Burrito, my little black and white hooded rat, died around 17:15 this evening. He passed away in Charlotte's arms, in his favorite blanket next to his friend Abraham, with our hands to keep him warm in his last moments.
A rescue rat, he had chronic breathing trouble from the day we met, likely the result of scarring from exposure to ammonia fumes during his life before being rescued. He and Abe never really got along with our other rats; they preferred their own quiet, away from the youngsters.
He was always the weakest of the bunch. Even Abe with his recurring tumor was more energetic. We noticed Burrito losing weight over the last few weeks, and he was cold to the touch the past day or two. I knew in my heart that today was probably his last day with us.
Burrito, I'll miss your little wheeze as you rested on my lap: I always felt this weird kinship with you, me with my asthma, you with your own breathing troubles. I'll miss the way you closed your eyes tight and leaned into my scritches. I'll miss the way you would peek out and come to the door whenever you heard my voice. I'll miss the way, only in the last days before you passed on, you finally, determinedly, climbed out of your habitat onto my shoulders and hands.