Tori and Winchester: A Match Made in Heaven

Guest Blogger: Tori Wegener
October, 2018

It all started when I decided to impulsively adopt my companion animal. When I picked him up, just to hold him, I knew that he was coming home with me. So I told the lady that I wanted him and needed to get everything that he would need. Let me just tell you that all of his supplies cost me an arm and a leg, but I didn’t care because he was going to be my best friend; his name is Winchester.

Winchester and I instantly bonded and continued to connect as we played and trained. Some say training this species is easier than training a dog, which I thought was neat. I made him a little box house in my room so that he could run around the room and get up on it. I was able to train him to know that, when I shook the treat bag, he knew to run across the room and hop up on his house ledge. One thing that I knew I would definitely train him to learn was that his cage would be known as his, “room;” I never liked the word, “cage.”

He is a happy and very energetic little guy. After I adopted him, I saw Facebook posts about how this species becomes really attached to their people companions and love to just relax. Relaxing is not in him at all – he could run for hours! Shortly after I adopted him, I realized that my boyfriend was allergic to him. This made it hard for my boyfriend to come over and spend time with me and my new companion animal. We made it work for the last year and a half. About two months ago, my boyfriend and I decided to take the next step and move in together. This was going to be a big step in my life and my companion animal’s life because I had to make the hard sacrifice of leaving Winchester with my family. I did not want to leave him behind, but I could not let my boyfriend suffer being allergic to him, either.

I struggled with the decision about what I was going to do for a few months. I didn’t want to seem like a terrible companion animal mommy for leaving Winchester. I knew that my family would take good care of him. I remember the day I moved in with my boyfriend; it was so hard to give my little guy the biggest hug and say I would see him soon. I cried for about a week straight every night. Having that connection with him is so great; my little guy makes me super happy.

My mom knew I was feeling sad about leaving Winchester behind, so every week I FaceTime with my mom to see my little guy. She sends me pictures and updates about him every week. I try to make it across town to my parent’s house to see Winchester often. FaceTiming with him is fun because I can see how excited he gets when he hears my voice! Winchester will be two years old this January, and I am already trying to figure out what to get him. On his first birthday he got special treats and a pineapple house. I have to think of something he will love just as much for this birthday!

The bond that Winchester and I have is very special to me because he always knows how to cheer me up when I am upset. Now, this might shock you…Winchester is a medium black/white rat. That’s right, Winchester the rat is my best friend.

Winchester had to go to the veterinarian recently because his nose was slightly bleeding, which is a sign of a respiratory infection. My mom was nice enough to take him in to see the vet. He was prescribed some medicine and was told he needed to lose a little bit of weight. Winchester is a very happy chunky rat, but could possibly need to lose a few pounds to be more on the healthy side. He is doing better now and apparently likes when grandma (my mom) gives him his medicine instead of when I do it, his own mom!

I love my baby Winchester and will do anything to make sure he is taken care of. Companion animals aren’t just dogs and cats, they’re horses, pigs, birds, and rabbits, too (among others)! My companion animal just happens to be in a happy, slightly chunky, rat form, and I wouldn’t have him any other way.

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