E's beloved pet rat, Ronald (Ronnie), was found dead in his cage this morning. We knew something hasn't been right with him and that he probably had tumors, but we didn't realize he would go this quickly. He didn't eat much Monday night, and last night when he didn't come out of his little house, E assumed that he was just sleeping, although he was most likely dead then.
This morning she saw that his food had not been touched and tried to wake him. And he was stiff. Keith made a little wooden coffin and E painted his name in orange across the top. We had a little ceremony in the backyard, just the kids and me. T and B dug a deep hole (thank goodness for rain this last weekend that softened our clay soil); I read the 23rd Psalm and prayed, and each of the four kids and myself laid a wildflower on top of his little casket before T filled in the 12-inch deep hole. We placed a large white quartz rock on top, one that sparkles when the sun hits it.
Ronnie was a fun rat -- his reddish coat made him seem more pet-like than a white, brown, or black rat would have been. He had quite the persnickety personality. hissing when life didn't go his way. Quite often, though, I'd spy him cuddling up in E's arms as she walked around the house with him. He gave kisses and had definite curiosity -- his quivering whiskers and wiggly nose checked out everything.
When I get my computer back, I'll post a photo or two of E and her Ronald. T has some great photos of E and Ronnie on the school computer (not hooked to the Internet) that he has displayed as wallpaper right now so we can see Ronnie every time we walk though the living room.
Ronald will be missed. In pace requiescat!