Damien has always been a trouper. I got him when he was teeny tiny and he held his own against my larger rat boys, even after my cat plucked him up during a routine cleaning.

Damien never leaves his cage unless he’s with me. He doesn’t go around and explore the place. He doesn’t see very well. He responds enthusiastically to my voice as he’s wavering and sizing up that I’m there. Now that The Captain is gone, he’s getting his ass handed to him by Little Bastard.

Damien gets wounds along his tail. There are always some scabs and he doesn’t tend to it much. In fact when I’m handling him he tells me it’s very tender. I have rooted around and found a fairly large abscess and got it drained well. It took a few days for the skin to tighten back up around the meat of his tail in that area but it’s ok. I’ve found other infected sites but nothing that created a pocket like that. Some of his scabs were actually inverted, meaning that he doesn’t clean these up very well or loosen them as they heal. He’s pretty beaten down.

So, I go and do my mommy thing and take care of his tail while he’s curled up in a blanket in my lap. He squirms and cries at me and gently nibbles my fingers away from his tail with the bad ones, whimpering, pleading for me to let up but he won’t bite me. He’s a shy, sweet boy.

On the other hand, and usually both, his nails cause a painful reaction to my skin.
Have you ever been bitten by a fire ant? That. That within an allergic hive and just lingering, sometimes for more than a day and the last time I worked his tail he got me on the chest and the shoulder. Tonight it’s just confined to my hand and opposite forearm. I washed them, put tea tree oil on the sites and then washed them again. I’ve taken two benadryl so that even if it doesn’t take my natural response away then maybe I can sleep off wanting to claw at myself.

Something else cool that happened while he was in the blanket with me and we were taking a break:
I was working on scritches with him to where he spaced out and started chattering his teeth and closing his eyes. Chattering in guinea pigs is a seriously bad sign but it’s heaven when it’s your rat. I’ve never had a rattie sit and so happily work a scritch with me. He’s so sweet.