And May God Have Mercy On Us All

Guess who joined our family this week?

Below is Sylvia.  She’s clearly the most level-headed of the group–the boss rat, if you will. 


Next is Robin.  She’s the most mellow, a bit of a poetic soul.  She enjoys long walks on the beach and sniffing her friends’ poop:


Rat #3 is Nellie.  She is a complete head case:


Below is Hubs attempting to talk Nellie through a little rat panic attack.  We are watching her closely and have taken away her shoelaces and pocket knife.  You can’t be too careful:


Additionally, Nellie sneezes a lot, which means we’re probably all about to get the Black Death.

The Great Rat Adventure of ’07, ’08, and oh-sweet-Heaven-please-not-into-’09 only took place after the Dryer boys signed the document below (feel free to click to enlarge for detail, should you ever be in need of a rat pledge yourself):


The quote of the day came from Stephen.  As the salesgirl was helping us check out, she pointed out that each rat costs $7.  "Wow!" Stephen shouted.  "How are you able to price them so low?"

He’s definitely not the person to take with you to a used car lot.

And never mind that if we just headed down into the sewer, we could get the rats for free.

87 thoughts on “And May God Have Mercy On Us All

  1. Alli says:

    Oh, my.
    I laughed out loud though that you made them promise to keep the playroom clean “so the rats have a nice home.” LOL!! Very clever.

  2. Jeannette says:

    I am taking a week of vacation at Christmas. Would you like to borrow my cat Kate? She could play and then kill all three in a weeks time. She will even bring them to your feet as a trophy.

  3. janet says:

    that is too funny!! I should have thought of that before we got another dog. my oldest said he’ll walk it, middle said he’d feed it and youngest agreed to pick up the poops. only one held to their bargain and it is the last one you would think. and, yes, he washed hands after too.

  4. Gretchen says:

    I think you should be nominated for Mother of the Year. I salute your signed document. Yeah…we used to have rules, too. Those were the days. πŸ˜‰

  5. Lisa @ The Preacher's Wife says:

    The only way I can come to grips with this is to remember the cuteness of Mr. Jingles on The Green Mile. If you’ve never seen that movie – you’ve no idea what I’m talking about.
    However, something tells me your rats aren’t immortal. A fact that would totally have me doing the happy dance were I a rat owner.
    You are an awesome mom….

  6. Ronnica says:

    I think my favorite part is how you snuck in keeping the playroom clean “so that it is a pleasant home for my rats.” Easy way to make sure the kids have the toys picked up!

  7. Cathy says:

    Congratulations, truly, from someone who loves her ratties! My boy rats are peeking over my shoulder and wondering if your girls are interested in a date? (the boys are neutered, btw) I think you mentioned before that you are in OK? Anyway, there are supposedly some good rat vets in OKC if you ever need one…down south here they’re pretty scarce. Keep an eye on that sneezing…pet store rats are notorious for coming with upper respiratory infections, and can need antibiotics. Congrats again!

  8. Marmee says:

    Oh, that looks like some beady-eyed fun, alright! I laughed out loud about the comments regarding Robin, the poetic, poop sniffing rat. The signed Great Rat Document is a classic….I might have to do something similiar when we get a puppy soon for my youngest, who has issues picking up the poop of our only dog.
    Kids and pets….it’s a great way for them to learn some responsibility and for us to learn to chill out a little. (Does it REALLY matter if there’s one more pee stain on the carpet, right next to the throw-up stain from the great flu of ’02?)
    Is the rat room, I mean, the playroom carpeted??

  9. Frazzmom says:

    I have to admit that we paid $250.00 for 24 hours of ICU care for our rattie. In the two years that she was with us we became very attached to her. In the end we had to have her put to sleep and buried her in the back yard.
    Yeah- all that for a $14.00 rat.

  10. Annie says:

    What cute photos, and I love the description of their personalities… it was almost like you were describing me and my sisters!! My husband thinks that 7 bucks is a great deal for a rat, considering how much room and board are for a rat these days, that’s a steal. I, however, would pay you 7 dollars to take any rats I found in my house!!

  11. chickadee says:

    i bow to your greatness. i have not given in to the rat madness though my daughter has begged.
    i just ran across your article in good housekeeping. that is so neat! congratulations. did you submit it to them?

  12. robin says:

    Oh congrats on the cuties! Watch the sneezer tho’ – and the others. That $7. can add up fast when they need vet care and meds.
    And sneezes can turn nasty in a rattie pretty quickly.
    Thanks for sharing them – they are darlings. Enjoy!

  13. Fresh Girl says:

    Awww, they’re cute! Maybe you should get “Ratatouille” on DVD for them to watch…you know, just in case you’re ever too tired to cook some night. πŸ˜‰

  14. pam says:

    Hee, hee! I’m thinking I made need to make a couple adjustments to that agreement here very soon. We are embarking on our own rodent journey again . . . this time with Chinese dwarf hamsters. They are a little more than the rats in price — a “fancier” rodent, maybe?
    We can soon commiserate over our rodent adventures by the weekend. PetSmart here we come. (Somehow I’m not feeling all that “pet smart” . . .) We shall see . . .
    God’s blessings on your new additions and your sanity in the midst of it! : )

  15. JustRandi says:

    ” If my rat escapes, it is MY JOB to find it.”
    You forgot to add:
    “If I don’t find it, I understand that we will have to move.”
    Ewww, I just got the willies…

  16. Rhonda says:

    This reminds me of my best friend’s daughters’ pet mice. One escaped (those things are FAST!) and she looked for it for days before figuring out it had taken up residence in the walls. Ewww!
    She said that mouse had just gone from pet mouse to your everyday kill-it-any-way-you-can mouse! LOL It completely escaped from the house before meeting its demise. Now she can take comfort in knowing she has added to the mouse population. HA!
    No mice or rats here. We have cats, which is a good excuse for any type of pet rodent request. Nope! The cats will see them as breakfast!

  17. Katie (your neighbor!) says:

    haha i can’t wait to meet them!! i’ll come over sometime next week when i get home and have the boys introduce me! πŸ™‚ (katie will not be touching one, though!)

  18. Karen says:

    Very cute… our rattie lost her sister to the sneezies shortly after we got her. Not sure where you got them, but our pet store (Petco) took them to the vet for us when they were sick within a few days of purchase. Might want to check on that.

  19. CanadianCarrie says:

    hmm, I saw on the show Dirty Jobs that rats are constantly peeing, like, everywhere they go. Well, maybe the kind of rats you BUY are different, who knows!!??
    I’m just sayin….. πŸ˜‰

  20. Dana says:

    Aw…rats are sweet. Really. Some of the best little squeakers you could get. It is the thought of them crawling around in your sewers that makes them so creepy.

  21. Georgia Mom says:

    I love the rat pledge! I’m thinking that would work with any animal. I’m so thankful I have girls and they only want a puppy!!! I never have to worry about rats in my house. Well, at least not the cute ones like you have.

  22. Rebecca says:

    You know? I was skeptical about rats until I stayed with old friends for a few days. Their kids have two pet rats. They’re really quite good pets.
    But I do feel your pain. Kinda.
    I wanted guinea pigs (and bought and took care of and paid for all supplies, vet visits, etc.) when I was a young teenager. I thought my mom would die. She never did like the “rats.”

  23. Michelle says:

    How exciting! We enjoyed 2 years of HamHam our hampster, she even got out twice and we found here before the cat both times, we didn’t even realize she was out until we saw and heard her! Enjoy!

  24. Kat says:

    Wow, you remind me so much of my parents. We had similar contracts for EVERYTHING! Hopefully nature takes care of everything before everyone goes to college… rats aren’t normally welcome!

  25. Goslyn says:

    Good luck. Let us know how that goes. My heart goes out to you, and I am impressed that you allowed them in your house. It would have been a no-go over here.

  26. Heather@mommymonk says:

    Oh Bless your heart! And I was thoroughly disgusted until I read Lisa’s reminder of Mr. Jingles. Now I have to love the nasty creatures….but I don’t think I’m brave enough to bring them willingly into my home!

  27. Happy Momma says:

    Gross, I must say your rat posts will be overlooked in this household. I have the heebie jeebies just thinking about you guys sleeping one night the rat escaping, and coming into your room and crawling into bed! GROSSSSS.
    Enjoy them though. Hubs is scared of our bunny

  28. Lisa@Take90West says:

    Oh My! There are real live rats in your house!
    I’m a little creeped out just thinking about it.
    Good luck!
    (But if it really works and the playroom stays clean…I may give it a try. I’m not above some drastic measures for a clean playroom!)

  29. Jamie says:

    Ha ha, well, at least you have a sense of humor about the whole thing. If it is any consolation, rats only live for about 2 years.
    We had rats, and they do make very nice pets. They are friendly, clever, and, I can tell you from experience I had working in a pet store many years ago, much cleaner than their cousins the mice. I have had rats and hamsters–my rats never bit or showed any sign of aggression at all (not so with the hamsters.)
    I had a large tank for the first rat, and a two-tier cage with metal bars for the second two rats, and no one ever escaped. Still, I would not read them *Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM*, just to be safe. πŸ˜‰
    Good luck, and props to you for such a sacrifice in choice of pets, all for the love of your boys. πŸ™‚ I’m sure they will enjoy their new rat friends, even if all you enjoy is a severe case of creepy crawlies.

  30. Kelly @ Love Well says:

    Your headline is perfect, Shannon.
    That, and the line about the Black Death. HYSTERICAL!
    May God have mercy on your poor rat-loving souls and keep them in their cages all their days.

  31. FeeFiFoto says:

    Love the contract. We drew up a similar contract last year, where the kids agreed not to engage in a begathon while I shopped and in exchange I promised to get them milkshakes. We also have a detailed agreement on the allocation of computer time.
    Good luck with them rat things.

  32. Cathy says:

    Just a reminder, getting the female rat spayed before 6 months of age greatly reduces the risk of mammary tumors (which are quite expensive to remove and will eventually kill the rat because they get so big if left to grow).

  33. Nichole says:

    Three rats????????????????????????????????????
    Your Crazy!
    I am trying to get rid of one not invite them in my home! ECKKKKKKKKK
    Wow you are a good mommy.
    I would not be so rat-generous…
    Maybe if I catch mine would you like it? hehehehe

  34. Nichole says:

    Three rats????????????????????????????????????
    Your Crazy!
    I am trying to get rid of one not invite them in my home! ECKKKKKKKKK
    Wow you are a good mommy.
    I would not be so rat-generous…
    Maybe if I catch mine would you like it? hehehehe

  35. Karen says:

    Oh rats!
    They’re very cute. Love your personal descriptions of them. Be sure to feed them every day, not that we personally know anything about nearly starved on the edge of death situations with rodents or anything (cough).

  36. BJ says:

    You’re a good woman, Shannon. Not sure that I’m going to example myself after you, BUT you are a good woman. πŸ™‚

  37. katherine says:

    I am loving that pledge! I want to save a copy of it in case I ever need it (although, I do hope that I can insert “fish” or some other animal in place of “rat”). πŸ™‚

  38. Claire in CA, USA says:

    Awww, they are so cute! We had a couple little ratties for awhile. I could not believe how attached I got to one of them. This is a rat, for Pete’s sake. Weird.
    Anyway, someone else noted that the sneezing could be a bad thing, and I agree. Do a web search on respiratory problems in rats. We had one little rattie who only lived about 5 weeks after we got him. The other one recovered, and lived about 1-1/2 years, but a respiratory infection is what made him so sick in the end. We actually had to have him put down (a friend who is a vet came to our home with the injection). 😦
    I hope you have a great time with your rats. Ours really were fun.

  39. kelli in the mirror says:

    I adore your rat pledge. I don’t know that I would have thought of making it so thorough- you’ve definitely covered all the bases, and I have a feeling you’ll be glad of that at some point.

  40. Vicky says:

    My favorite Rat Rule was that they have to keep the playroom clean AT ALL TIMES so that it is a PLEASANT home for their rats. That was just plain brilliant! (because it is extremely important that animals whose home of choice would be the SEWERS have a clean, pleasant home environment)

  41. trixie says:

    You know, its not every day you have to come up with something like a rat pledge. The pledge is hilarious! I like the part about keeping the playroom clean so it is a plesant home for the rats: )
    Take Care,

  42. Heidi says:

    I am so loving the rat pledge.
    They should really make people sign those things for children before they start popping them out.
    Just a thought.

  43. daring one says:

    Best post ever Shannon.
    How do you keep the rats priced so low?! I bet he made her day with that comment. Hilarious and good luck keeping the play room clean ALL THE TIME. Maybe we need a rat as incentive.

  44. Amber says:

    oh i really love to come to your blog, but i don’t know if i can continue this lurking relationship with the rat pictures!!! i have a serious phobia…no really! but you make me laugh so i will press on!

  45. popsiclesontheporch says:

    Oh my goodness, I thought you were joking at first! πŸ™‚
    How did your boys talk you into that?! πŸ™‚ I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night knowing there were rats (even if caged) just a few rooms away! Good Luck!
    (I did get a kick out of reading the rat contract!)

  46. Jenny in Ca says:

    wow, I would have yelled…don’t do it!!! We have guinea pigs, and while they are adorable, I rue the day we got them. And yes, they cost about the same…something hubby angrily reminded me of the day I took one to the vet and paid $270 dollars to cure him of whatever ailed the poor thing.
    I hope yours work out much better then ours!
    My tip is to mention that the bio-cool paper lining smells, pine shavings changed my life!

  47. Robin (the pensieve one) says:

    I thought you might’ve name that rat after me (especially when it came to the part about “poetic soul” and “long walks on the beach); I realized it was someone (thing) else when we got to the “sniffing friends’ poop” part.
    Bettah you than me, Shannon…better you than me! πŸ™‚

  48. Cathy says:

    Rats are highly sensitive to the aromatic oils in pine and cedar shavings…even though they smell great they can make a rattie very sick!

  49. Susie aka Mayangel523 says:

    Congratulations on your rattie additions. We love our ratties at our house. We have two females (Cinnamon and Nutmeg) and four male babies (Cinny’s boys: Pepper, Clove, Oregano, and Thyme). If you head to my site you will see pictures. They are so much fun and so much more personable than other rodents. If you find someone who does Rat Rescue (yes, there is such a thing) you could probably get rats for free.
    I tried the pledge thing… didn’t work with my daughter. However, I love my girls so I have no problem with cleaning up after them. The dogs, however, are another story…

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