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Thursday, March 16, 2017

"Enraptured by a Rat..." 'Harmony Bentosino' (Guest-blogger)

 Welcome back Dakinetalk's good friend 'Harmony!'   
Harmony recently completed  her Masters degree in counseling.
Harmony  resides in Kapolei, Hawaii on the island of Oahu....Harmony blogs about her recent adventure!
Photo above of Harmony with Rattini

Enraptured by a Rat


It is strange that I find myself enraptured by a pet rat who is afraid of me; who scurries away when I approach his cage. He jumps on his wheel trying to put distance between us, but he never gets
very far. His name is Rattini. He used to be wild and was captured by my boyfriend, Dan, with a live trap, when he ventured indoors. He used to live in a tiny cage without a wheel, and I felt sorry for him. My boyfriend didn’t want him and talked about releasing him back into the wild. I said no because I knew he couldn’t survive on his own. I researched and learned outdoor rats live less than a year, and Rattini had already been living in his cramped quarters for more than two years. There are also many feral cats meandering in the vicinity of his neighborhood. I learned that indoor rats can live two – three years.
Guess how Harmony came up
with the name, Rattini?
Photo above. Rattini

I didn’t think I wanted a pet. I didn’t want the responsibility, but I wanted Rattini to lead a good life. I told my boyfriend I would care for him if he bought him a spacious cage with a wheel. He did, and that is how I happened to become the new owner of a pet rat.

It took Rattini a day or two to figure out how to use his wheel. Before he mastered it, he was restless and kept trying to jump out of his cage which is enclosed by a screen on top. He actually
turned summer salts in the air, when he leaped. Other times, he would try to stand on top of his wheel to climb out, but the tiniest shift in his weight caused the wheel to turn and throw him off. Once he figured out how to navigate the wheel, he lost interest in jumping out.
Check out the video of Rattini spinning in his wheel;

Rats are nocturnal creatures which means he sleeps in the day and runs on his wheel at night. The problem was that his wheel was squeaky. It didn’t seem that noisy in the day time, but at 2 am, the
sound was as so loud I was afraid it would wake the neighbors!

 They say the squeaky wheel gets the grease, that was certainly true. His wheel no longer squeaked, but it wasn’t anchored down, and the force of his running pushed the wheel so that it knocked against the glass walls of his cage. Masking tape solved that disturbance, and now Rattini can race to his heart’s content which seems to be all night long! No wonder he sleeps so well in the day. Dan thinks we should hook up the wheel to a generator and save on electricity!

He loves to eat fruit of all different kinds. I have yet to discover a fruit he dislikes. I also enjoy fruit and share mine with him. His pets store food is sunflower seeds which he cracks open. His food
seemed humanly palatable to me. I tried it, and; it tasted just like sunflower seeds! So he shares my food, and I share his food. That endears him to me all the more!

When you care for a creature, you naturally bond to it, and Rattini has been teaching me the meaning of true love. True love is when you accept a person or animal the way they are and don’t
expect them to change- just for you. I can accept that Rattini is not affectionate and might even try to bite me if I handled him. That’s because he was born a wild rat! I am grateful that I can enable him to live much longer than he would have lived if he stayed wild. Caring for him takes a lot less effort than owning a dog, and if I want affection, I can always let my boyfriend’s two hyper-active dogs jump all over me!

Harmony is a true free spirit as seen here
swimming with the dolphins on Oahu!

Hana Hou, Encore