After Artemis's untimely and sad death this morning, Athena was alone. That's not a good thing for a rat to be, obviously, so after class, I went to get Athena a new buddy, with a help from a friend (but that's a bigger story for another time). I drove to the pet store near where I live, and started looking at the rats, not expecting to find a direct attachment. The first one I tried to grab crawled into my hand as I put it in. She looked at me with her boggling eyes, and instantly crawled around my arm, licking.
What was strange for me was that the clerk seemed a bit sad that I picked the baby, even as she said, "Looks like your lucky day." As I drove home, she chewed a hole in the box and crawled out, forcing me to hold her all the way back. This is how Hermione came home with me: in my hand, driving down a curving road. I raced into my apartment, handed her to Cami, and tried to get my stuff when Cami said something that threw me: "She has a stump... Awww! You rescued her!"
I looked at her perplexed, and then saw it. Hermione had for legs, but her left paw didn't form right in utero. It all seemed clear that the staff at the pet store probably handled her a lot, and cared for her. At the same time, I wished I had seen it before she crawled into my hand, because that would have made me want to snag her. After Artemis, I was worried that I wouldn't find a baby rat who would be talented like Art of Mischief was. I was wrong: we have a capable, sweetheart, Hermione the Three-Pawed-Wonder Rat, who loves leaping on her hind legs, from my arm to the cage. Even better, she seems to love her new home.
Best yet, Athena hasn't stopped bragging to the big ratties, either.