Buddy died on Tuesday at the age of three years and six days. He had a long and happy rat life, although it saddened both of us that he spent his last year without a rat companion after the death of his brother Seymour. He and I had a really strong bond, and we spent a ton of time together. As he got weaker over his last two weeks, he slept next to me on my pillow. He was the first rat I've owned from thumb size to old age. I'm sad that I was at work when he died. I just wanted to make him feel loved, and like he wasn't alone. But on a selfish note, I'm glad that he died at home rather than getting jabbed with a needle at the vet. That doesn't seem like a good way to go.
He went through a couple of different procedures over the past month, but the vet and I agreed that Buddy reached a point at which more treatment wasn't going to help him. As hard as it is to make that decision with a pet, I really don't envy anyone who has to make these kinds of decisions with (human) loved ones.
Thanks for everything, Budward. I'm glad I got to know you.