Making a Difference for Lou-Lou and Gabie

Catherine Graf
From the RMCA web site, October 2008

Lou-Lou, Gabie and friend Vicky
Lou-Lou, Gabie and Vicky (read her story here!)
My white rat, Marie-Louise (Lou-Lou) must have been born with maternal instincts. She got pregnant in the feeder tank at the pet shop as an exceptionally young girl. It ended up saving her life. She had a litter of nine, some white and some hooded black and white. As soon as the babies were weaned, they were being sold off as reptile food. Lou-Lou seemed to know this and it was breaking her heart. She would stand in front of the remaining babies with her arms spread out. I did take one of them, but he was not cut out to be a pet. I asked them what they were going to do with Lou-Lou and naturally they said she was going as a feeder. I got her and brought her home, but she really missed her babies.

I had a hooded beige named Gabriel who died a year ago today. They got another shipment of babies in, and asked me to take a hooded beige boy, so he became Gabe. Lou-Lou was very excited; it didn't matter to her that she wasn't the birth mother. She and the baby bonded right away. I started to notice something weird, however. Gabe's genitals had stopped growing. I took him/her to the vet, and even he had a hard time determining the gender. It turned out, after a spay, that we had what started out as a boy, but developed into a girl. Her name is now Gabriela, Gabie for short.

You have never seen a mother and daughter love each other so much. Lou-Lou grooms Gabie all the time. Gabie burrows into Lou-Lou's fur and drapes herself over her back. They curl up together in a small tissue box. They lay side by side to be petted. Lou-Lou comes out to play every night. They have their own high-rise cage full of toys. This was a rescue that couldn't have worked out better.