A Life Changing Lesson From Bob The Rat

Life brings us many experiences and some of them, we are ready for and others…not so much.  Or are we?  Perhaps there really is the “right” time for everything.

Over the last couple of months, I experienced a health set back and one that really opened my eyes to choices I needed to make. Don’t worry, it’s not a terminal illness but enough of a challenge that if I didn’t make some significant lifestyle changes (working less hours, time for exercise, balanced blood sugar & blood pressure levels etc), I would run into some deep levels of concern that might have been too late to reverse. I’ve kept quiet about this as I’ve never been the type to want attention drawn in this way. I truly believe that in time, with mindset and the right supports, all can remain vibrant and well.  This time however, I’ve noted something different in my path called “life” and it’s been a more challenging time.  This setback has been a harder to overcome and I haven’t bounced back as quickly as I had hoped.

It has been one of the hardest things I needed to do in making these life changes. I’ve had to make some important decisions and needed to step back from some important obligations I had made. You might have noticed that my posts here in The Power of Pets have not been as often.  Now you know why 🙂

Making these above changes and decisions has helped me immensely and the old cliche that time does heal rings true.


I’ve often found that usually when we have chaos (health or otherwise) in our lives, we tend to experience other chaos in the world…almost like a mirror back to us.  Can you relate to this?

Have you ever had a really bad day and then of course, the car didn’t start or the traffic was backed up and you were late and then of course, you ran into every other Tom, Dick and Harriet out there that were also having bad days?

That’s what’s called a mirror image.  Essentially it means “What we project outwards comes back to us”.


Today, I was outside with my dog Nemo and we were walking around the grounds where we live. We came across a rat with fluffy brown fur and a long tail. I was taken aback at first because when I first saw him, I saw such beauty. Many people don’t like rats.  I have no idea if this rat was male or female but I felt a strong connection. This rat was different. I’ll call him Bob.

Bob was huddled into the grass trying to bury his head into it. He was in distress, he was not well. He turned his head up and looked at me. It felt like he was saying “I’m sick” and then his head went back down. Anxiety filled my heart as his communication was so strong. I removed Nemo from the area and came back to see if there was anything I could do for this beautiful soul I call Bob.

When I returned, Bob was still there huddled and shivering.  He looked to be sick to his stomach and was wretching.  I brought gloves and a box lined with an old wash cloth with me to see if he might like some warmth and shelter. It was a cold day outside today.  After sitting with Bob for a few minutes, I told him that I was there to help in any way and if he wanted me to, I would do my best.

Bob continued to stay beside me. I gently reached down and lifted him up, placed him gently in the box with the warm cloth on the bottom. The cloth was white and I saw small amounts of blood coming from his mouth. I knew Bob had been poisoned and was dying.


I wanted to take Bob’s pain away, and make it stop for him.  I became angry at the ones who poisoned him in this inhumane way. I felt hopeless. I thought about calling the humane society to ask “is there anything we can do to end his suffering?”. But I knew that there wouldn’t be. He was a wild rat, and most people don’t take to the same way for this type of animal because it’s not a typical pet.

After staying inside the warm, lined box I had put him in, a few minutes later Bob began to climb out and went back into the grass, hiding his head once again and then each time more blood would come out, he would rub his mouth as if he was cleaning his face.  With this action, I knew he was telling me; “I don’t need this kind of help right now.  I need to die in my own way”.

So I said a prayer and called in God, the angels and spiritual beings who help animals with the process of death. I told Bob I loved him and I sent my heart to him. For what he was to endure what not over yet. It was hard to leave Bob there, but I knew I had to and let nature take its course.

I had some appointments to attend and when I arrived back home, it was almost dark out. I went to where I had last left Bob and he was still there, just had moved over a few feet.  And he was on his side. I thought, “it is done, he is gone”.  But he wasn’t. He moved his feet and when he saw me, it appeared like he felt that I was going to do something and he became reactive. He tried to pull himself away from me being beside him, just like in the wild when an injured animal is being hunted by prey.

I recognized this immediately and slowly backed away. I told Bob I was there for him and did not want to upset him. It was clear, he wanted his space so he could finishing dying.


Why am I sharing this with you today?  In all of this, there is one thing that Bob communicated so clearly to me that during this experience.

In all of the suffering that I saw in Bob, he seemed to accept that as exactly what it should be. He wasn’t fighting his death, his ego was not involved. He was simply in that moment and each moment until his final breath.

Bob reminded me that death is something that will happen to each and every one of us and that when there is life, there must be death too. And this was his time to die. I believe Bob will be at peace, his work as a rat has been completed and he can now rest in full peace.

Bob, thank you for your lessons today:

  • Lesson 1: When we feel a loss of control, there is always an answer. We just need to become still to find it.
  • Lesson 2: When there is life, there is also death. This is how the process works.
  • Lesson 3: Even though Bob was poisoned and was dying a slow death, he was accepting of it. He did not fight it, he simply “was” in that moment, and in each moment.

I will go out to where I left Bob earlier this evening and bury him in the gardens.


Today, I started my day with anxiety and pain after a sleepless night of insomnia. As I end this same day, I am humbled because of my encounter with Bob and what he taught me. I know that at the time of this writing, there are still 6 hours left of today.  That’s 6 hours that I can make to be the absolute best or absolute worst…it’s my choice…and I choose to make today as best that I can. Tomorrow is never promised but when I do wake up…I will breathe in gratitude and also choose to make that day the best that I can.

Wherever you may be right now, however you may be feeling, you still have time to make today your best day yet.  Will you join me in making this difference in honour of Bob?

Thank you Bob for your many blessings.  Rest in peace sweet soul.  Your message has been received. You have fulfilled your teaching and for that I am truly grateful.

EXCERPT FROM BOOK: From Empty To Empowered – A Journey To Healing From Unexpected Pet Loss

Having animals in my life from a very young age, I have come to learn that these pets I called friends, were actually my teachers and had many lessons to share with me.

I’ve come to learn that animals and humans are two very different species in how we sense things, handle experiences and live our lives. Humans anticipate the future; animals are in “the now”. They don’t worry about their upcoming business meeting, and for the most part, remain present. An animal’s instincts are beyond everything we think we know about.

When it comes to death and dying, we as humans fear it. And in the strong bonds and relationships we have with our pets, we can imagine that they feel the same way as we do. If we fear death, we automatically think our pets do as well.  However in essence do they really?

Marybeth Haines





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