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Fliss (RIP)

   
Origin: Rescue (via free-ad site), originally from petshop
Born: December 2009 (estimate)
Died: 23 July 2012: Aged 32 months
Cause of death: Hyphema in one eye at 31 months; then neurological symptoms, so likely a brain tumour (PTS)
Colour/variety: Agouti hooded
Health: Spayed at around 9 months. On/off resp infections all her life. Very difficult to keep weight on.
Weight: 245g
Merits: NERS Agility champion
Temperament: Affectionate, kind, quiet but extremely active girl
Nicknames: Bliss, Funny-face, Flissy, Flish, Felicity

A pioneer in the Rats Rights movement, Fliss changed my rat-keeping forever in 2010; all my rats up to that point had been perfectly content freeranging on the sofa, and not realising that the floor existed. Fliss however was infuriatingly active and resorceful when young and not prepared to accept this general world-view held by my other rats. She repeatedly threw herself down headfirst and pinged off to explore the non-ratproofed room, until we acknowledged defeat and forsaked our dining table access for splitting the room in two halves with a large correx wall. Having seen how much more active all my rats became, I'm now eternally grateful to Fliss who forced us into this quicker than we would have chosen ourselves! All of my rats from then onwards owe their massively improved quality of life to Fliss. She has always introduced easily to any group and was by far the kindest rat I've ever had.

As far as losses go, I think this one was one of the ''easier'' ones (which I didn't expect as she occupies some very special places in my heart) - it is always heart-wrenching when they go, but Fliss had such a full and happy life, despite her bad start, and it was so definitely her time now. She had started slowing down several months previously, content to sleep and eat and potter around at her own pace, really looking like a little lady enjoying her well-earned retirement. If she hadn't had the hyphema, I would likely have attempted steroid treatment, but with the rest of her body being so frail and old, and so many indications of something nasty going on I did not want to gamble a potential few more weeks for risking a situation where she'd take a rapid turn for the worse and/or end up in pain.

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Fliss and her cagemate Bandy came to us through a private rehoming from an owner who was no longer able to keep them. Unfortunately her cagemate had to be put to sleep the following morning. Fliss was immediately introduced to our four youngest girls (aged 6-10 months at the time) and the introduction was very calm and uneventful. Fliss is a quiet and steady girl, not afraid or skittish in the slightest, and she weighs up every new situation in her head before deciding how to respond. She is very submissive and sending very clear signals to the others who are much more upfront personality-wise - when they turn her over for sniffing she just lies back and closes her eyes until they're done. She used to hate being picked up and would make a run for it every time, or desperately cling to hammocks or the cage bars if within reach! She was also very vocal and by far the squeakiest of them all.

A few months further on, and Fliss is perfectly integrated in the group. She is the oddest little rat! I get the feeling that even if she could speak, she wouldn't say anything. Just watch you with her dark eyes and little pig-nosed ferrety face <3 Fliss is very uncomplicated, agile and fast with very good muscle tone and a nice lean, long body. When sharing wet food on a plate, Fliss rudely muscles her way to the front and holds off the others while stuffing as much as possible into her mouth, before dashing off and scoffing it huddled in a corner somewhere. She loves to groom our faces and nibble my husband's beard stubble, and she's the only one that will bring her nose up to meet you full-on when you kiss her. Judging by the others' muffled squaks, she has a tendency to be somewhat overzealous when grooming them!

Fliss moved into my smaller group at around 30 months old, after having helped our scared newbie Phoenix to settle in. The smaller old group suited Fliss very well, largely because of the free access to food, which did wonders for her.

Fliss has been to two rat shows and both times she won the Agility challenge class and is now a NERS Agility Champion! The critiques and more info can be found on the Shows page. Her second win was out of 22 rats, which I'm extra proud of.

Fliss received a NERS Bronze Longevity Award for reaching 28 months.


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