February 13, 2013 § 4 Comments
It took me almost two weeks to write this and that seems fitting for my topic. Mervy, my sweetheart rat, one of our original three rats, died a few days before I went to Mexico. I know he would have understood my tardiness with this tribute because that’s just how sweet he was. He died the way he lived, without fuss and without causing me undue pain. I think he knew he was secretly my favorite rat. Mervy was always a little smaller than the rest, and he sneezed a lot. Danny and I called him Sneezles Rat because of it. In fact, he was the rattie of a thousand nicknames: Sweetheart Rat, Cuddly Rat, Sneezles Rat, Mervytown Rat, Bumbler, Mervster Pervster, White-Bellied Merv, Sweet-faced Merv, Sewer Rat, Ambassador Rat. Mervy was the rat who won the hearts of even the most hardened rat haters. Everyone loved him. That sweet little face would squint up at you until you gave him a treat, and once you saw his delight when munching on a goldfish cracker or a peanut, you’d fall in love too. You’d have a lot of time to fall in love, because he was also the slowest eater I’ve met since my sister Juliana. He could nibble away at a peanut for ten minutes. When we bought Willy, we had already owned Bob and Merv for about a month. Bob tried to bully Willy, to establish that he was the dominant male in the cage, but Mervy wouldn’t let him. He blocked Willy from Bob and kept him safe. Merv was the cuddly rat, the one who liked to snuggle even before he grew older and slower. He’d hop up to my bed when I was lying there reading, and settle down on my shoulder for a lengthy grooming session. He had the cutest little move when he groomed himself. He’d run his little paws from back to front over his ears and down his face to his mouth. Then he’d lick his paws clean and do it again, quicker than a cat. I never saw another rat do that. Even when his tumor began to grow, he was still bumbling around my room and cuddling up in my lap, just hoping for a good ear-rub. This is a shorter and much less harrowing tribute to write than Bob’s, and that fits Merv’s gentle, simple personality. I knew he was going to die soon, and I’m so glad Danny and I were able to give him as much love and affection as we could before he slipped away in his sleep. I know he is with Bob in rattie heaven now, snacking on Cheese-Its and yogies and just being a sweet, lazy rat.