Wow, something happened last night with Maximus that Marc and I have never experienced before and it was a doozy for us. I am still reeling from it! I think I have some gray hair now too.
Long story short: We said our nightly "Good nights" to the boys and went upstairs to go to sleep. We live in a townhouse and our bedroom is up two flights of stairs. The boys' ratty compound is downstairs on the main floor in our combination living/dining room area.
SO, Marc and I are falling asleep, but after a few minutes, I can swear I hear little tiny pitter patter carpet scritching noises...the sound a ratty might make perhaps? I woke up Marc, told him what I thought I heard and of course he mumbles, "I didn't hear anything. It's not the babies. That's ridiculous, you're hearing things, blah, blah."
So I ignored him of course and turned on the light from my nightstand and there, across the room on the floor, running out the door to our bedroom is MAXIMUS (dramatic music starts). GASP.
You have to realize that not only have we never once experienced an escaped ratty before but due to my low back problems, our ratties have always been in caging and free play areas that are always above waist level (dining room table playgrounds, sofas, our bed, etc.) We never have our kids on the floor, so it was a double shock to see my baby UPSTAIRS on our bedroom floor!
So, I freaked out and hysterically woke up Marc who promptly jumped out of bed behind me and we spent forever trying to find little Maxie. He had come upstairs to find us, I am very sure. That just melted me right there. He and Achilles play in and on our bed all the time, and since they are rats, they are of course brilliant smarties, so he knew where Mom and Dad were, I am sure of it. Marc will carry them upstairs to put them in bed with me in the morning, for run around time and kisses/cuddles and so forth.
Anyhoo, We finally found him downstairs under the waist high bookshelf unit that their cage sits on top of. When did he run all the way down both sets of stairs again?? Probably before Marc and I even made it out of our bedroom when we first saw him run out. Ratties are so FAST! Amazing!
Marc laid down full length next to the bookshelf with a piece of treat for Maxie, who came slowly out, then changed his mind about the treat and ran behind Marc's body and right into the space between our vertical blinds and our sliding glass door that goes out to our back patio.
I saw a teeny pink nose sticking out of the vertical blinds, and when I pulled the blinds back, there was Maximus up on his hind legs with his hands in the air, like he was getting arrested. I was never sure what his posture meant. Either he was up on his back legs sniffing to find us or maybe in a defensive scared posture?
Either way, I just about cried because as soon as he saw me, he dropped down to all fours, ran over to me and put his little hands onto the front of my legs and looked up at me as if he was saying, "MOM! Pick me up please!!" My sweet baby!! That just melts me like butter. Being loved and needed by my little boy who wants his Mom.
How he dropped to the floor of our living room from the height of the cage and was not hurt amazes me. I could kick myself for a year.
I picked him up and wanted to hold him and never let go, I was so relieved. Achilles, the sweet, careful boy that he is, had stayed put. He was sitting right inside on his brick, by the open front gate of their house, watching all the drama. All he needed was a box of popcorn and binoculars to watch the entertainment from his front row seat.
Sure enough the door was left open. One of us messed up bad and left it open, between the back and forth with Marc and I both going to their house to give goodnight kisses and broccoli treats. It was probably me!
So, back Maxie went into his house with a new treat of course, after Marc went over him with a full body physical to check for any injuries (I think Maxie is made of rubber) and loves and kisses and tears and the oy from Mom, and he finally made himself comfy on a granite slab he loves to lay on and he started bruxing at us.
I am sure he was happy to be back in his safe place. Show over. Whew. I could have used a double scotch or something after that. Their door will be double and triple checked every night from now on, eh?
Relief is in the air. We are just so very, very happy he is okay.
(Now that I think about it, I remember hearing a bang noise a few minutes before I saw Maximus in our room. At the time I thought it was probably our little rock stars getting up to dickens in their house and trashing it, as they can sometimes do. It is possible that the front hatch door was closed but not securely and the poor guy could have been crawling up the inside part of the door and BANG, it falls open and out tumbles Max. I guess we may never know.)