, the fawn girl Artemis and the gray girl Athena. And that, my friends, is how on one lunch break, we ended up welcoming 5 more kids into our family! We wouldn’t change that day for the world!