Our little rat, Willoughby (Willow for short), passed away today.
I suspect he was about two and a half years old, which is very old indeed for a rat.
When we got him for my birthday in July 2009, he was already full grown and being sold as a "jumbo rat." I was just so happy that he made it to my birthday again.
In the past month, however, his health began to decline. He began refusing his favorite treats, and never finished his bowl of food. His breathing seemed labored. He lay about listlessly.
Today, he left us and we are sad, but relieved that he will suffer no more.
I like to think of Ratty in Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, and how he told the Mole, "Believe me, my young friend, there is NOTHING--absolutely nothing--half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."
I like to think Willow is off somewhere messing about in a boat.
Godspeed, my little friend.
You shall be missed.