(Update: I feared the worst and the worst did not come. While Hero is not in great shape, rats are troopers and the veterinarian believes that she will recover. Huzzah.)
One of my rats, Hero, had a stroke. Pending the opinion of a veterinarian, I fear the worst. I'm surprising myself with how badly I feel and how attached I have become.
At the same time, the experience has made it obvious that I am a very lucky person. I'm nearly 30 and never had to experience death. Seriously. No one I had or have an emotional bond with has died. My grandmother (the sole grandparent I knew) died when I was in high school but, frankly, I don't remember her doing to much other than being cranky and yelling so I don't think it hit me overly hard. A friend of mine from high school football died in a car accident, and that was sad. But overall, I've never had to experience the kind of deep, personal loss that so many people feel.
A pet is different than a person, obviously, but a rat made me realize how thankful I am for the good health and company of everyone I love, two- or four-legged.