Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Meet the Newest Additions!

Meet the four newest additions to the family!

I have compiled some footage of these four rascals who were welcomed into the family earlier this fall.

Cash and Mortimer are two feeder rats who joined the family in mid-September, 2014.  They were both minutes away from becoming a ball python's dinner at the time that I rescued them, and they have since settled in remarkably well with everyone here.  Cash has a friendly, sociable personality with an audacious streak, while Mortimer is more mellow and enjoys nestling in my arms or lap.

London and Britain are my two Norway rat hybrids.  I had never considered "agile" or "athletic" to be actual personality traits until I met these two.  They are both about as distant from your typical domestic rat as possible in nearly every respect, but particularly in their exceptional climbing and jumping abilities which are far superior to any fancy rat.  Both are very high maintenance and mischievous (although not destructive); in fact, I have not had an animal as energetic, animated, and impish as London and Britain since I lost Sebastian last year.  They have kept my hands quite full with their zany antics, but I wouldn't trade them for the world.

Britain hiding behind the litter box at 8 weeks old.

The four girls — Famous, Shadow, Raven, and Suki — were introduced to the boys after their neuters and accepted them immediately.  The two Norways seem to be especially fond of Suki (the only rat who can somewhat keep up with their inexhaustible energy), while Suki herself has taken a particular liking to Mortimer.  Everyone gets along splendidly as though they had all been raised together.

London (9 weeks) investigating Famous' flag prop

Famous (left) with Mortimer (right)

London on the curtain rod

These four will be making many appearances in future YouTube videos.  And for those of you who have been patiently waiting, there is a new Nana & Kaiser video currently in production that should be completed shortly.  I thank you all for your patience in the meantime.  More to come! :)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Nana the Border Collie's Amazing Balancing Tricks

Nana the Border Collie performs a handful of her incredible balancing stunts.  All of Nana's training is done with positive reinforcement and clicker training.

I have included some old and new tricks in this compilation.  And yes, Nana got to eat all of the treats at the end (she loved them!).  Make sure to turn up your volume for this video.

Music:  "In the Hall of the Mountain King" by Edvard Grieg.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

R.I.P. Paris

Paris Louise (July 1, 2011—March 7, 2014)
This photo was captured just prior to leaving
to the veterinary clinic.
Due to her continued health deterioration, I made the very difficult decision to put Paris to rest on the afternoon of March 7th. When living with an ill pet, you must always place the quality of the animal's life above your personal feelings/attachment for the animal. It becomes extremely difficult to let them go, or to even bear the thought of it. You have formed an unshakable bond with them and your love for them has no parallel. However if the animal is evidently suffering or if they lose their zest for life, it is only ethical to make the unselfish decision and grant the animal freedom of their illness and suffering. Though it crushes your heart to do so, this is the ultimate act of love.

After Paris declined further still in her health, I made this decision myself. I cannot tell you how difficult it is to do, though others who have had to arrive at this same decision I'm sure could relate. However, knowing that I was ending her suffering forever was assuaging.

On the evening of March 6th, I gave Paris her last bath. It was patent looking into her eyes that she found serenity in the activity. Unlike the other rats Paris was fond of baths and the feeling of the warm water trickling down her back, which would elicit contented bruxing. After towelling her, I prepared a dish comprising all of Paris' favourite foods: pasta, blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, pears, mealworms, and her homemade mix. I cooked an egg on the stove for her since I knew this was her favourite food, without question. Normally I will only feed high-protein foods such as eggs in small amounts (too much protein in a rat's diet over time is quite harmful); however this time I let Paris indulge, allowing her to eat as much as she desired. It broke my heart watching her eat her last meal, and just knowing that it was my last night with her.

On the afternoon of the following day I brought Paris in to the veterinary clinic. I held her in my hands and stroked her soft ears as I watched her breathe her last. She was in a better place, at last liberated from her sickness.

Words cannot express how much this rat means to me, nor can they articulate the immense grief and sorrow that permeates my heart as a result of this loss. Paris has left behind a void within me that can be filled with nothing — like an intense hunger that is insatiable, or like a dryness in my mouth that no liquid can quench. There will never be another like her; Paris was one in a million. She possessed the kindest, most beautiful soul that reversed so many people's negative perception of these unfairly misunderstood rodents. My broken heart aches for even just one more day with her. One more moment to look into her sweet, soulful eyes as I stroke her face and caress her ears. One more time to listen to her bruxing contentedly in the palm of my hand while watching a movie. One more opportunity to speak softly to her.... to tell her once more that I love her, and that I always will.

Rest in Peace, my sweet Paris Louise. You will forever remain in my heart and I cherish all of our memories together.

Paris at 6 weeks old, eating pasta.

Paris (1 year old) sporting her purple t-shirt.

Paris (2 years old), just before her lump removal surgery

Paris (2 years, 8 months)
This photo was captured just prior to leaving to the veterinary clinic on March 7.

Regarding YouTube, I shall need some time to grieve the loss of my beloved and irreplaceable friend before I can resume posting videos. I apologize for this hiatus, but I promise you all that there will be many new videos published soon. I have not forgotten you.

I would also like to thank every one of you immensely for your phenomenal support and solicitous words during emotionally difficult times such as these. Words cannot express my gratitude.