This morning I took her and Victoria out of their cage for play time. They ran around on our bed, exploring and hiding under blankets and sheets like they always do. Playing peekaboo with their little pink noses. Then Penelope laid down. She sat very still next to my pillow for several minutes, only looking up when I stroked her back. I thought maybe she was tired. It was pretty early and they usually sleep most of the day. So I took them back to their cage to let them rest. Ten minutes later I checked on them and Penelope wasn't breathing. Her body was still warm and her tiny black eyes were still open when she went limp in my hands.
I don't think that it had anything to do with the tumor or the surgery. She was just very old and very tired. Her death was quiet and peaceful, and I'm glad that she had a chance to play and tunnel through the sheets one last time before the end.
Penelope was a wonderful companion. She was sweet and shy and never said no to a scritch behind the ears. She loved carrots, applesauce and her pink fleece blankie. She liked to snuggle on my chest and eat treats out of my hand. She was so brave when she battled cancer and went through surgery, which she bounced back from beautifully. No matter how bad my day was, she could always cheer me up. Her fuzzy little face and her velvety ears always made me smile. I loved the way her whiskers tickled my face. I loved the little patches of white fur above her paws, how they made her look like she was wearing dainty little gloves.
She was a good rat, and I miss her so much it hurts.