It went so fast, he was fine the weekend before but on Tuesday I noticed he was a bit more sleepy than the others. Rats have their moods now and then so I let him be while the others ran around the room. On Wednesday, he wasn't okay so I made an appointment with the vet on Thursday.
My own vet couldn't determine the cause of his illness so he referred me to another vet, a so-called animal hospital. Here, the rat specialist took his temperature, extracted some blood and kept him hospitalized for a few hours to feed him and keep him warm. My baby wasn't doing well and it hurt me to leave him behind.
Around dinner time, I got the call with the results of the blood test. Merlin had severe kidney failure and there was nothing to be done, except care for him. Feed him, keep him hydrated and make sure he was warm enough. The vet offered to keep him but I wanted him home, with his brothers. If he had only a few days left, he wouldn't spend it alone in some hospital.
I took him home, but I saw that he wasn't in good shape. He was even worse than that morning. Maybe it was all the stress of the examinations and the hospital, but I couldn't have known that. I took care of him, made sure he ate, drank and stayed warm but he was so sick... I didn't sleep all night, I kept my mom up, I had a head ache and I was nauseous. The next day I couldn't eat. I slept a bit between 6 and 8 am and right away when I woke up, I called the vet for an appointment to let my Merlin go peacefully.
It still brings tears to my eyes writing you this. That's why I couldn't tell you until now, I would have started crying again and it's been enough. We buried him on Sunday and my boyfriend couldn't keep his eyes dry either. Merlin's life was too short for such a beautiful little friend. So here's a celebration of the time I did have with him:
Merlin was so special to me! He listened to his name, he was the only one of his brothers (I called them the triplets) that stopped when I shout his name whenever he sank his teeth into my furniture. He had his own corners of the room that he liked to sleep in. He reminded me of my albino rat Zorro, who died almost a year ago, but Merlin was a himalayan. He was white with a brown spot on his nose, brown ears and a brown ring around his tail. He used to lick my fingers like he hadn't seen food in ages, grabbing my finger with two strong paws. He was the cuddliest rat in the cage, he wanted to be held with two hands and be petted by another. Since I only have two hands, my face was fine too.
Merlin loved attention. He was the first at the cage door whenever he heard my voice. He looked so big when I introduced the triplets to Tarzan and Tchaikovsky in July, and just as he had copied Zorro when he was baby, he had his own copycats now. Merlin jumped on the bed, Tarzan followed. Merlin chewed away at my furniture, so did Tchai. He taught the little guys so much.
He lived a happy life and I miss him so much. He will always be remembered and he can never be replaced.