This article is from the Winter 2003 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
Kids Q & A
By Helen Pembrook
Hannah Raymond, Evansville, IN
QMy name is Hannah Raymond. I’m 14 years old and will soon be entering the ninth grade. Two years ago I became interested in rats. Because of my time spent volunteering at the local zoo, I became acquainted with, and began to love their rats. I researched these rodents and became more curious. Books told me that they were excellent pets, so I asked for permission to buy one. Unfortunately, a problem arose.
I am a very responsible person. My grades are decent, I do my chores, and I obey my parents most of the time. I asked my parents for a rat, but my mom firmly refused. I explained that with my allowance, purchasing and adequately taking care of a rat would not be a problem. I stated that responsibilities such as cleaning out the cage and playing with my rat would be up to me. One of our neighbors is willing to watch a rat when we go on vacation. Searching the Internet, I located a veterinarian near us that will take care of rats. My mother was impressed with all my research and planning, but still refused. She has an immense fear of rats. After explanations of their cleanliness, how docile they are, and assurance that cages are escape-proof, she still cannot seem to conquer her fear. My mother is a kind, loving person, but she is making my life miserable! Please help me cure her phobia.
Rat fanciers are being born by the second, and I’m sure you get many letters. Please take the time to write back with suggestions on how to help my mother cure her rat-phobia. Thanks for helping.
AThe only person who can cure your mom’s phobia is your mom, and that may be very difficult. You might suggest she go to the zoo with you and look at or play with the rats. Or maybe she would let you bring one home for one night or a few hours. Some people are never able to get over a fear, no matter how silly other people may think it is, no matter how hard they try. It can take years and years of intense therapy by a psycho-therapist to manage a phobia. She may never get over her fear and it is not fair to have that which causes this fear in the home making her upset and unable to relax. Don’t make yourself miserable just because you can’t have a rat right now. You said your mother was loving and kind. Be thankful for that. You can get a rat when you move out on your own.