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Goodbye Jeffrey Jan. 26, 2010-Feb. 27, 2012

1574 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Vladina
January 26 2010- Feb 27 2012

I just spent the last 3 weeks working closely with Lilspaz and reading through her Memorials, I almost can’t help taking a page from her book and offering a memorial after her example for my boy Jeffrey. She’s right. It helps so much to do this.

I said goodbye to Jeffrey today. He is the second of my rats after fellow Original Alabama Ghost Boy Windham to say goodbye. Jeffrey, otherwise, was a lot of firsts. He was the first baby rat I ever held. He was my first dumbo. He was the first to warm up to me and courageously try to figure out the big lunking rat newbie. He was the first to explore and investigate and always the first to attempt daring and scary new things.

He taught me a lot about keeping rats. Namely, all of the reasons why a collective of rats is sometimes called a mischief. While his brother Tucker was laid back, and his brother Windham was shy and fearful, he was a fearless and independent adventurer.
One of the first times I let the boys free roam in my bathroom, I discovered I had missed securing a small 1 x 2 inch hole up under the lip of my bathroom cabinets that led directly into the shadowy crawl space under the floor of the cabinets. More accurately, it was Jeffrey who discovered it. I could only lunge after him futilely in super FX slow motion going D’ohnoooOOOOoooooooh as his butt and tail disappeared from sight.

After a full minute of me freaking out and wondering how much trouble it will be to rip apart my cabinet, and imagining all the additional crawly holes that there might be that lead directly into the walls, I heard a snuffly sound coming from behind the cabinet door. I opened it, and there he was blinking his baby button eyes at me, and sitting on a towel looking mightily pleased with himself. The poor craftsmanship of the carpentry extended to a foot square hole in the back inner unused corner of the shelf. He hopped into the crawl space through the little outer hole, and then hopped out of the crawl space into the cabinet proper through the gaping inner hole onto the snuggly towels under my sink.

He persisted in being a daredevil long after his slightly larger two brothers had given it up for Lent. He’d leap from and onto anything he could find. He’d scale 6 foot bookshelves. He’d stretch precariously from my shoulder to the telephone cord of our ancient wall phone so he could reach the pantry shelf. His favorite thing when he was still tiny was to try to leap onto the camera as I tried to take pictures. If there was trouble, he found it.

He often enlisted his two siblings in tag team escape attempts. His brothers would bait, and he would switch, bolting out of hiding to squeeze through a barely open door as I blocked his brothers. He got lost in the house more than once with me hunting for him.

When he was younger, he had this habit of walking around on his hind legs that I’d never seen before outside of trained rats, usually as he walked along baseboards looking for ways to scale shelves and walls. He looked like a hairy predator dinosaur. I called him “Vossy Velocoratter”.

Every time he got into trouble, I’d sing to him a little Rolling Stones “Jeff-rey, does what he wants, any o-o-old time!”

As he aged, he finally mellowed. Once brother Windham died at nine months, I brought four new rats into the family; my two pugnacious hairless bRats, siamese Zmei, and a much younger tiny half brother to Jeffrey and Tucker named Black Pete. Black Pete took to Jeffrey right away. He was a tiny pint sized shadow to his big and Awesome Big Brother Jeffrey.

As Jeffrey aged, he also started developing a manly scruffiness. Stick a fedora on my scruffy adventure rat, and he’d make a perfect Indiana Jones.

Once Black Pete achieved full glorious man rat size this fall, the roles switched. There was some minor squabbling between them, but Jeffrey passed the torch of Macho Coolness to “Big” little brother Black Pete. In return, Black Pete still shared his hammock, treats, and Bromance love with no body else quite like he did with Jeffrey. Black Pete would sit by his side for hours with Jeffrey bruxing away in contentment. It looked for all the world like Jeffrey was recounting his Indiana Jones glory days to his younger and respectful acolyte. Black Pete looked after his aging big brother, pouncing on anyone who dared give Jeffrey any lip.

I noticed around Christmas time that Jeffrey was looking a wee bit scruffier than usual. I noticed around the beginning of February a week or so after his second birthday that he looked a bit leaner than he had. Five days ago, I opened the cage for free range, and noticed that Jeffrey was moving unsteadily. These were my first elderly rats, and all along I thought this was part of the aging process, since he showed no respiratory or other signs. I took pictures during that same free range, and saw clearly through the lens that it was something more. I contacted his breeder, and she urged me to take him to the vet even as I was making an appointment.

The vet found nothing specific right away. He detected no heart problems, no respiratory problems, and no signs of swelling or tumors or any other of a number of possible causes visible in an office exam. He prescribed me Abs, and I took Jeffrey home to what turned out to be a five day battle to keep him hydrated, fed, and medicated to see if he would rally.

Today, Monday, Jeffrey looked at me miserably and told me he was tired. I took him to the vet this afternoon and said goodbye one month and one day after his second birthday. We said goodbye with bitter sweetness, but with little regret. My Adventurer had lived an awesome ratty life, and was ready for the next great adventure. Run hard my little Indy. Don’t forget your hat.

Here’s the first picture of my three original Ghost Boys at six weeks old. This was also their first free range and real interaction with me. They are still very unsure, but even so, Jeffrey is the one in front, guarding his two brothers.

[FONT=&quot]30 minutes later, look who’s exploring the lunking mountain. [/FONT]

He and Tucker loved climbing on people. Here he made it to the top of a friendly head and is, naturally, eyeing my camera as a landing perch.

Boink! Missed!

His biggest weakness turned out to be watermelon. Here he is in ecstasy over his very first piece.

He had a way of lounging that cracked me up. Check him out at four months old front and center watching TV, one elbow cocked back and leaning on the other all “ Wazzup?” He looks like he’s leaning his elbow on a bar with one hand on his hip and asking for a pint.

Vossyratter!!! Rawr!!!

It was near Jeffrey and Tucker's first birthday when we introduced the four new kids. Jeffrey spent hours of his time teaching the bratty hairless their place. Here Jeffrey displays to snarky naked Skinner.

The nakeds didn’t give up quickly. Jeffrey got a small nip to the nose from one of them early on. Even with the nip, this is my favorite Jeffrey picture. He had the thickest fur and biggest non-buggy eyes. I just want to snatch him up and cuddle him whenever I look at this picture.

A little older and slower and starting to show his Indiana Jones scruffiness. I ended up blocking the small escape hole under the bathroom sink with paving bricks. This became his favorite place to lounge during free range.

Jeffrey at 18 months, STILL occasionally trying to decide if he can jump the distance to my camera.

My last picture of him taken six days ago after he finished ambling around after free range. You can see clearly that some kind of illness is just beginning to catch up with him.

But Black Pete is with him to the last.

Goodbye Jeffrey. You and Windham are back together again, causing little ratty mayhem on the next plane.
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:heart: :heart: Goodbye, dear Jeffrey. We'll miss hearing about all your glorious adventures, though we all know the next chapter has already begun beyond that bridge. :hugg2:
An amazing and legendary boy was Brave Jeffrey, and well fit for the nickname of Indy. I loved reading your was inspiring, funny and most of all, touching, reminding us all that each rat is such an individual and so full of life and fun. Jeffrey had such a wonderful and adventurous life with you and his brothers, and now he is off for even more adventures. Memorials are always sad, but they can also make you smile, which is even better. I tip my hat (or fedora in this case) to you Jeffrey, and rest assured, you will never be forgotten. It is very obvious you already have celebrity VIP status at the Bridge with all your buddies. Enjoy and play hard! We LOVE you.
rest in peace mr jeffrey, may you have fun over the rainbow fridge and get lots of yummy treats until you and your mommy meet again someday
Okay, I've got to giggle. How did you know the Rainbow Fridge was where they keep his treats? :D
Wow! What a cool little guy he was! I loved that he'd launch at your camera! That's hilarious. Jeffrey sounds like one of a kind. What a great entry in honor of him. <3
RIP Jeffrey
Okay, I've got to giggle. How did you know the Rainbow Fridge was where they keep his treats? :D
lmao thats what I get for writting a post with my cell phone, darn auto correct :p but if u think about it hes over the rainbow bridge what are the chances theres a happy rainbow fridge :p
It is officially the Land of New Feetsies with a Rainbow Fridge! :)

I just got his post mortem results back everyone.
As it turns out, Jeffrey had a 5mm calvaria ostioma which caused encephalitis. In English, he had a benign bone tumor on the inside of his skull, which caused fluid build up and swelling. This led to pressure on his brain that couldn't be relieved. So, brain damage and eventual death. It wasn't anything we could have foreseen. It wasn't the tumor that would have killed him directly. Had it occurred anywhere else on his body, he would have been just fine, but being inside his skull cavity, there was nowhere for the swelling to go but into his brain.

The vet said he had been in excellent health in every other respect. He said often such tumors in humans cause massive headaches, personality shift, and loss of motor skills, then eventual death. No telling how long the poor guy was dealing with headaches. :(
Oh poor Jeffrey...I never thought of ratties getting headaches before...I can only hope he did not have too bad a time. I wish we could speak ratty language so they could directly tell us what they need. I am glad that he no longer has to deal with any discomfort, as I am sure you are. We love you so much, Jeffrey. :sneakyhug
Enjoy yourself to the fullest and have fun with your new Rat Pack buddies, okay? I know you are doing so already.
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