? - 24.05.07

Molly was a mink hooded.

Molly was my first ever female rat, and my first ever rescue rat. She was the rat who started me on my mission to help abused and abandoned rats.
I do voluntary work at the Norwich branch of the RSPCA and was informed one day that a rat had been left with them. I was already prepared to take it on if it were a male and young enough to introduce to my boys. But when I saw her for the first time I knew instantly that she was a girl, just by her size. She was tiny and quite underweight. I told the RSPCA that it really wasn't ideal for me to take on a female rat as I only had boys, and didn't have another cage. I said that I would take her on only if no other home could be found. I fully expected them to have someone else who would take her on.

10 minutes before I was due to leave that day, someone asked me if I was still interested in the rat. Turns out no one else had offered to take her, and the RSPCA didn't have the facilities to keep her there. Knowing full well that small animals like rats are sometimes euthanised when quick homes can't be found, and being such a complete walk-over when it comes to rats I said I'd take her. I went to get a proper look at her and take her home and noticed she had a large tumour on her chest. This was most likely the reason she was abandoned and also why it had been hard to home her with anyone else. People don't want to take on a pet with a problem.
However, when I said that I would most likely have the tumour removed since the rat seemed otherwise healthy, the RSPCA offered to fund the operation. She went in for her surgery a week later and came through it well. Here you can see a picture of Molly on the day I brought her home.

I got Nora as company for Molly, and the two lived together happily for a long time, during which we also got Chloe, Frankie and Bess! But toward the end of her life, Molly's hind legs began to fail. I kept her in with her group as long as I could get away with, but she was eventually unable to get up and down the ramps, and was too frail to put up with the other girl's play. I had no choice but to move her into a smaller, single level cage where she didn't have to climb and would have easy access to her food and water. As this meant keeping her alone, I moved her up into my bedroom so she could have more one on one attention.
Soon, her legs became completely paralysed and she was bedded on towels and soft materials so she could drag herself around. No-one expected Molly to cope as well as she did, or to live as long as she did. As is usual in paralysed rats, she didn't seem to even notice she was in any way disabled, and she certainly didn't pity herself. She remained feisty and spirited right up to the day she died.

I went up to get ready for work one night, and found Molly dead in her cage, in exactly the same place she had fallen asleep earlier, curled up just like she was sleeping, her eyes closed. This leads me to believe she died in her sleep.
Molly was destined for possible euthanasia when I took her. Even after that, no-one expected her to live much longer after her lump removal surgery, but I actually had Molly for over a year! She was a very lovely little girl, and inspiration to never give up on a rat.

Why Molly? No particular reason. I'd just always thought it a nice name for a girl rat.

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