My big boy Ripley (pictured from last night) had to be helped to the Rainbow Bridge early this afternoon. I've had him for two years this month... adopted him from the Humane Society.
He weighed in at one point at just about 2 lbs., but today at the vet, he was 1 3/4 lbs. He was the biggest boy rattie I've ever had... ever seen actually. One big lump of fur and attitude.
About two weeks ago I was combing him after cleaning his cage and I discovered a plum sized tumor in the area of his right hip. It wasn't there a week or two prior... it came out of nowhere. I had decided against removal surgery, due to the fact that he was up there in age (2 1/2 yrs.), and he was a bit on the overweight side. I didn't want to put all that undo stress upon him, so I chose to make him comfortable and help him live out his life as best he could, for as long as he could... with the growing tumor.
Yesterday, he came down with a really severe case of diarrhea, and this is when it became evident that he was also unable to bathe himself any longer. I cleaned up his cage, along with the mess he made of himself throughout the day and this morning... along with giving him some yogurt and Mylanta to try and help whatever was upsetting his tummy. He loved to eat and drink lots of water, but that had pretty much stopped over the past day as well. His breathing had also become a bit labored, and he was letting me pick him up and hold him! He was a grumpy rat who didn't like to be held at all, and suddenly, it was something he enjoyed. This, I realized, cannot be good.
Off to Dr. Bock we went... he confirmed that the tumor had pretty much eliminated Ripley's use of his right, rear leg, that his lungs were "harsh," his eyes were "hazy," I forget what the diagnosis of the diarrhea was, and his body temperature was lower than it should be... he needed food / fluids / warmth / some meds to MAYBE make him start to feel better. However, the large tumor remained a major concern, as did his age.
I weighed all the scenarios, all the options, and made the gut-wrenching decision... once again... to say a very tearful goodbye and help him go to sleep.
I'm thankful for the past 24 hrs. where I got to spend so much time with him... holding him close to me, petting him, talking to him... all those things that I wasn't able to do before. I feel badly that I got that time with him only because he was so ill... I suppose it was a mixed blessing.
Ripley-Roodle, your mere presence in my home made me very happy, and I miss you so much already. Who will be there to bite at me... just because? Who will I very carefully hand-feed whole wheat noodles to now, that loves them so much? Who will I listen to drinking, and drinking, and drinking, and drinking from their water bottle... until I think it's going to empty all in one sitting? No other rattie, Ripley... there's only one you.
I hope you're at peace forever. Thank you for being my friend...