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Tue, May. 17th, 2005, 07:11 am
Dream of rats

Last week I had a dream that had me wake up in the middle of the night and made me cling to ristin for support. It started off with me reading a trashy furry comic, probably in Furrlough. It had a typical heroine; big boobs, big ears, cervine. She was stalking a huge hulking malevolent rat with a knife. Ristin does not normally accept that rats can be evil but I assured him this one was. As is not typical in these sort of stories, she was stabbed and lay bleeding on the floor. Then, as happens in dreams, the perspective changed and this evil rat was not safely esconsed in a comic but free in our world. I could see him hunched over in a corner, glaring at me. He was in his element, complete darkness, but somehow I could see him and I was paralysed with fear. Ristin got out of bed and blindly stumbled towards him. I wanted to warn him but nothing would come out. The rat lashed out and stabbed him in the chest. As Ristin fell the rat stalked towards me. At last I found my voice and shouted "no-no-no!" in a despairing wail. This is when I woke and I needed Ristin to comfort me.

Although I called the rat evil, I later realised where he came from. I've been reading Rats: A Year with New York's Most Unwanted Inhabitants by Robert Sullivan on nicodemusrat's recommendation and it had a disturbing scene in which rat control officers were drawing blood from the hearts of live (unconscious) rats to check for infectious diseases. Although they kept upping the dosage of anaesthetic (enough to kill a cat, they said) some of these rats just didn't want to stay down. One struggled as he was being bled so they put him on the filthy floor and one of them stood on its tail to keep it still. I quote from the book:
Dan was not trembling but he did seem as if he were in shock. "I'm using my foot," he said, speaking in the present tense, as if watching a replay, "but the rat still gets up and pulls himself away." Dan was really shaking his head now. In fact, he was no longer telling me to keep rats in perspective. "Rats are incredible, they really are," he said. "I mean, there aren't many animals that can bleed like that and that can take it."
Needless to say, they let that rat go on its way. I now understood why the rat in the dream glared at me so malevolently and would stab people in the heart. It was not evil; merely enraged and seeking revenge. We should be glad that rats do not have a vengeful spirit in them.
(Deleted comment)

Mon, May. 16th, 2005 10:01 pm (UTC)

Nor is it representative of mine.

Mon, May. 16th, 2005 10:00 pm (UTC)

Ulp! Uhh... I hope you're finding the book worthwhile, other than the terrifying nightmares it inspires? heh. :,

Mon, May. 16th, 2005 10:17 pm (UTC)

Oh, yes! Don't get me wrong; I have been enjoying the book. Er, except for the dreams of course...

Mon, May. 16th, 2005 10:43 pm (UTC)

Good to hear! I thought it interesting, though I certainly didn't anticipate any, uh, "side effects". :)

Mon, May. 16th, 2005 10:51 pm (UTC)

Furlough can contain some really dark stuff, it's true. But they can warp any animal's character, I assure you. Yes, rats can be evil, there's bad apples in any species. Rats are, by and large, loveable and friendly creatures, and both Squirrel and I have a surfeit of experience with them, so we speak from a position of ratty authority!

Just relax and don't let nightmares bother you.

Mon, May. 16th, 2005 10:59 pm (UTC)

Damn, I got distracted while typing that and left words out: I meant to say that rats can have the potential for evil, but it so rarely manifests itself. Aside from something totally eerie and bizarre that Sky once did that Squirrel and I will never understand, we've almost never seen anything in rats that indicates an evil nature, so you must understand that this potential in rats is purely hypothetical.

Tue, May. 17th, 2005 12:27 am (UTC)

But what did she do?

Tue, May. 17th, 2005 11:52 am (UTC)

I'll have to e-mail you about that. It's not a pretty story.

Tue, May. 17th, 2005 12:34 pm (UTC)
nightcoon: Here you are ...

Actually, heck with it. Here you go. You've been warned though:

What Sky did

About the inevitability of us forgiving her

Wed, May. 18th, 2005 03:27 am (UTC)
marko_the_rat: Re: Here you are ...

You did the right thing.

Wed, May. 18th, 2005 08:42 am (UTC)
nightcoon: Re: Here you are ...

We know. There was no doubt about just moving on. We can't understand it, but it was not entirely Sky's fault.

Tue, May. 17th, 2005 01:21 am (UTC)

More of a side note than related to your dream... but anyhow, some years ago, when it would come time to have my rats put to sleep, i'd just let the vet take them away, and then return a bit later with a dead rat for me to take home and bury... But eventually, i asked to stay in the room and hold my rat until it died. It was then that i found out this vet would inject the euthanasia fluid by puncturing the rat through the ribs from it's underside, drawing out a bit of blood to be sure he had the heart, and then injecting the fluid.
Have you ever heard a rat scream? Not squeak..not squeal..but scream -.- It was awful. A sick rat too. One who was old and/or ill enough for me to consider the need to put them out of their misery.
It's a terrible thing to do. No wonder it wakes them up from so much anesthetic.

I asked around and then found out that a rat could be put to sleep by injecting the fluid in their soft belly (hopefully hitting the liver, or a loop of intestine instead), rather than so painfully through the ribcage and heart.
Even then, my new vet has said many times before that it takes as much fluid to kill the average rat i've had as it does to kill a hefty cat (and they sometimes take as long as 20 minutes to go at that dosage).

Rats are indeed fighters, and amazing critters, even when they are on their way out...

Needless to say, never again will i allow any of my rats to be put down via an injection to the heart.

Tue, May. 17th, 2005 02:28 am (UTC)

Some vets specializing in small animal care also have gas masks designed to cover their muzzles. (Somewhat like a respirator or oxygen mask.) They sometimes use for anesthetic on longer or more complex surgeries.

Tue, May. 17th, 2005 03:06 am (UTC)

I know the two i've gone to around here use the small dog muzzle mask for the rats... and just stick their whole head in it when i've sent a few of mine in for surgery.

But for putting them to sleep.. such a thing just runs up the bill, which i've not got the money for (for the number of rats i have, and how few years they live)... The belly injection works, and doesn't seem as painful at least.
(Deleted comment)

Tue, May. 17th, 2005 02:00 am (UTC)
swiftrat: =O.o'=

"We should be glad that rats do not have a vengeful spirit in them."

Uhhhh??? I wouldn't be too sure about that. If you don't share your chocolate malteasers with them, and they smell it on your hand or breath, watch out!

Tue, May. 17th, 2005 07:06 am (UTC)
sieobahn: Re: =O.o'=

*points up* She can be a very evil and vengeful rat!

Tue, May. 17th, 2005 11:26 am (UTC)
marko_the_rat: Re: =O.o'=

*guffaw* Thanks for that, Sie! You've cheered me up. :P

Tue, May. 17th, 2005 12:28 pm (UTC)
swiftrat: Re: 0 =:3 <--- angel rat (with halo above head)

*feigns innocence*
(Deleted comment)

Tue, May. 17th, 2005 11:32 am (UTC)

What that rat did had nothing to do with self defence. But I suppose what he did does take a certain kind of emotional strength.