Real Life

I run a RAT-IREMENT home! I’ll give them the best lives possible!

I make sure my rodent residents have the best life
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Grover Greenfield, 29, Brisbane, Queensland, shares their story with Take 5:

A tail tickled the back of my neck as a rat peeked out from my hair.

“Hi Deo,” I smiled, and my pet rodent snuffled back at me.

At 12, I’d always wanted pet rats.

And after months of begging mum, she’d let me get Deo and his brother, Widdie, from the local pet shop.

Since rats only live for a couple of years, they soon passed away from old age.

I didn’t get any rats again until I was an adult and studying science at university.

Me with my rat (Image: supplied)

“Why don’t you get some more?” my partner Chris encouraged.

After selling some of my possessions, I cobbled together enough cash to buy a cage and two rats named Marshie and Buppy.

Wanting to learn everything there was to know about rats, I read scientific studies and shared my learnings on social media.

Since rats are happiest living in a big colony, I asked my community if anyone was looking to rehome their pets.

I found someone online who was looking to get rid of two female rats and happily took them on.

When my colony reached six, I stumbled across a post on Gumtree.

I’ve been breeding rats for snake food but I don’t have the stomach for it, wrote one woman. Does anyone want to take mine?

There were three sick little babies, and I took them in.

A rodent friend (Image: supplied)

Two were pregnant and quickly gave birth to 12 more rats.

“Time to find them forever homes,” I said to Chris, once they were healthy and happy.

That’s how my charity, Rachie’s Ratirement Home, was born.

We are a dedicated rat rescue that fosters, rehabilitates and rehomes rats.

Myself, Chris, and our friend Ally run the Ratirement Home with the help of volunteers and donations.

While I started the charity when my name was Rachel, the inclusive rat community helped me discover my true self.

I came to the realisation that I do not identify as female and am non-binary, which means I go by the pronouns of they and them.

I decided my name going forward would be Grover.

We make sure they have the best lives (Image: supplied)

“Should we change the name of the charity?” one kind volunteer asked.

“No,” I smiled. “The rescue can keep it.”

Now, the rescue has gone from strength to strength.

We’ve got around 80 volunteers and at our busiest, we were caring for 300 rats at a time.

While rats aren’t for everyone, I think they are beautiful and intelligent creatures that can be just as smart as a cat or dog.

It’s my mission to give them the best lives possible.

Grover (centre left) with volunteers at the rescue (Image: supplied)

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