These two should be mortal enemies, except that the one on the bottom is a family pet. Lucy the rat, belongs to my daughter, Pearl. Pearl is very, very careful not to let Lucy run loose in her room unless the door is closed tightly. Lucky, our cat, would make short work of Lucy, pet or no pet. As far as Lucky is concerned, a rat is a rat.
One day last week, Pearl and I had a wonderful mother-daughter day out. We ran some errands, but also got pedicures and had lunch. Pearl wasn't feeling particularly herself that week. Being more forgetful than usual and ran a temperature one day. I just chalked it up to having too much sun. We all have our forgetful days. Pearl was having a forgetful week and riding the roller coaster of emotion. Just regular teen angst, but it was unsettling to her.
When we returned from our outing, I walked into my room to put my things away. What I saw on the floor stopped me cold. I picked up a perfectly severed rat head. Not just any rat head, but a head that looked very, very much like our dear, Lucy. My mind raced--Did Pearl accidently leave Lucy out this morning and leave her door open? Do I hide this and let her just think Lucy is loose somewhere in the house and we'll find her one day? If I do tell her, will her intense love of her cat be tarnished forever? How will she deal with the fact that she left her rat out to be killed by her own cat? How will she ever get over the guilt, she loves Lucy so. Before I made any decisions, I put the head in a baggy and ran upstairs to see, if by some grace of God, the head I was holding did not belong to our pet rat.
I looked in Lucy's cage and normal sleeping place. No Lucy. My heart was beating a thousand miles an hour. I could barely breathe. How would I tell Pearl her rat was dead?? The door to the cage wasn't open though---where was she!!? Please, please, please don't let this head belong to Lucy!!! I moved her bed and there she was, curled up in a ball, sleeping. She looked up at me with "What, I'm sleeping here!"
I could breathe again. My heart rate came back to normal. I found Pearl and told her the story. I showed her the head. She agreed it looked like Lucy. It looked like a pet rat and not like our field rats that Lucky brings to his gift-giving alter. Whose rat was this? We don't know anyone in our little acreage neighborhood who has a rat for a pet. I sincerely doubt that anyone will be posting signs, "Lost Rat". We may never know. All that we do know is that our Lucy is safe, and that's all that matters.