I came back from my grueling trip to Tampa to find that the last of Luke's pet rats had left God's green earth. However, not to be too sad about it, Fred was a very elderly rat. Rats only live about 2½ years, and she was pushing past that. Fred had started to develop tumors like Bob had, but it wasn't the tumors that killed her. She could still move around well, and the tumors hadn't consumed her body like Bob's did. I think Fred just died of old age.
Up until a week ago, she was still sprightly and eating well. Then, last week, she started staying in her tissue box more, resting most of the day and night. She was still eating well, though, until last night when Becky said she just wasn't interested. I guess she died in the night pretty peacefully.
Of course Luke was very upset, but he seemed to take it better this time knowing that Fred had been happy and healthy. She was, without a doubt, Luke's most favorite rat--mine too, and Becky's too. Fred was a sweet, gentle and adventurous rat, and she will be missed.
Rest in peace, dear Fred.