Blaze by Lauren Austin / Your Mom, Lauren

It all began on December 29th, 2001. After training, my dad and I went across the street to a pet store to get another ratty. My two previous ratties had passed away recently, and I just can’t stand living without a ratty friend in my room. Anyway, as we were looking at all the ratlets (baby rats) trying to choose one, I spotted a beautiful little one in the cage. I took him out and looked at him. He had a wonderful pure white blaze going down his belly, while the rest of him was silvery black. I decided right away that this was the ratty I wanted. I named him Blaze for his most striking feature was his white belly.

Blaze instantly became a member of the family. He was loved and cared for by myself, and I soon became to love him like a son. Every morning, Blaze would ride my shoulder downstairs, and get a wheatie or two for breakfast. He also came down every night for a piece of fruit for dinner. At the same time, everyone wanted to hold him, and cuddle him, and give him ratty rubs, a kind of rat-massage which he loved very much. If you gave him one, he would stop whatever he was doing, and just sit there. He loved his ratty rubs.

As time went by, Blaze grew and grew, and became a huge, big ratty. He was at least a foot long from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail. I loved Blaze so much, I can’t even describe it. Even though he was a rat, I loved him as much as I would love a son, and I he loved me right back. He loved it when I gave him free-range time every night when he would run about my room, and come over to give me rat-kisses. I eventually made Blaze a maze from cardboard boxes, and a clubhouse. This huge clubhouse, I made myself and it took a few months. I made different levels, tunnels, and lookouts. Lots of little hiding places and places to play and have fun. This was Blaze’s favorite hangout when he had free-range time. He just loved running around his clubhouse and peeking out to see if I was still there.

Over time, Blaze grew a little older, and he slowed down a little bit. On his birthday, December 29th, 2002, he had a blast. We made him a little cake by cutting up some fruit, and putting it on the floor during free-range time. Blaze ran over, and ate a bit of the cake, and then climbed into my lab for some cuddling. We got a picture of him in his little party hat I made for him. It’s adorable. Blaze was itchy too, and uncomfortable. I didn’t know what the itchiness was, and I was concerned. My parents said it was probably nothing, so I left it. Now, I deeply regret that.

We finally had a vet come to our house on the 4 of September to check out Blaze, and see why he was itching so much. He said there was lice in Blaze’s shavings/bedding and the lice were sucking Blaze’s blood, which is why Blaze was so itchy and weak. Plus, he was extraordinarily dehydrated. The vet injected some fluids into Blaze for the dehydration. He said that he would inject Blaze with a medication to kill the lice. The only thing was that if Blaze was not strong enough by the time the vet gave him the medication, then Blaze would die too. So, he decided to wait until the 5th to give Blaze the medication.

The next day, the vet came back to give Blaze the injection. Instead of giving Blaze an injection though, he gave the med to Blaze orally so that it would be less of a shock. He also injected some more fluids into Blaze. I stayed with Blaze from the time the vet left. My mom came into my room to talk about Blaze because she knew I was really worried about him. All of a sudden, Blaze started a strange breathing noise, like he couldn’t breath very well. We took him out of his cage, and all of his muscles spasmed again and again. My mom said he was having a seizure. Long before then, right when I heard my little boy not breathing right, I started crying. I’m so obsessed about Blaze, that the slightest thing different with Blaze will worry me. By the time Blaze started his seizure, I was hysterical. I couldn’t stop crying, and I was worried out of my mind. As my mom held Blaze, trying to comfort him,
he stopped breathing, and passed away.

I cried for an hour or more, holding Blaze close. Through all the tears, I asked my mom what people do when someone dies, like do they clean up the person? She said they do, so I decided to give Blaze a bath, to get some of the lice off and to clean him up a bit. After his bath, I brushed Blaze’s still shiny fur, and my mom looked for something to bury him in. We found a nice, little metal round box, put some cotton on the bottom, and a blue cloth over it, and placed my little boy into it. My mom dug a hole, we said some last words to my boy, I covered Blaze with the cloth and placed some of his favorite treats in with him, and I placed the lid on the box. I put the box in the hole, and we buried him in silence.

I will never be the same without Blaze.
He had a huge impact on my life.
He was my son, my best friend in the entire world, my ratty, Blaze.


In Memory of Blaze, I love you boy,
Lauren Austin