Anchors Aweigh: McFly

Editor's Note: If you don't like gushy pet stories, feel free to not read this post. Honestly, I recommend it. I hate gushy pet stories. But this is mine. It's unapologetically gushy and I need to write it. It's more for me than it is for you.

I have lost three pets in an approximately six month time span. First it was Mariella, then my cat of 18ish years, Dorothy, died a few weeks ago, and now McFly. I miss him the most.

Pathetic though it may be, I bought him in a sort of lonely period in my life. I suppose in place of human friendship I sought animal companionship. Not really, but a little. Don't dwell on that.

It wasn't exactly an impulse - I spent a good month contemplating the purchase of my rat. And then bought him as a birthday present to me.

(McFly was from PetSmart, before I really knew about animal rescues)
McFly and I were not immediately best friends. He had an extremely jumpy personality. He also had a knack for escaping and squeezing into small spaces and running faster than I can.

When I first got McFly, I was living with a couple of girls who were animal whisperers. Whenever I brought him out to "play", he ran from me like I was the grim reaper, but he was always somewhat subdued around them. One time he actually fell asleep in S.'s arms [right after peeing on me]. It was a very precious scene, if you cropped out the part where I was sitting nearby looking bitter and pouting.

However, when he woke up, he heard a loud thump. He ran his speedy little self across the couch and cowered by me. S. cooed, "Aww, you're his anchor!" She explained an anchor is the person he clings to when he's scared or afraid.

Well, cool. I was his anchor.

That did not stop him from being downright obnoxious. Our first year together was, at times, rocky. At one point he escaped from his cage and hid in the box springs of my bed - what followed was an hour of cursing, squeaking, and rat wrestling, and then days of paranoia about whether or not he would hate me forever. Then there was the day he up and bit me my chin all the way to the bone. Rough.

over the past two years, mcFly and i have done lots of studying together

But at some point I think he adjusted to the fact that he was stuck with me. Especially after Mariella died, he and I developed a sort of rhythm. He learned to quit peeing on me, and I learned that when he sat in a certain spot, he wanted to be picked up.

this picture melts me
And then he got sick. I tried to be more proactive this time around - antibiotics, vet visits, switching to baby food fairly early in his sickness. All the same - his breathing was laborious and strained, and he'd stopped running around. Eventually his days consisted of sitting in one spot and maybe eating a bit of food. He did not even go into his cage; he merely sat on top.

During his sickness he became extremely clingy. He wanted me to hold him all of the time. If I left the room, the rat who barely moved would rotate so that he was facing the door. He would rest gently and actually fall asleep in my arms. McFly was sick, tired, and every breath exhausted him. And in his pain and what I think might have been a little bit of fear, he clung to me.

I was his anchor.

just a day or two ago
His last option involved a series of daily treatments that might manage his illness. Or euthanasia. When Mariella died I wasn't really educated on the timing and details of putting a pet down. But having seem one pet die a slow, painful death, I knew better this time.

Making this decision was agonizing. I hated all the factors that weighed in - expense, time, convenience, McFly's suffering. And then my job. Next week I start travelling on a regular basis - at the least, four days a week.

If I were still in college, I think I would push him through those treatments. And I would fight the good fight with him. But that isn't really an option, now that my job is starting. While I was on the road, he would go through a series of stressful treatments with someone else pushing the buttons.

I felt the most merciful thing, then, would be to put him down. I was the only person he liked, and not being there while he went through all of that seemed cruel.

I took him to the vet yesterday. A dear friend drove me there and held my hand the entire time. The staff and vet were so kind. Dr. L answered all my questions before I could even ask them. And she assured me I was making a good decision - which is what I think I needed to hear most. I don't know that there is any way to make this situation comfortable, but they made it much more bearable. [If you have an exotic in North Carolina, check them out].

Anyways, his death was quick. A brief injection, a squeak, and then I held him as his eyes glazed over.

I came home to the empty cage and untouched food and the rumpled blanket where we spent our last day together cuddled up. Today I worked up the courage to clean it all.

This has been the hardest loss of all my pets. McFly and I were, to quote today's youths, tight. I am so grateful for a pet that actually loved me. Trust me - animals that like me for more than a belly rub are few and far between. I'm also grateful that he died on our terms - without too much suffering, quickly and quietly.

compliments of my little sister
I'll miss him to heaven and back, for sure. McFly was an amazing pet and we've weathered quite a bit together.

Anchors aweigh, little man.

I think I'll be off pets for a while.


PS. I feel it needs to be said, somewhere on the interWebs, that a sweet pet rat is so much cuter than a Corgi.


WallyD's taste of Alaska

Editor/producer/head writer/founder/upkeeper's note: Waldorf wanted to do his own post. So I let him. 

Hallo, meine Damen und Herren -

eet ees tru dat dees past veek or zo i travelled to the byoot-i-vul land oaf Alazka.

heer ees dees veek in pickchurz. furgive mein terrzibull eenglitch.

Grandma's haus. pickchas of leetil bRob

meine virst Morgen in Alaska

ve vent in a leetil plane to see da animalz.

i flew dees plane, beecuz i var so gut behaved and gut flyer.

"clam strips" - schmeckt lecker

 RAWR das baer

a leetil haus fuer a leetil boy

a beaver dam in denali

i am dee size oaf Alaska! hee

RAWR das baer

das pipeline

da state bird oaf alaska

ve var on a boat and eet vas colt
sehr colt
das aquarium wit das fishes


vas deelishus

ugly ducklings at da zoo

 ok. dat ees all.



Travels with Waldorf

Dear All -

    It seems that the only times I update anymore are when something big or something sad is happening. Well, today we've got both.

First of all, I would like to introduce a new segment called "Travels with Waldorf."

Meet Waldorf: 

Waldorf is my new travel buddy.

You should know that Waldorf is:
1) Not actually a German name. Having been in Germany for a fair amount of time for someone who isn't actually German, I say this with reasonable confidence.
2) Waldorf is the name of this really gross salad my mom makes every Christmas. It has mayo, raisins, broccoli, and onions. I can't think of a worse combination of things.

So, why did I choose the name Waldorf?
because it sounds so funny.

Where did I get Waldorf?
i rescued him from a McDonalds happy meal.

Why Waldorf?
Because I'm traveling to ALASKA with my grandma and little sis and second cousin. I don't know if she's my second cousin, but she's not my first cousin, so i am just calling her my second cousin.
BUT ALASKA!!!!!!1!!

also i'll be starting my big kid job soon and i'll travel a lot, and it's not good for girls to travel alone, right?

Why do I still eat Happy Meals?
so i can get cool toys like Waldorf, obvi

Waldorf is kind of a photo hog. He wanted you to see his entire outfit.
[You know how little toys can be, sometimes...]

So, the big part is Alaska! Wilderness! Travels!

The sad part is that my rat, McFly, is sick. In a terminal kind of way. But we're hoping the antibiotics makes it manageable for a little while longer. It's rough traveling without my sick pet, but he's in good hands, and I'm asking you to keep him in your prayers!

off to grandma's for the night, and then Waldorf and I will head off to AK. Internet access is not guaranteed, so we may catch up when we get back.

bRob and WallyD


Life, & Living It

Hello Webs -

This is not so much a post as an update.

Fact: I am still alive and kicking and doing things.

Fact: I am also a terrible blogger.

Fact: Maybe I'll change that one day. Today is not that day.

Over the course of the past month, I have moved out of that old dusty deathtrap of a house and into a sweet new gated community apartment with a few buds. Gated, kids. Come at me...but you can't. Because it's gated. [hah]

circa 2007?
My sister's visiting this week, and we've got a lot of fun things planned. Granted, we don't end up doing these things because we sleep in super late and then decide not to leave the couch, but we do, in theory, have fun things planned. Thus far we've seen the Madea movie, taken a tour of my dear Alma mater, eaten lots of food, and taken a plethora of naps. Trust me, the itinerary was way more exciting.

Also, true life, I've picked the cello up again. I played for ~9 years, on and off with private lessons. The cello is perhaps the most gorgeous instrument, and now that I'm graduated [bizarre], I wanted to put some of my free time to good use. You know, between the napping and the eating.

The frustrating thing, I think, is that I've played legitimately cool and challenging music on the cello - improv, Shostakovitch, the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song.... However, it turns out  my form is terrible. So here I am, four years after I quit, relearning how to hold the bow, what height my wrist should be at, and trying to get my dumb C-scales in tune. It is the most aggravating thing. I've played all these amazing pieces, but now I have to relearn the fundamentals, as I was apparently slopping through before.

In fact, if we're being completely honest here [which we always are], I'm only blogging because I was about to throw my bow out the window and needed to vent.

this is really all i want. is that too much to ask? 
to be able to do this?

Aaaaanyways, I don't know what I really wanted to accomplish with this post. Maybe I'm just avoiding punching a hole in my cello.

I'll catch up with you later, Webs - theoretically with more interesting things to say.

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