Got some bad news guys...my favorite pet rat, Grizzle, has come down very sick and looks to be in his final days. He's been such an incredible source of joy these last couple of years and it's been a blessing having him around. Those goddamn big chain pet stores (Petco, Petsmart, Petland) sell a good many sick animals, and that's what went wrong here: the third rat I brought home (Jimmy Bo), come to find out, had a respiratory problem that's easily spread to any other rats he came into contact with. Didn't know at the time how common it is for big chain pet stores to get their animals from highly-questionable distributors or how common it is that they medicate the rodents with antibiotics just long enough to get them looking healthy so they can be returned to the show-floor and sold to us consumers. Found all of this out firsthand while working part-time at one of the local pet stores last year, but by then it was too late: the rats had already been introduced. Jimmy Bo had to be taken to the vet and put to sleep a few months back due to the progression of his incurable respiratory problems and now my Grizzle, my favorite little boy, is deathly sick with the same illness. It's a sad shame. I have to call the vet on Monday.
So I'm a bit heart-broken at the moment. It's tough watching a beloved pet suffer and feeling helpless to make it better. Rats have very short lifespans to begin with, usually 3-4 years, and I've had this little boy since he was a baby, brought home in the fall of 2007. He's truly been a good pet (aside from me turning out to be mildly allergic), but once he's gone and my one remaining rat (Keefer) has lived out his life, that's it me for me...no more rats. Not for many years anyway and not unless they come from reputable breeders or a rat rescue organization.
I bitterly detest these big chain pet stores and their profit-driven carelessness and avidly boycott their stores ever since learning the truth and quitting. To intentionally create the illusion that you're purchasing a healthy animal who instead comes home to infect your others is completely unacceptable and unethical. What was true for rodents was also true for the freshwater and saltwater fish they sold and also the birds. If the public only knew how many were rotated out of that backroom where they're medicated just long enough to appear healthy. It is a crime, against the public and particularly against the pets they acquire and sell.
So...my wish is for others to learn these truths and quit purchasing supplies and pets from these big chain suppliers. 'Course no one ever does. People only care about saving a few bucks, nevermind the consequences. Or they prefer willful ignorance, thinking these things don't matter. But they do matter, especially when you're the one attached to these pets and have to watch them decline prematurely. It truly is a pitiful shame what we humans are willing to do for that all-mighty dollar.
If these were dogs and cats suffering and improperly medicated (as is the case with Petland stores), people are more likely to get riled up. But when it's rodents, birds, and fish, people seem to think it doesn't really matter. But it does matter.