Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Seth is our maniacal Mormon neighbor boy. He's a whirlwind of naughtiness who broke one of the pickets on our privacy fence to make himself a little perch from where he can harass my family as we sit outside attempting to enjoy our back yard.

He sits atop his perch and yells to my daughters to bring him snacks, which they do, despite my cries of protest. Every few days it's necessary to clean the area of the yard beneath Seth's perch, as it becomes cluttered with Fruit Roll-Up papers, apple cores, gum wrappers, Popsicle sticks and other snack packaging.

Last year, when he was three, he was over playing with my daughter, Annie, and unbeknown to me, got my girls' pet rat, Cow, out of her cage. Seth and Annie carried her outside and while Annie was swinging, Seth was busy "washing" Cow in the bird bath. I saw him splashing in the water, which was fine with me, but I didn't know he was torturing the poor rat.

I went outside with a towel for him and as he came toward me I saw Cow clutched in his dirty little hand, wet and lifeless. Her long tail dangled limply.

Seth handed her to me and said matter-of-factly, "It's dead."

Cow was such a sad sight. Her eyes were open, her mouth agape - rat teeth protruding eerily. I was horrified and told Seth to get his things and GO HOME! He ran down the sidewalk and I watched him until he was in the back door of his house. I went indoors to find a shoe box to use as Cow's coffin when I felt it. A faint thump.

OMG! The rat was still alive, but barely. What to do?! My daughters loved Cow so much! Annie was trailing me, tears streaming from her blue eyes over the drowning of her little kind pet, who didn't bite the tyrant neighbor boy even as he was killing her! I had to do my best to save Cow's life.

I looked at her and dreaded what I knew I was about to do. Tucking her long yellow teeth into her mouth and shutting it as best I could, I placed my mouth over her wet rat nose. Terrified that she'd revive and bite right through my lip, I blew softly. Water came gushing out of Cows mouth and she squirmed in my hand! It was working!

I pumped her little stomach, releasing more water, but she stopped breathing again. So, once more I blew into her nose and pumped her chest, and once again, she revived, but this time, she continued breathing on her own. Yay! Cow was saved!

She was cold and lethargic, so I held her the rest of the afternoon in a little hand towel while she recuperated. By the time the older girls were home from school, Cow was feeling much better.

Cow was an older rat when the drowning happened, but she lived almost another year, recently dying of old age.

Some people probably think it's gross that I gave a rat CPR, but to my kids I'm a hero! It just shows the lengths I'll go to so they'll be happy.

Yes. My lips have been on a rat's long, wet nose. Twice. Now who wants a kiss, lol?!



  1. I love this story. I had a pet rat when I was a kid and I loved it as much as the dogs and cats and various other pets. Watch out for the neighbor kid...a serial killer in early development.

  2. Wow! What a great story and a great mom!

  3. Thanks, SK and Richard.
    I love this story, too. So do my girls. And yes, rats make fantastic pets. Cow would come when we called her, even navigating the stairs to get to us.

  4. I know this is 2 years later but . . .

    You're a hero to me, too. I performed mouth-to-snout on one of my rats tonight and am being treated like I have the plague. Ignorant fools.

    Thank you for this story!

  5. That is a truly awesome tale! I found this post while researching how to revive a rat, just in case I ever have to revive one of our two: sniffy, a domestic gray and white, and shy pete, a hybrid (part water rat, part tame) who is very big... We were introduced to rats when our cat brought in a young wild one who was severely injured and I felt so bad for him, I nursed him back to health. He never grew much bigger and was partly paralysed, but he became tame and would sit on my shoulder, could be hand fed and never once bit me.
    We love our rats to bits.