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There will always be a special place for you
August 18, 1998 to January 14, 2001

Starr was not my first rat, I guess you could say she was my third rat, since her sister was so much easier to catch then she was. Belle, a black hooded, climbed right into my hand in readiness to come home with me. Starr tried in vain to escape every effort of capture. She was the only albino in the litter and I wanted her because of that difference.

The girls were named after an Elizabeth Montgomery Western movie called " Belle Starr".

While Belle lavished her love on me and I reciprocated by giving her most of the attention, Starr remained aloof and uncaring for human companionship. She never bit me once in her life, just never liked being handled. That was ok, Starr was who she was and I accepted her for being honest with me.

Starr's sister Belle died of respiratory disease at 10 months of age, and even while living as a lone rat for a number of months, Starr's attitude towards me never improved.

Then came Jazmyn and the introduction made me very nervous. Starr pinned Jaz on her back three times. Each time holding Jaz down with a single paw on her belly, looking around, like it was the most natural thing in the world to be doing. Within an hour, Starr and Jazmyn were best friends.

Then came a pregnant Sage. Pregnant while at the pet store. I had already joined a Yahoo group, called the Ratlist by this time. I learned the value of quarantining and this meant that Sage had to be alone with her babies for the time being. Starr and Jazmyn never met Sage, officially, until Sage's babies were weaned and the sexes were separated. Upon their first meeting, Starr did the same pinning process on Sage that she had done on Jaz.

It was then that I realized that Starr was the Alpha of this growing Mischief and this status gave her more confidence, a purpose in life. She started to warm up to me, ever so slightly.

I then dubbed this mischief "The Kingdom of Starr" with Starr as head Spaz Rat. Thus, my Handle "Sandra Beasley and the Spaz Rats". From now on every rat that came to live with us had to be accepted first by Starr. She was always firm, but gentle, with her self-assigned duties.

I remember the day when a 3-week old Baeli, during free-range time, managed to squeeze through the bars of Starr's cage and all I saw was a lump moving around under the blankets. Starr saw the lump too and investigated. Suddenly she began jumping up and down on top of the invasive lump, all the while the little boy was squeaking as if he were being murdered. Starr never liked those babies at all until they were 6 weeks old, at which time she abruptly decided they were ok to have long as they didn't pester her too much. During this time she earned the nick-name "Snarky Old Granny Rat".

Life was good for Starr until late summer of 2000. She was starting to show her age. The odd breathing that she had picked up in October 1999 was starting to become more pronounced. By October 2000, she was quickly declining into her golden years. She was slowing down, showing signs of arthritis, and picking up some cute, but destructive habits, like chewing on the bottom of the dining room door.

In her decline I had to nurse her more, spend more time with her, and generally spoiled her rotten. It was at this point that I started calling her my "Starr Baby" because her essence burned bright in the Rat Room. From now on, whatever Starr wanted, Starr got. As an old lady she seemed to understand my efforts to make her last months more comfortable for her. She became more mellow, more gentle with me. She was becoming very sweet, endearing herself in my heart. At times she would give me kisses and started to brux.

I found Starr to have a very strong personality, and I loved her for it. When she wanted something she would forcefully grab for it, but when she didn't want it, with equal force, she would push it aside.

Starr died peacefully at home, among friends, January 14, 2001.

My first Rat, Willow, was my reason for having rats. Starr is the reason I continue to have rats. Starr is the reason I searched out the Ratlist, and other rat-related forums. Starr is the Spaz Rats. There will never be another one who can take her place.

Good-bye my Grand Old Lady, until we meet again.......

Twinkle, twinkle, little Starr,
How I wonder how you are?
In this room that's filled with love,
And with the love from up above,
Now you've crossed that Rainbow Bridge
With the peace and comfort, it now gives.


Taratoo - 
Sage's Niece 5 times removed

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