2010 is not off to a great start. On New Year's day we had to put Ralphie down. He was about two and a half years old. He lived much longer than he was supposed to. About a year after we got him a massive tumor grew on his side literally overnight. We had it removed. Four months later another tumor appeared. We had that one removed. Then, a few months ago, another tumor appeared but this one was in his bladder and was, unfortunately, inoperable. Over the next couple months he would have good days and he would have bad days, but on the first day of this month we knew it was time. Yes, he was a rat, but so what? I never thought I'd have a rat as a pet (it was my wife's idea; the moment she saw him at the pet store she knew he was the one), but I took to him immediately. He was my little buddy. He was a very domesticated rat, and because he was almost never with any other rats, I don't think he even knew he was a rat. Most times he acted like a dog, following me and my wife around the townhouse when we went room to room. I will remember him fondly as my little buddy; he even inspired a story. He was always getting into trouble. There are books and papers all over the place with little bite marks (he loved to chew paper ... even my Norton contract). To keep him from running up the stairs, we would put up a cardboard partition, and he would always manage to find a way to knock it down. He was super smart. When he was done running around and wanted attention, he would come and stand on either my foot or my wife's foot to be picked up. Or if my wife and I were on the couch together, he would sometimes manage to jump and climb up so he could be with us.
So 2010 is dedicated to Ralphie. We're going to miss you, buddy. You are loved.