Veterinarians, Animal Care Givers and Animal Communicators
Report on the Status of the three rats, matilda, tara and star barbie:
Right Now the Barbies are getting ready to travel to the museum and their new house. They are not sure what to expect. They have only recently left the lab for the first time. I am both sad and happy to see them have such a big palace and see them smell new smells.
—AZ, Caregiver, May 26, 2005
Moved the rat girls into MASS MoCA today.
I was really super nervous about how they would handle the transition.
First there was the car ride, over the mountain from Troy, and then
moving into the new house.
Also there has been so much construction going on at MASS MoCA that I
didn't want to bring them over until today.
(There still will be construction as the installing it still ongoing
but hopefully they will be able to handle it for one day.)
Arrived at MASS MoCA around 11 am. The ride went smoothly.
Had covered the cage with a sheet to minimize sunlight and movement.
Then met with the vet, Hilary Cook, from All Caring Animal Center in
Great Barrington, MA.
She drove up to do a "house call" with the rat girls.
She was great and gave them some Rescue Remedy spray immediately to
calm them down.
Then we took each girl out, introduced them to Hilary, and she examined
them for tumors, listened to their hearts with her sthescope, and gave
them an overall good bill of health.
She was great! (Her status report to follow).
Then we released each rat into a separate part of the housing unit. One
in each of the dome huts.
They we separated by the flash doors (which were closed)
As soon as they were settled, we opened the flash doors, releasing them
into each other's space.
Star was the first one to travel through the tunnels to visit her
Then they all started exploring. All the doors were open.
Within another hour a huge visiting crowd came through lead by Nato
I had been worried that they would be scared by large groups of people.
But somehow they seemed like they were studying the people.
The barrier of the white mesh and the glass portals allows some
separation for them that they seem very comfortable with.
The rats have proximity but can feel safe!
All went well.
I should also add that Adam Zaretsky and Barbara Groves were there from
the rat girls' first arrival and they helped us immensely,
They spoke with the vat as well and documented the "rat releases".
By mid-afternoon, the rats had checked out all the housing areas!
I watched Tara climb into the wall hut through the tubbing and she seemed to like the adventure.
I left feeling confident that they would thrive from the extended
housing options they have now - able to explore and get exercise, but
hide when they want to do so (their favorite hiding area is the
connecting tunnels!). Go girls!!
— K. High
The Barbies moved in today. One at a time Matilda, Tara and Star were checked by a vet and then released into the mini-environments at Mass Moca. Tara was the first to run through all the tunnels on the people level of the instalation. She cheered up Matilda who was sleeping in the barn area and then ran past Star into the big triangular cage. All three barbies seemed to make them selves at home. Yay.
— Adam Z, Caregiver, May 27, 2005
Rat Report from Hillary the Veterinarian May 27, 2005:
I came to visit Matilda, Tara, and Star on Friday the 27th for health
exams. They currently eat an exellent rat diet of rat chow by oxbow,
small amt of seed mix and some tasty treats, some fruits and veggies.
They lead a quiet life full of luxery. That day, the rats were placed
in an amazing environment for their retirement after their physical
exams. The physical exams were difficult as these rats have been used
as breeders in a research environment with little or no human contact
previous to living with Kathy High. Each rat certainly had a distinct
Matilda and Star have been experiencing siezures which seem to be
brought on by light or sudden movement. The root of these siezures
are due to the way they were bred for human research. These rats have
a lowerd immune system which predisposes them to getting tumors and
infections. None of the rats appeared to have mammary tumors, which
are common tumors rats. None of the rats were experiencing
respiratory problems which is also a common problem, or any other
signs of infection.
The focus for these girls is a comfortable, stimulating enviroment,
great nutrition, and immune boosters. I have perscribed DMG which
increases the threshold for siezures and is also an immunostimmulant.
I also have recommended rescue remedy, a bach flower for siezures.
I will be visiting these wonderful girls every three weeks for health