Yesterday our family had to say goodbye to one our beloved pets: Lizzie, one of our two Dumbo rats. She was a little over two years old, and she was such a sweetheart. Yes, I know, most of you are probably cringing over the idea of having a rodent for a pet, which I do understand, as rats are usually known for being pests that infest busy urban hubs. In fact, I wasn't too thrilled about getting them in the first place, but we all do strange things to make our kids happy. Lizzie and Casey proved me wrong, and they quickly warmed my heart. First of all, we were able to potty train them. How cool is that! They both had their own unique personalities, and they were very affectionate and friendly. I loved watching them run around Jeromy's room, playing and climbing, always willing to let us humans pet them and nuzzle them.
As any of you parents can imagine, helping your child go through the death of a beloved pet is one of the hardest things to do. Jeromy was of course distraught, as Lizzie was very much a friend and companion for him. But I have to say, and I'm not trying to brag here, but he handled it with so much strength and courage. Of course he cried and said how hard it was, how much he would miss her, but he actually said to me, "Mom, I love her and I'll miss her, but I'm kinda glad that she can go to heaven now where she won't be in pain anymore." That kind of unconditional love and compassion is not always evident people, but it always amazes me how easily it can be found in the hearts and minds of children. We had a round cardboard box that I let Jer decorate while Daddy was at the vet's with Lizzie, and he wrote her a note, too, plus he wanted to include a picture of her. Wrapped in a small blanket, we placed Lizzie in the box, then we went out and buried her. Jer was so brave as he placed the box in the hole Daddy had dug, said goodbye softly, then fell in my arms where I just held him and let him cry.
So this post is dedicated to you, Lizzie, our loving and funny little rat... we will miss you terribly. I will miss seeing you climb up Jeromy's shelves only to swan dive back to the ground. You were always so fearless, so curious, and always ready for playtime. We will take care of Casey for you, and make sure she doesn't get lonely in her cage, though I know she will miss you too. Thank you for being such a great friend to my Jeromy, and we will never forget you.