Toxoplasma

Toxo was the very first rat of mine. I got him from a friend, a punk, who was not able to keep him and showed me the cute small animal while we were in a park. He asked if I could take him. I immediately fell in love with this cute little fella.

My parents are allergic to some animals so it was dubious whether I could keep Toxo but I wanted to give it a try and took him home. My parents were skeptical due to their allergies but also found him very cute and so we gave it a try. Luckily, they were not allergic to rats.

His name is a sick little joke of Nick, the punk who gave me Toxo: Toxoplasma (german) is a parasite that affects rats and causes them e.g. to lose fear of cats.

Back then I didn't know a lot about rats and I wouldn't treat a rat like I treated him now: since he was alone I took him with me a lot, even into discos. He really enjoyed it when I rode my bicycle, sticking his head out of my sweater and his nose into the wind.

There was a nice little episode with my girlfriend once: I fell asleep on her lap while she was reading on the bed. Toxo came and rolled himself into her hair and fell asleep as well, leaving Regina unable to move without waking up one of us.

Eventually he got cancer. Since the vet near my home didn't have experience with rats he wasn't able to treat him and when the cancer got too big I had to euthanize him. This was a traumatic experience as the vet was a fucking stupid asshole: instead of anesthetizing him first and then giving him a deadly injection she quickly turned him on his back and stabbed an injection right into his heart at full consciousness. He screamed in pain and surprise, focused my eyes and I saw the lights go out in his. I was so surprised and angry that I felt like beating the shit out the vet and left as fast as I could. At home I cried for a long time, both due to the loss and the way he was "euthanized". Needless to say we didn't return to this vet for treatment of our rats.

Unfortunately I only have two bad photos of Toxo which I haven't scanned yet.