Common sense would tell most that putting a dog, a cat, and a rat all together in the same room and things wouldn’t go very…well. However, with this odd ball crew, you would be completely incorrect. Sasha the dog, Jack the cat and Tweaks the rat all were surrendered to the Oshkosh Area Humane Society in Wisconsin, and the three are totally inseparable.
“They had to downsize their home, and they weren’t able to take the three animals with them, so they brought them here,” said Cheryl Rosenthal, communications and education coordinator at OAHS to The Dodo. “A lot of people would say, ‘Why would you do that?’ But not every place will accept pets, let alone three of them.”
When they got to the shelter, they had to be split up for a bit to have a short medical exam. That’s when shelter staff noticed things got kind of strange. Jack was first to go in, and he became stressed out right away.
“He became very frightened and was growling and not very cooperative at all,” said Rosenthal. “So one of the staff said, ‘Why don’t we try to bring the dog in?’ And it was just amazing. As soon as the dog came in, he was like a totally different cat. He just became more relaxed knowing that his buddy was there.”
After that, they knew there was no way they could not have them together in the same enclosure. Well, Jack and Sasha at least. Then they thought about Tweaks. The former owner did say they were kind of a team. So they decided to send Tweaks into the enclosure, and they were amazed at what they saw.
“We thought, ‘Well maybe we should bring the rat in,'” Rosenthal said. “So we did. We put the rat down, and right away the rat was running all over the dog, and going up and licking his face, and the dog was licking the rat. So it was like, ‘OK — I guess they really are friends.'”
But how would a CAT react to this…
“The cat was sleeping, and Tweaks crawled up by the cat, and then went under his front paws and just laid there, like they were best friends,” Rosenthal said. “It was pretty amazing.”
That’s when staff came up with an adorable name for the trio – The Rat Pack! The shelter staff knew that they just had to stay together, but how were they going to find someone willing to adopt not just three animals, but a dog, cat and a rat, all at the same time? This was not going to be easy… or was it?
A woman by the name of Kathy Berens came into the shelter. She had been to the shelter before and adopted a dog, but would she want to get three rescue animals all at once?
“They had adopted a cat from us, and they were thinking about getting another cat, but they also wanted a dog,” Rosenthal said. “So Kathy kind of overheard some of our staff talking about Tweaks and Sasha and Jack, and she’s like, ‘This sounds like a ready-made family. This might be ideal for us.'”
At first, she wasn’t too sure she wanted a rat. She was OK with Jack and Sasha, however Tweaks was going to be a problem. The shelter staff urged her to give him a chance, and she did.
“At first she said, ‘No, no — I don’t think I like rats,'” Rosenthal said. “But [the volunteers] said, ‘You should really come in and meet him — he’s really exceptional.'” And she did. She told me yesterday, ‘I’m so glad I did, because after holding him, and knowing how affectionate he is, you can’t help but fall in love with him.'”
So, The Rat Pack got to stay together. They all very happily live together with Berens in her home in rural Wisconsin.
“They have touched a lot of hearts other than just mine and I am grateful and feel very privileged to be able to be a part of this,” Berens said.
“For all of our staff, it’s kind of bittersweet,” Rosenthal said. “We’ve all gotten very attached to the threesome, but we’re just very excited that they’re going home.”