This I Believe

Emily - Houston, Texas
Entered on February 5, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
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Running with Rats

Spotty and Snowball were the names of my best friend’s pets. They were intelligent, energetic and always quick to greet you. They were slightly unusual pets, and I remember thinking the first time I met them, ‘who would want to keep rats for pets?’. But since then I have changed my mind. Rats are part of the rodent family, are adorable to some, and always accept new people. After my initial surprise, she convinced me to hold one of them. To my surprise, Snowball’s tail was not disgusting and cold. My first impression of rats was certainly proved wrong.

After about a month of visiting Spotty and Snowball, I came to realize that though these rats were nice, not all were. But that did not mean the majority of rats were awful creatures with dark fur and glowing red eyes. Rats, just like people, could not be judged by how they looked. They too have the capability to be bad or good.

Most people are disgusted by rats, as I knew from my own naïve experiences. However, I know several people who keep gerbils, hamsters, even mice as pets. Rats too are part of the rodent family, and are also brilliant pets. There is much prejudice surrounding rats, mostly because of the wild rats that had once carried the Black Death and other rats that still live in the sewers. Despite wild rats being dirty, domesticated rats sold at pet stores are kept clean. I helped my friend bathe to her rats several times. They enjoyed swimming in the large bath tub and they are surprisingly cute when drenched in water. Rats can be much like puppies, for both have energetic manners. And just like some breeds of dogs are cuter than others, rats too can be considered cute once you see past the stereotypical creature.

I believe in rats. I believe in their beady little eyes and twitching noses, and the way they always greet me with enthusiasm. Much like people, rats greet the people they know and hesitantly acknowledge those they have just met. But unlike people, I believe that rats do not judge who they meet based on appearances. I have never seen them treat someone unfamiliar in any way other than curiously snuffling around in their hair.

Spotty and Snowball passed away nearly four years ago, but I still believe in everything they did. I still remember their curiosity and friendliness. I believe in Spotty and Snowball.