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Happy Tail: Pet rats become happy chums


After her dogs were tragically killed in an accident, Olivia Cochran knew she needed to fill the gap in her heart with “an animal I needed and who needed me,” she says. “I looked everywhere and at all kinds of pets. Then, on one of my searches, I thought, why not rats?”

Primrose (left) snuggles with one of her chums.

Primrose (left) snuggles with one of her chums in their hammock.

She did her homework by reading and watching videos about rats as pets, and then she convinced her parents to take her to the pet store, where they bought two female rats, Snowbelle and Stardust. Things seemed rosy until Stardust exhibited a condition the vet said was genetic.

“I knew it would most likely kill her,” Olivia said. If that were to happen, she didn’t want Snowbelle to be left without a friend, so she began looking for another rat, this time to adopt.

She turned to Petfinder and found some Siamese rats listed by Dakota’s Dream in Winchester, VA. They’d been rescued from a hoarder.

Olivia went to meet them. “I prayed to find the right one. I held a few, but one stood out. I knew she was the one, and we adopted her and took her home.” She introduced the rat now called Primrose to Snowbelle and Stardust over several days.

“At first Primrose was hand shy and would hide when I took the others out to play in my room,” she says. “Now she loves running around.” They all love to climb and when they’re out playing, they climb anything to be higher. The three rats sleep together in a little hammock.

Rats are smart, and both Snowbelle and Stardust know there names and come when called. Primrose? Not yet.

“My mom wasn’t thrilled about me having rats because she had never really thought of them as pets … Now she brings them treats, holds them and agrees that they are wonderful.”

Adopting Primrose was an affirmation by Olivia that she wants the best for her pets. If something happens to Stardust, Snowbelle will still have a chum.

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