This weekend we said goodbye to our second sweet baby; Logan (A Jumbled Mess). Rats don’t live very long, and Logan was already 2 1/2. Even more amazing, she has had a slow-growing (albeit super huge) tumor growing in her belly. She outlived our expectations, and yet, it still came as such a surprise.

Saturday morning I was already hard at work in my office when I heard Dave call for me;

“Toin? I can’t find Logan.” And this is not possible. Logan is not our escape artist, that title belongs to Savannah, plus she’s too big. She can’t get down out of the cage. This one time though, this last time, I was wrong. Logan did find her way down. She crawled under the couch, inside Dane’s hat that he so thoughtfully left there, and curled up to die alone and away from everyone.

Luckily Dave found her, gathered her up, held her close. We got Tess up, it was early on a Saturday, she normally sleeps past noon if we let her. Teenagers. Tess gathered her baby, sat in the big “Santa” chair with a heating pad on low to keep Logan warm. We let Savannah out to say goodbye, she laid her little body on top of Logan to help keep her warm too. Later, at the vet, we learned Logan’s body temp was 34°C. Rats are normally 38°C. Low body temperature means they are in a state of shock.

Our vet is closed most Saturdays, but in Germany the local vets (pediatricians, dentists, etc.) make a rotating schedule so that there is always someone open nearby. We drove to a vet a couple villages away with our baby Logan, hoping against hope there was a magic wand. Our little trooper never squeaked. She even bruxed (rat version of purring) a little with all the love and attention. the vet was kind, gentle, and spoke amazing English. Our German is good, but when emotions get the better of you, it is wonderful to express them in your native tongue.

In my heart I knew Logan was too sick to save. I gently urged Dave and Tess to let her go, but their eyes went big. I could almost hear their hearts start beating louder and faster. They wanted to try to save her. And there was a chance, albeit slim, that Logans big belly was just water. A cyst or abscess gone wrong. The x-ray was not definitive. The needle biopsy showed fluid with some pus and blood. Logan was already on pain killers and heavily sedated. Her eyes were glazed over and she was calm. She radiated peace. She was in no pain.

I left the decision up to Dave and Tess. They choose to have surgery, hoping to save her, knowing that if the vet opened Logan and the damage was too extensive that she’d gently put Logan to sleep on the operating room table. Without them. We spent 10 last, wonderful minutes holding our baby. Stroking her soft fur. Her whiskers barely twitching, her big belly a visible reminder of how sick she was, and said goodbye. I could see on both Tess and Dave’s faces that they knew, they just couldn’t say the actual words.

The vet took Logan away, and I left Tess and Dave sitting outside surgery, white drawn faces, hand in hand, to pick up Dane from a birthday party. As I was bustling Dane back into the car, Tess sent me a text. Logan was gone. She hadn’t survived the surgery. I hugged Dane and told him. His little face puckered up and tears fell from his eyes. I buckled him in, tilted the rearview mirror and saw his shoulders shake. My heart broke.

Back at the vet, Dane didn’t want to walk in. He didn’t want it to be real. Losing a pet is so incredibly  hard. But Dave heard us drive up, and opened the door. Dane looked right past him, down the hall, to Tess standing there so lost. So small. So alone. He ran right into her arms and they both melted. Sobbing. My broken heart broke some more and I gently leaned against Dave and sobbed myself.

Our rat babies: Savannah, Willow and Logan

Saying Goodbye