I get this from both my parents, especially my dad, who seriously makes Pocahontas look like Michael Vick. He used to rescue bugs that were "trapped" in our house. Most people see bugs as intruders, not victims. Anytime anyone is looking for a home for a pet I try to work out how I could adopt it and still afford to eat, keep my sanity, and have room to move a few inches in my tiny cabin in the woods. I believe I'm friends with all the creatures who hang out in my yard, even though most of them want nothing to do with me. Except for adorable stray dog Andy, who won't let me near him, but will use me for free milkbones and Smartbacon. I sometimes read scenes from my drafts aloud to my dog and watch her face and change things based on her reactions. Her yawns are the worst. I lose so much confidence.
I am a shamelessly anthropomorphizing, bleeding heart animal lover, and I love to give characters in my books fun pets.
Jesse in Calling the Show has a rat, Craybill. A rat seemed like the perfect pet for a recluse, though I certainly don't mean to contribute to the idea that rats are the shadowy companions of the psychologically troubled.
Rats are awesome pets. Seriously. They are as smart or smarter than a lot of dogs. They're playful, they'll come when they're called, they can be litterbox trained, and they'll hang out with you. I had gerbils when I was little. Let them out of the cage and they'd run and hide. Rats actually like to stay where you are and will sleep on your lap or shoulder. Plus they're adorable. Even the tails.
Tiny dogs, I'm telling you.
Unless you get them from a pet store. Don't do it. Pet store rats usually have no idea how to interact with people. Get them from reputable rat breeders. Yep, there are rat breeders. That's my PSA for the day.
Anyway, this post is mostly just an excuse for me to post pictures of my former rats, who inspired Craybill. I had two pairs at different points, Kate and Toby and then Brunhilde and Dezba.
Okay, I'm getting out my wallet and forcing you to look at pictures...(Do people still do that? Pictures are all digital now. Okay, I'm getting out my iPhone and showing you pictures.)
|Dezba and Brunhilde at 6 weeks|
|Baby Toby - named for the rat in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. Anyone else? Best book ever?|
|Baby Dezba. She had a double rex coat, which is why she looks bald.|
|Baby Kate. This rat. Was. Awesome.|
|Grown up Kate terrified my sister's Chihuahua. "We're the same, you and I..."|
Thanks for indulging me. My sister's trying to get me to adopt a ferret now.