Viola died. She was a good girl. I don't think it's accurate to say that I'm less sad than I have been with past rats, but I am somewhat cheered up by the fact that she had a good, long life for a rat in her circumstances. We got her from an animal rescue, and she is presumed to have come from a pet store originally. Since they breed for quantity and don't bother selectively breeding around health problems, it is unusual for pet store rats to live very long. Viola was just a couple months short of three years, which is elderly in rat terms. Her sibling Olivia is still plugging along.

People ask me about my choice of pets given their short lifespans and the regular sadness of losing them. Well, I like rats. Love them, even. When I consider their short lives I take comfort in giving them the best possible lives given the time they have. And I take the best possible care of them to extend that time. Basically, it sucks to lose them after just a few years but I know that no rats on Earth are living better than mine. I think that's all we can do for our pets – we try to make the most out of the time they give us. We love them and we enjoy their love in return, be it for a month or 20 years.