Eagles Darth Garth
January 31 2007 - November 10 2009
Darth Garth was one of the sweetest rats on the planet, and like fine wine, the older he got, he just kept getting better and better. He developed an ear infection when he was just a few months old. It cleared up nicely but left him with a severe head tilt and a mixed up sense of balance. Literally, he had no clue which way was up. Sometimes he would lean so far to the side that he would roll right over, yet the disability never slowed him down a bit. He always seemed like such a happy little guy, always excited to explore the play ground and to experience whatever life had to offer. He loved people and was so gentle natured, that I never had any problems introducing him to other rats. Darth Garth didn't do too badly at shows but of course lost points for the head tilt. He did win a ribbon at Ratstravaganza 2007 for "Best Rat With a Disability" though. (I think he may have been the only rat entered in that category, but we didn't tell him that!)
Neither I, nor Emily, his breeder, were ever quite sure what color he was. We think maybe some kind of platinum. I guess breeding him might have shed some light on it, however, I missed my chance at that. I guess initially the head tilt put me off breeding him. It wasn't until he was well over 2 that it occurred to me that apart from the one ear infection, he had never been sick a day in his life, not so much as a sneeze or a wheeze (a tendency that apparently runs in his line). By then however, he already had the beginnings of the spinal degeneration that so many older rats get, and was losing function in his hind legs. Between that and the head tilt, I realized to my great regret that he was past being able to perform.
The added disability didn't slow him down when it came to eating though. He could still beat his cagemates to the food dish, even if he had to roll over them to get there. It was only toward the last month or so of his life, that mobility became such a challenge, I had to start supplementing him with baby food from a syringe. He still loved his food, so feeding him was a joy, and I really loved our snuggle times together. In his 34th month, a ripe old age for a ratty, Darth Garth passed away, curled up in his hammock, with his eyes closed, and surrounded by his 3 best buddies. As much as I will miss him, it was a relief to have him go so peacefully. I don't think any of us can ask for a better ending to a long life.
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