First things first, this is about a pet rat. If you think that's gross or weird or whatever, guess what? I don't want to fucking hear it. You will be dismissed. What type of pet I have is none of your concern, he lives in my house not yours.

Now, with that cleared up, I'll continue.

This is Conner:

Conner is my baby. I've had him his entire life, and now he's nearing the end of it. He's almost 3, which is wonderful for a rat (average life span is 2 years). And he's old. And he's sick now, and I'm freaking out. I just got back from the vet and it turns out my little love has a spinal problem.

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Recently, he stopped wanting to eat his dry pellets. I've been getting around this by dampening them (easier for him to eat) and mixing them with stuff (chicken baby food most recently). I figured this was just age, and just kind of went with it. He also has Hind Leg Degeneration, something common in elder rats. It basically means that his back leg muscles are wasting away, leaving his back legs essentially useless. Again, age, and he didn't seem uncomfortable, so I just kind of dealt with it the best I could.

Today, I took him to the vet, because he breathing seemed labored and I figured it's a respiratory problem (something rats are prone too). While examining him, the vet noticed that he cried when he squeezed a certain spot on his back. The only thing we could do was take an x-ray. X-rays are expensive.

I ask the doctor for a minute, and then spend the next 10 minutes crying hysterically because I can't afford the x-ray. I call my mother (no answer), my boyfriend (answer, but also poor), and my father before he finally picks up the phone and promises he'll help me with the bill. Thank god for family. They do the x-ray, and yes, there is something wrong with the spine. It may be a spinal injury, it may be something collapsed, it may be a tumor. They don't really know. Regardless, there's nothing they can do.

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So I go home with a painkiller, that may or may not make him stoned, and that's all I can fucking do.

I know he's at the end of his life, and the vet and I both agree that his quality of life is still good so we're not taking any steps towards putting him to sleep, but it's still ripping my heart out. I just want him to be comfortable. His litter-mate brother died two years ago, he was the runt, and an infection just tore right through him, and though there was nothing I could do, I know he was in a great deal of discomfort. The thought of that happening to Conner too kills me.

He's a total momma's boy. He doesn't get along with my other rat, Bart, so they live in separate cages. Apparently, it was Tim or no other rat for him. But even when it comes to people, he really only wants me. He likes my bf and my parents well enough, but if I'm around he only wants to be with me. He will struggle against other people in an attempt to get back in my arms.

I love him so much. This really sucks. This really fucking fucking sucks.