Gorgeous George

Gorgeous George was a black berkshire dumbo.

George came to me with Delta after their owner had been told by her landlord that she was no longer allowed her rats anymore.
George was a special needs rat. He had severe head-tilt and possibly other neurological problems when he arrived. As a result, he lost balance a lot, and had trouble keeping his head still. His previous owner also told me he had no control of his bowels as he would poo whenever she picked him up, but this problem pretty much disappeared once he came here so I believe it was just fear based.
Rats with bad head-tilt see the world as a wonky, confusing place so a lot of them do not enjoy being lifted up as it throws their perceptions out and makes them anxious. I did not used to pick George up much because I believe it stressed him unecessarily. However, he loved a scratch behind the ears when in his cage, and on the occasions I did handle him, I always place him immediately onto my lap so he felt secure. He was a very licky, affectionate boy.

His previous owner got George from the Pets At Home adoption center where they were going to put him to sleep due to his problems.
As it is, rats with head-tilt like this can live good lives and it is no reason to euthanize an animal. George had likely had his issues for most of his life so he probably didn't know any different.
It certainly didn't stop him enjoying life. Believe it or not, he could even climb to the top levels of the cage! And he was a wonderful rat to introduce to others as he loved everyone. He was always very small and I think his growth was a little stunted, but he was definately a happy rat and I had no concerns about his quality of life.
What was interesting was that his neurological issues actually began to improve once here. They never went away, but he went from spinning round in your hand when you picked him up, and staggering almost drunkenly when he walked, to being able to walk far more normally, and right himself far more easily. I am not sure what caused his improvement, I have some theories but nothing solid. One thing that was markedly different from the way I cared for him to how his previous owner cared for him was that I believe his previous owner was a vegetarian, possibly even vegan. This may have reflected in how she fed George. Here, he was given plenty of animal protein, so who knows whether this made the difference to his mobility and neurological issues?

George was a victim of Vanya, who turned on him one day and beat him black and blue. As George was elderly by this point and passed away after about 48 hours, despite seeming to pick up a little first. I believe, though, that whatever Vanya had in his saliva that seemed to kill other rats, it got George too, because although he had cuts and scratches, these would not have been enough on their own to kill a rat. Please see Vanya's page for more details.

Why Gorgeous George? Because he was gorgeous, and the name George fit him perfectly.

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