Pet of the Day

September 18, 2006

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Tia Maria, the Pet of the Day
Name: Tia Maria
Age: One year old
Gender: Female
Kind: Black-Hooded rat
Home: Lancashire, England
   This is my beautiful rat Tia Maria, and here she is posing on a garden chair in the summer sun. Isn't she totally adorable? I believe that she was put on this earth to prove to everyone that rats can be one of the best pets you can have, cute, funny, intelligent and loving, and one of the best friends you could ever ask for.

    My decision to get a rat came after my beloved rabbit, Cookie, passed away, and I felt that I could not own another rabbit after the trauma of losing him. I began to look through a pet book, and became very interested when reading the rat section. It didn't take much reading for me to have my mind set on getting a pet rat. At first, there was much scepticism amongst family and friends, as rats have a terrible, and undeserved, reputation. I was so eager to prove everyone wrong, and I definitely have.

    It was May 2005 for before I was allowed to look for a rat, five months after I decided I wanted one. I originally set out for a male rat, and I was going to call him Romulus. However, whilst looking in a pet shop one day for food for my hamster Foxy (now sadly deceased), the pet shop lady told me she'd just had a litter of black-hooded rats. She showed them to me, and they had only just got their fur and hadn't yet opened their eyes, so were much to young to take home. But I saw how sweet they were, and payed a deposit to reserve one. Five weeks later, I came back. I looked in the male cage, but my eye was taken by a rat in the female cage, who was running around everywhere. She seemed to be 'the pesky little sister' to her other sisters, when they were having a drink, she pushed them out of the way, and when they were eating, she stole their food from their paws! She was recognizable from the black spot on her rump, and I thought she was adorable. I ended up taking her home, and I named her Tia Maria.

    Tia is such a happy little girl. She never bites anyone and is so gentle to everyone. She adores sitting on your shoulder, that includes her jumping around in your hair and putting her rather wet nose in your ear, but I just find everything she does adorable. As for the number of people she has 'converted', there are countless numbers. So many people who were disgusted at the idea of a pet rat now have come to realise what a joy they can be, thanks to my little Tia. To me, she is utter perfection and I love her to bits.

    Tia has a varied diet, and she loves treats which we give her sometimes, and these include chicken, ham, pizza, yoghurt and ice cream, which she gets all around her lips and on her paws! She also loves to play, she runs around freely in our bathroom for exercise and will jump all over you, and we have made her obstacle courses to jump over. She will also play tug-of-war with you if you give her a piece of cloth or tissue. She also likes to be outdoors, and as you can see from her picture, doesn't say no to a spot of sunbathing! She is very scared of cats, even though we have one named Zsa-Zsa. She also jumps whenever a door slams or there is a loud noise, she is just so cute!!!

    I hope you have enjoyed reading about my Tia Maria as much as I enjoy being her lifelong companion!

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