Even rats need to be rescued. Yes, rats.

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jul 24, 2013 in Rat News | Subscribe

Peterborough This Week

(ENNISMORE) Most will do whatever they can to rid themselves of rats, but not Lyndsy McAuley.

Instead, the Ennismore resident invites them in and gives them names.

Ms McAuley runs Henry’s Haven, a pet rat rescue group few are aware exists and among those who do know, some think it’s all a bit strange.

“My neighbours and family think it’s a little weird. I do my rat laundry and hang it out on the line,” says Ms McAuley.

Don’t get the wrong idea, Ms McAuley is quite normal. She just has a soft spot in her heart for her rodent friends that she says are “misunderstood” creatures.

It started about five years ago when she realized her son Cole’s pet rat Henry needed a friend. Ms McAuley says rats are social creatures, so off they went to the Durham Humane Society to adopt a mate for Henry. Ms McAuley’s rat safe haven grew from there. Now she accepts rats from humane societies that don’t have room for them.

“There are so many dog and cat rescues, but there are no rat rescues,” says Ms McAuley.

At first, she kept the rats in her home. But now they reside in a shed in her backyard, that’s heated in the winter, built by Ms McAuley’s husband.

On the door the sign reads, Henry’s Haven. Inside, stacks of cages line the walls, each with numerous rats. On this day, 30 inquisitive rodents were scurrying around as soft classical music played in the background. Ms McAuley says the music calms the rats during the day.

“They have great personalities. They are often compared to as the dog of little rodents,” says Ms McAuley. “We’ve had mice, hamsters, guinea pigs and rabbits, but rats are by far the best pet for children.”

She says rats are very clean and will often bathe after being handled. Ms McAuley adds they can also be litter trained, taught to do tricks and will even come when called by name.

Many of her rats come from people who can no longer care for them. She says websites like Kijiji are a big problem because breeders or rat “mills,” as Ms McAuley calls them, post ads for the critters and don’t relay important information about the type of care the rodents need to live healthy lives.

“Before you purchase or adopt, do your research. They are cheap to buy, but expensive to keep because you need to pay for cages, bedding, vet bills and food,” says Ms McAuley.

Every rat Ms McAuley brings in is provided with veterinary care that could include spaying or neutering, lice treatment and medication for any disease they may have. All this adds up, which is why Ms McAuley is always looking for help, be it financial or through other donations. MsMcAuley says she can always use water bottles, fleece blankets, food and volunteers to help clean and socialize the rats to people.

If interested in adopting or helping Ms McAuley, visit her Facebook page, Henry’s Haven. Or send her an email at lyndsymcauley@yahoo.ca

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