Frasier was a hairless.
Frasier, and his brothers Lenny and Carl, and several other rats, were found dumped on a doorstep in london, living in their own filth. The RSPCA in potter's bar took them in and had them over two weeks with no interest. Then someone advertised them on the rehoming section of a rat forum, and suddenly they were inundated with calls!
I've wanted a hairless rat for years.
However, due to the fact that they are not well received in the UK because of their potential health problems, no one responsible is breeding them. The only place to obtain one is either a pet shop, or a Back Yard Breeder, neither of which I wanted to support. Therefore, my only chance to obtain one was to wait for one to appear in rescue, which I'd been doing for many years. Hairless are extremely rare in the UK, even more so in rescue, so when I saw these ones advertised, I phoned the centre right away.
Getting these three turned out to be a fairly stressful and long winded process. I knew how many people in the rat communities were in exactly the same situation as myself: desperately wanting a hairless but waiting for one to appear in rescue, so I knew as soon as I saw them that they'd be in high demand. Upon my initial call to the potter's bar RSPCA, I was told they were still available and no-one had shown any interest. I told them I would very much like to take some on. The person on the phone went to check with her manager, and returned to tell me that they had apparently received a lot of calls about the hairless rats that morning, following their appearance on the rat forum, and I would need to 'get in quick' if I wanted one.
When I asked what exactly she meant by 'get in quick' she told me I'd need to come to the RSPCA centre and reserve them in person, as they would not do it over the phone. Potter's bar is over two hours drive each way for me, and I was told that even if I did make the trip up the next morning, there would still be no guarantee I would be able to get one as it really was first come, first served. I was happy to make the trip up if I knew I could bring some rats home at the end of it, but not on a 'what if?'. The woman assured me that coming to the centre on the off-chance was the only way I could get them, and even then I would need to return home empty handed, arrange a home visit, and then make the journey back to them later on, after the home check, to pick them up. The distance and the fact that I dont' drive made this impractical.
I was very disappointed, had stupidly gotten my hopes up, and now found they had been dashed. I was told some people were coming to see them the next morning, and I asked them to call me back if anything fell through, not expecting to hear from them again.
The next morning, I couldn't stop thinking about them, wishing I'd gone up there and taken the risk, wondering if there was anything I could do to improve my chances. I eventually phoned them back and asked them if any were left, and was told three of them were. I spoke to a different woman this time who told me that as I worked for the my local RSPCA, she could arrange a home check to be done without me needing to drive up there first, and she would put the group of three on hold for me.
Even after this, I was still not allowing myself to be too hopeful. Until I had them in my carrier on the way home, I would not believe they were mine.
A home checker from my local RSPCA came by a few days later and I passed, so he said all that was left was to arrange a time to drive to potter's bar and collect them. My brother and I drove up the following saturday and collected them. From the pictures I'd seen of them, I'd assumed they were quite elderly, but in actual fact, they were no more than 3 months old!
Initially, there were 7 hairless rats for adoption, 4 pink-skinned ones, and 3 darker ones, and the groups were mixed so it was a case of first come first served. I initially wanted 2 pale ones and one dark, if only for ease in telling them apart. But upon arrival, I was told the 2 darker ones left were reserved, so the three pink ones were mine. Having now spoken to the other person who collected the rats from there, this was not the case, and she had actually wanted one pink one herself for the same reason (telling them apart) so the RSPCA had obviously gotten their wires crossed on that one.
These rats were the result of many years of waiting, searching rescue pages and hoping, and were completely worth the stress and distance!
Frasier was always the most easy going of the three original hairless. He was also the most robust, and always served as a good example of what a hairless could be like. So often, I'd hear people who were opposed to the variety talking about how hairless were always underweight, always frail, always unhealthy looking, but Frasier turned all those stereotypes on their heads. He was a very licky, loving, boy, and so easy-going. He was perhaps not the brightest of rats, but he was a complete joy to own and never gave anyone any trouble.
Im still not 100% sure what caused his death, but I can never silence the nagging voice that says it was my fault. While other rat owners have tried to assure me they don't think so, I can never be completely sure, so thusly, will always wonder.
Frasier died suddenly one day, found dead in his cage.
A few days prior, he'd developed a large abscess on his lower belly. I bathed it, with intent to lance it as I often do with persistant abscesses. While bathing it to soften it, it seemed to burst when manipulated, but under the skin rather than out of it. I managed to drain some of the infection out, but will always wonder if my interferring with it caused it to burst prematurely, which gave him blood poisoning.
I cannot understand why a relatively healthy rat would have died suddenly like that. He did have mild, yet persistant, respiratory problems, and had also had blood in one of his ears a few days prior to his death, so its possible that either of those problems could have caused his death.
But I'll never know for sure, so all I can take away from this is a renewed respect for abscesses in rats, which I now usually leave well alone to heal on their own, which the vast majority of the time, they do.
Why Frasier? I love the TV show. Simple as.