The Pet Pundit: Rat rescuers in dire need of some help

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Apr 10, 2014 in Rat News | Subscribe

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Spring brings many things into our lives to please us — income tax returns are doled out, longer days and more sunshine lift our spirits and signs of warmth make for happy people. There’s no better time to give back or to help others.

There are always animal shelters or rescues organizations in need. Most nonprofit organizations rely on volunteers and usually operate with small budgets. Although there are many wonderful rescue organizations in Maine that focus on cats and dogs, none specifically cater to small animals. This is a gap that Mainely Rat Rescue has successfully filled for the last three years.

Mainely Rat Rescue originated when four women decided to team up to help pet rats. Although the rescue organization does not consist of a physical shelter facility, running 40 active foster homes throughout Maine and New England, placing an astonishing number of 1,252 rats over the last three years.

“Those staggering numbers demonstrate how important the work is that we do, and how critical it is that we continue to thrive as an organization,” said Kim Jackson, Mainely Rat Rescue’s director of operations. Mainely Rat Rescue’s mission is to rehabilitate and re-home surrendered or abandoned domestic rats, while spreading awareness, education and support for this often misunderstood animal.”

Adopting a rat through rescue instead of buying one privately or through a pet store is beneficial not only for you, but for the animal. Rats in foster homes through Mainely Rat Rescue are socialized with people and other rats, which sets them up to be great companion animals. They are also provided with proper food, housing and health care.

Unfortunately, these are things hardly ever done in pet stores. And if that’s not enough, just knowing that you’re supporting an organization that works to rescue animals — not needlessly breed them — is usually a good enough reason to get one from them.

So far, 2011 has been an extremely rough time for the rescue. Several serious situations have occurred, bringing in large amounts of needy rats at one time. In January, a group of 19 rats was rescued from a home in Bangor. The owner stated that her roommates had thrown out all of the cages and let the rats loose in a shed.

“She gathered up the rats she could find, though two were never found, put them in Rubbermaid containers and proceeded to drive them back and forth to work with her for fear that the roommates would repeat the devastating act,” Jackson said. “Thanks to several foster homes in that area, we were able to take all 19 rats at once.”

Unfortunately, only a few of the 19 would be placed for adoption, as most of these animals ended up with congestive heart failure and have been put on lifelong medications and sent to hospice homes, where they will peacefully live out the remainder of their lives.

In February, a group of volunteers traveled to a home in Worcester, Mass. that had asked for help. They originally were going to assess the situation, but after seeing the conditions the 18 rats were living in, they couldn’t bear to leave them and took them on the spot. Most of these rats ended up with respiratory infections and needed antibiotics.

Unfortunately, those are just two of the many situations the rescue has faced this year. With large amounts of animals being surrendered, medical costs accrue at a rapid rate. Treating each rat with antibiotics and other medications, although necessary, is not cheap.

The rescue also neuters all rats over the age of four months to prevent them from being returned for hormonal reasons, such as aggression toward other male cage mates. In addition, neutered male rats can be homed with females.

“Our motto at Mainely Rat Rescue is ‘Because Every Rat is Worth Rescuing,’” Jackson said. “We have been fortunate to see what an impact we have made on these animals lives, even as their lives enrich our own. Rats are a wonderful pet, but are often misunderstood by those who have not had the opportunity to meet them.”

Due to the large number of rats taken in already this year, Mainely Rat Rescue is in extreme financial need. If you have ever considered donating to a nonprofit organization, now is the time. Since the rescue is a 501(c)(3) foundation, donations are tax-deductible. Even just a few dollars can help.

Over the last two years, I have adopted eight rats through this rescue, and would never consider getting a rat anywhere else. Words cannot express how wonderful the women are who run this organization, or how much they sincerely care about the work they do.

Visit mainelyratrescue.org and click on “How to Help” to learn more.

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on Sunday, March 20th, 2011, 8:25 pm.
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Article source: http://mainecampus.com/2011/03/20/the-pet-pundit-rat-rescuers-in-dire-need-of-some-help/?ref=opinion

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