Twyla was the most amazing rat I’ve ever known. On Tuesday morning, I found her resting on one of her fleece blankets inside a box. I’m hoping she died peacefully in her sleep. Twyla had been sick for a long time and had been on multiple medications. Even so, she was in good spirits and had been eating well up until the day she died. She lived to be around 3 years and 3 months old.
I adopted Twyla from the Oregon Humane Society where she and her litter were up for adoption. I started out by visiting with Twyla’s cute little babies. When I found them to be lacking in attention (typical babies!) and when I all around didn’t get the right vibe from them, I decided to visit with their mother. The moment I met her I knew she’d be the perfect new friend for Vera who’d recently lost her friend, Nora. From our very first meeting I could already tell Twyla had a beautiful soul.
Twyla and Vera enjoyed one another’s company for about a year. During this time they traveled with us a lot and really enjoyed it. Twyla, especially, loved exploring new environments such as hotel bathrooms and even luggage racks.
After Vera (who was older) died, I knew it was time to bring home a new friend for Twyla. I once again visited the Oregon Humane Society and ended up adopting Henderson.
Twyla showed an inspiring amount of resilience. First she gave birth at a relatively young age, and then she was surrendered by her original family and spent some time in an animal shelter. From there she adjusted remarkably well to living in a new home and being introduced to a new friend. When her friend died, she quite gracefully welcomed yet another new friend into her life.
The very first time she and Henderson met, he immediately flipped her on her back to display his dominance. Twyla couldn’t have cared less. She just peacefully lay on her back while Henderson made a show of ensuring she stayed pinned there for a good length of time.
Once they were fully introduced and were steadfast friends, Henderson began urinating on Twyla to continue to remind her of his dominance. Again, Twyla didn’t mind. (Although she did somewhat subtly retaliate by power-grooming Henderson so much that he has bald patches around his neck.)
She created masterpieces out of plain shredded newsprint.
She much preferred bringing food into her home so she could store it up rather than spend her time learning tricks. Henderson received bowling lessons which Twyla politely declined. She had more important things to do, such as hoarding lab blocks and building nests. However, the day she saw Henderson starring in his bowling video, she just had to intervene and get in the picture.
When she chose to, Twyla had extremely good eye contact with me—especially when she wanted a treat. I’ll always remember her beautiful dumbo ears that stuck so far out she looked like the flying nun.