Oh, Rats!

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I recently visited with some friends who have two charming pet rats. I’ve been thinking about them for a couple of days now, rats are delightful animals.

Rats are one of those animals with a bad reputation. Some people just have involuntary reactions, even phobias. I can relate – as much as the spiders and I have an understanding, I will still shudder and possibly shriek if I’m surprised by one… depending on how large and how fast they’re moving.

The first pet rat I ever met was decades ago when I was working at an animal hospital. The office manager had an office rat named Rat Man. He was the office mascot, and he was allowed to run over the desk during the day when the clinic was open. Generally he stayed out of sight of clients, but once in a while he’d poke his head up to say hi. The reactions to Rat Man varied, but he never took it personally.

Until I met my new rat friends this weekend, Rat Man was the luckiest, best-cared for rat I’d ever known. His life was full of interest, challenge, attention and admiration. He had a great diet and lots of love. He lived to the ripe old rat age of 4.

Usually when I see rats as pets, they’re in a pet store in overcrowded aquariums, under harsh lighting. Did you know rats are very sensitive to light and electric currents?

Sometimes I’d see a rat in somebody’s house, usually in an aquarium. One level, cedar shavings, a house to hide in, a bowl of food and a bowl of day old water. When they were young they used to be handled regularly, but now weeks would go by, sitting in a small space, nothing to do but eat and go back to sleep. These rats were always under two years of age. They never lived for long.

I’ve seen rabbits, mice and guinea pigs live out their lives in similar conditions; some species are quite tolerant of confined conditions… but that doesn’t mean they should live that way. Like orcas living out their lives in swimming pools in marine parks, space is relative – and a vital component to quality of life.

Anyway, back to rats.

Sweetie and I visited these two rats, sisters named Awe:ri and Ohna’. Aweri is white with grey patches, and the patch on her back is in the shape of a heart. Ohna is hairless, with smooth skin, huge ears and surprisingly intelligent.

And that’s me saying this. I assume animals are intelligent, but every once in a while I encounter an animal that is just so damn wise. It’s hard to describe in words, the sensation is just this gut knowing that this animal knows how it is on earth. I got the sense that Ohna knows more about life, the universe and everything and many of us people. One way I might describe it is to say Ohna is an Old Soul.

Her sister, Aweri, is like a cheerleader – enthusiastic, always positive, her mind totally in the moment and completely accepting of her reality in that instant. Aweri is inquisitive and courageous, but not that analytical.

Ohna says,

Did you know that my relatives (other hairless rats) are bred for and live in laboratories? Sometimes their lives in the white (surrounded by bright white lights, people wearing white, surfaces that reflect light) is okay. Sometimes they have okay food and their minds are exercised. Sometimes they are taken care of and then one day they are killed so that the people can look at their brains. This is an okay life, but not a great life.

The humans in these places should know that these rats in the labs are a noble people. Rats who choose to be born into a laboratory are teachers to all of human kind. Rats in these places know great compassion to humans, and we are very proud of our relatives who help humans learn. It is not a great rat life, but we volunteer for the experience so that humans can learn.

I wish humans in the white place would learn compassion for rats. I wish they would be taught to honour the rats’ noble sacrifice. It would not take much to set this right, and the humans need to understand that this would do their souls good, to thank their lab rats and to treat them with kindness and compassion.

This way humans could learn about medicine without hurting their own souls by blocking their compassion for the living creatures of God they work with every day. Humans in the white place need to learn that laboratory rats are angels in the animal realm. We are born in labs, we sacrifice a whole rat lifetime to help human kind. We do this with full knowledge in our souls. Many of us do this many times.

Did you know that I have been a lab rat many times in past lives? I did it because I like learning in these places, and I actually really like people. Sometimes I was a white rat, and many times I was a hairless rat like I am now. Sometimes I remember a past life when I was a Siamese cat in Egypt, where I helped humans with spirituality. I am still doing the same spiritual work, just in a different church.

Please tell my mom I love her very much, and she is a princess to me. Everyone in the house looks at her with awe.

Please tell the other humans to take a moment to connect with the souls of the animals who have died for them. (Shows me humans eating chicken off of a plate.) You don’t have to feel sad for them or guilty – these emotions will only make you sick in your heart, and they will not help the animals. Just take a moment to thank the animals who have touched your life and your body (shows me leather belts and shoes.) Animals are all around humans all the time. Their bodies are everywhere and so their spirit consciousness is everywhere too. Thank your animals (the ones you eat, the ones you wear) and it will do your soul good.

Holy crow, Ohna, that was absolutely beautiful. Thank you sweetheart.

Rats, the species blamed for illness brought to humankind are actually a key species helping humanity survive and heal their diseases.

What a beautiful, perfect circle.

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14 thoughts on “Oh, Rats!

  1. Pingback: Giving thanks | Life Begins at 41…or maybe 43

  2. Thank you for sharing Ohna’s words. They reminded me of advice given by Spring Farm CARES’ Amber the Donkey a few years ago, which prompted me to finish a blog post that had been languishing for years. We — I — forget so often to be thankful.

    Is the picture in this post actually the two girls? They are very cute. (Makes me think of the mice in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.) Funny how what we think of someone or some thing depends entirely on the context — a spider spinning a beautiful web in the eaves of the porch is marvelous; a spider crawling up the wall beside your bed, not so much. LOL

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    • Yes! That photo is them. They *are* super cute. I read your post and I agree with a lot of it. It’s been my experience too that plants have a consciousness that can communicate information. I’ve spoken with chickens that understand and are cool with being eaten when they grow up (male birds in backyard flocks). The flock is disrupted when a rooster is removed, but they all understand, and I even had one flock request a particularly rough rooster be culled.

      I’ve also spoken with a turkey who informed me that farm turkeys like him are very much plugged into the fate of their species. He told me a story about how in fall, hunters used to ask the turkeys to show themselves. If a hunter was humble enough, he would reach a turkey that would come forward to accept the arrow, and the hunter’s reward was not only the meal, but the sacred dreams that followed. Turkeys are sacred animals, and now their kind is greatly dishonored by factory farms – he wanted me to know that as a turkey, he felt what his turkey brothers felt. Ohna reminded me a lot of this turkey – both of them did not say, “don’t kill us”, they both asked that we (people) learn/remember to acknowledge their sacrifice and experience gratitude, because that would bring balance.

      I do disagree with the generalization that all animals have this compassionate relationship with their prey all the time. When they’re hungry it’s one thing – the kill is swift and the gratitude is there. But predators’ behavior can be excitable and prey drive is powerful. I’ve seen eagles chase down and rip apart a gull just for fun, flying victory laps with pieces of the body around the town, vocalizing. Most people have observed cats’ complete lack of compassion when they bring live prey into the house to play with.

      I don’t see cruelty in the animal world occur with the same power-play sadism that happens with the human world, but I do see predators being totally enthralled with their prey, just adoring the process of killing and feeling utterly fulfilled by the experience. From what I can tell, in some cases the prey animal goes into shock and leaves their body, and isn’t actively experiencing the trauma… but not always.

      Orcas can be horrifying, and a seal that’s being “played with” by a pod of orcas experiences real terror, so do the other seals who see what happens, and if it’s a seal pup, the mother is greatly distressed and mourns the death of her baby. Nature is not always this balanced, kind, garden of eden. (At least, not in this dimension, but that’s another blog entry.)

      Even in the city, a pack of dogs in a park can respond to a vulnerable or prey energy in another dog and suddenly turn on him/her. The whole pack clicks into predator mode and only the very well trained will respond to their owner’s recall in that moment.

      I believe that we need to walk on the earth with compassion and peace. I think it’s important for humanity to turn back towards balance with the environment. For some people, this is walking a vegan path. For others, it’s demonstrating at anti-pipeline rallies. For me, I guess it’s writing, and trying to make good choices day to day, learning to live in a place of peace, gratitude and acceptance of the things I can’t control, including the choices of others. But I guess I’m learning that everyone walks their own path, and their intention helps them find the right way for them.

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      • As far as I can see, Amber was addressing the eating of other animals, not the predator/prey relationship in other contexts, and she never said that animals always have a compassionate relationship with their prey. (I would imagine it would be difficult to *be* a predator if you always had compassion for your prey.)

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    • Oh by the way, they totally reminded me of “thanks for all the fish” dolphins too! (Hence the “life the universe and everything callout in the entry.) There’s something about Ohna particularly. I’m finding it difficult to articulate how thrilling and charming and compassionate and wise this little rat is.

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    • I think this is my favourite quote:
      If you were in relationship with all you ate, you would never mistreat an animal in the food chain. You would never kill your vegetables with poisons. You would treat ALL living things with love, respect, and honor. Because you would understand that the life you treat well will nourish you.

      I agree a thousand times.

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      • I love that quote, Kate! I was vegetarian for 25 years and then I started really learning about food and some of the lies we have been fed (pun intended). It was coming to the understanding that plants have consciousness and feelings too and how could I say that animals were more important than plants in their sacrifice? Just because they don’t have the similarity of red blood and beating hearts doesn’t mean they don’t feel just as much. With this in mind, I had to really look at my food choices and start making conscious choices. I try to shop local and organic now. I try to buy from local farmers who I know raise happy animals and use natural methods of pest control for the food they grow. I no longer flinch when paying $7 for a dozen of local free range chickens. I am no longer a vegetarian because, nutritionally speaking, it just makes sense to be an omnivore. There is no ethical conflict if you are making conscious choices and believe both plants and animals are conscious beings worthy of being respected and honored for their sacrifices.

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      • I do agree and believe its all about respect.

        It’s interesting to think about how humans are (understandably) more likely to empathize with mammals first, then other animal life forms, THEN plants. If you can point to a brain, it’s easier to talk about why we should care about their experience.

        Did you see the documentary “the intelligence of plants”? Or the secret lives of plants – something like that. It’s fascinating as it demonstrates a consciousness in plant life which makes “choices” and nurses it’s young… Just in veeerrrrrry slow motion.

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