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Heroes in our Hearts Tributes

Remembering the heroes who touched our lives

Donations to honor a beloved rat who has passed away OR who is still with us may be sent to or through Venmo @secondchancerats. Please send an email to with any information you would like to include in their bio.


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Io was my first rat, my heart rat, and the best rat I could ever have hoped for. He was friendly, sweet, and just happy to cuddle at any time. He was quite possibly the love of my ratty life. My life will never be the same without him.



Rufus was a ray of sunshine. He welcomed everyone and was their immediate friend. In loving memory.


Mr Bean

In loving memory



In loving memory


In loving memory of Blossom and Clover

Blossom and Clover were the sweetest of sisters. They were curious and patient as their human learned how to take care of her first rats. Blossom’s time was cut short but she was so loved every day. Clover and her human then developed a very special relationship. Clover came out of her shell and loved to explore. Clover was so sweet and gentle right to the very end. Both Clover and Blossom lived wonderful lives and are missed deeply every day.


In honor of Ellie, Jane, and Cabella


Old Man

Old Man was the oldest resident to ever enter the care of Second Chance Heroes. At a whopping three and a half years old, Old Man was entirely blind and mostly - if not completely - deaf. He had a slew of Old Man issues, but he lived every day to the fullest, and loved walking past the ladies' cages and stopping to flirt. He spent each night snuggled up in a blanket, snacking on the best food, and enjoying his retirement. Old Man had an extraordinary life, and he is missed dearly.


Coral aka Corra

In loving memory




Always & Forever

Buddy….. Four months and five days.

You happily exceed all of our expectations on how long you would be with us.

Falling in love with that precious face the first time I saw you, I knew I wanted you. Didn’t matter you were special needs with teeth that would need to be filed down so you could eat. That would require Vet visits a hour and forty five minutes each way from home. I knew you were some kind of special and you indeed were.

What we didn’t know until your first exam was you had hidden secrets. We were aware of your teeth, but then our Veterinarian showed me your X-rays. You had several masses in the chest, as well as a tumor on the abdomen. I asked how long do we have and our Veterinarian gently said can not be for sure, maybe weeks? After a few quick tears my response…. “Well, I guess we better make up a bucket list real fast for this little guy and spoil him to the hilt. And that we did….

Buddy’s vet visits quickly became weekly because his teeth growth rapidly increased. With anesthesia briefly needed for the quick procedure, Buddy’s breathing efforts made things tricky. It was always a relief when our Veterinarian would personally call us while we waited, to let us know he was fine and ready to go home. We had made another week!

As time progressed, Friday’s quickly and fondly became known as “Buddy Friday’s” both at home and the veterinarian clinic. Many of us became part of the “Buddy Team”. Between the receptionists who always made sure Buddy had his appointments, the technicians who comforted him after coming out of anesthesia, the other Veterinarians who would care for Buddy in the absence of our Vet and most importantly Buddy’s Veterinarian, we all worked together extending time for Buddy. It was pretty amazing and most touching.

Eventually, several medications had to be added for Buddy’s comfort. Buddy took them all like a champ, which was extremely unusual for a rat to do. He quickly became a fan for many flavors of ice cream, with Banana Pudding being his favorite. I mentioned to our Vet one time, it’s amazing Buddy takes all the medications so easily. He replied, I think he knows they are helping him. And I believe Buddy indeed did.

As months quickly went by, his cage would be adjusted and rearranged as needed. We went from four levels to eventually two. Buddy taught me a lot on special needs care. I watched him intently for clues on what made him most comfortable. Checking what worked and didn’t. No longer able to sleep in a hanging bed, it was adjusted for him to lay leaning upward on it which helped his breathing. We worked together.

Buddy was a happy little guy. He enjoyed a lot of attention, giving and receiving kisses and loved coming up to say hello. Always enjoyed and was willing to try new foods. I’ve never seen a rat act so appreciative either. Every evening at playtime, he loved exploring. And at treat time though he couldn’t eat all of the store treats because of his teeth, he would still happily beg for them and add them to his stash which would have been the envy of any rat.

As time went on, every day was a gift with Buddy still with us. The last two weeks before he recently passed, he was slowly becoming uncomfortable and we knew there wasn’t going to be much more time. We had been blessed to be able to enjoy the summer months and Halloween with him and the night before saying goodbye, we gave him Christmas. He had the best time checking out the Christmas village made from various toys I had bought for him to explore. It was a truly wonderful night. The next day, our final Buddy Friday, it was time. Our beloved Veterinarian and I together said goodbye to Buddy.

I want to thank Second Chance Heroes Rat Adoptions for giving us the opportunity to adopt and bring Buddy into our family.

A Heartfelt thank you to everyone at Wellesley Animal Hospital in Richmond for the months of care, support and help they gave us. Special thank you to Rachel.

And Buddy’s Veterinarian, Dr. Ernesto, who because of his knowledge, support, encouragement and expertise, gave us more time than we ever thought was possible to enjoy and love our precious Buddy. Thank you….



In loving memory



In loving memory


Mean Ol' Molly

Molly was a hell of a fighter. She had a rough start to life, when a kind citizen found her under their car in the city of Richmond and asked animal control to come save her. Molly wasted no time to bite every single staff member at animal control, endearing herself to absolutely no one but me. I stepped in and brought her to Second Chance, the very first rat we took in, thinking that her pregnancy hormones were causing her aggression and that she would calm down once her babies were grown. How wrong I was! We tried positive reinforcement for months before I accepted that Molly was just mean, and wanted to live her life with minimal human contact. And that was okay.
Molly got the chance to live how she wanted: without being bothered by humans too much, with her daughter Ginny, endless food and water and things to chew and destroy. Most importantly, Molly felt safe. I don't think she cared that she was loved, but she was very much so.
She will be remembered fondly as a true spitfire, who was only ever exactly who she was and nothing else, and took no shit from anybody. Molly was an inspiration, and she will be deeply missed.
Mean, Bitey, and Loved. 2019-2021



In loving memory



A big personality with a big heart. She will be missed. 



Vincent was adopted with his brother Xavier in early 2018 by Abby Chesnut and trained for therapy work. This was Abby’s second therapy rat and he was perfect for this work thanks to his laid-back personality and his love of people. Abby and Vincent became certified near the end of the year and began visiting college students for finals week to aid in destressing. Eventually, Abby started a reading program where elementary kids would sit and read to him to increase their reading confidence. Vincent loved visiting others and especially getting treats from his admirers. Many loved seeing him in his basket ready for the next adventure. Vincent retired in late 2019 with 97 hours of volunteer work under his belt, approximately 1000 people visited, and over 2.5k miles were driven for therapy events. Sadly, Vincent was helped over the rainbow bridge in October 2020 due to cancer, but he was such a loved boy. He inspired and educated so many— from adults who wanted to start working with a therapy rat, to kids learning that rats aren’t actually all that bad. Vincent’s smile will continue to live in our hearts and memories.



Fred was the son of the first rat ever to come into the care of Second Chance Heroes Rat Adoptions - Molly. Fred was a gentle giant, sweet, and loving. Fred and his siblings, George, Percy, Bill, Ginny, and RJ were an unexpected but most welcome surprise when Molly was brought our way. Fred was loved from the day he was born, first called my “Little Boy Blue.” For being so big, he was surprisingly dainty and so gentle. He had a kind spirit but was tough as nails. He fought like hell this last year after surviving pneumonia the first time. Eventually, his heart failed, and I knew it was his time. He lived a short life, but a full one. Full of love and companionship. Fred was truly an inspiration. I feel like we should all desire to be a little bit more like Fred.




Kingston was a young pet rat who was found outside of someone's home in Kingston, Georgia. He was very scared and was fed table scraps by the home owner until Abby Chesnut from the blog Healing Whiskers was able to catch him from the drainage pipe he was taking refuge in. She immediately took him to the vet and found that he had a respiratory infection, a previously broken tail, and was very skinny. After nursing him back to health, Abby slowly introduced Kingston to the rest of her mischief. He was very anxious around other rats but blossomed when introduced to Abby's older rats Vincent and Xavier. Kingston enjoyed the rest of his days with his brothers and loved head massages and of course, his most favorite person, his dad Johnny. Kingston constantly struggled with respiratory infections as he got older and had nebulizer treatments daily. Sadly his breathing got so bad that Abby and Johnny had to make a hard decision to help him over the rainbow bridge. They both take solace that they provided Kingston with a loving safe home while he was with them.


To the rats of biomedical research,

You help us every day in our journey to improve the health of humans and animals everywhere. You bring joy to those of us who work with you, and healing to those of us who are benefitted from your work. May you always be treated with dignity and respect, and may you retire to good loving homes.



Azalea was not long with us before the damage from the poor husbandry of a pet shop feeder bin took him from us. Never have I had an animal, a pet, my friend, who gave so much love, joy, and affection so generously. His loss made a permanent mark on my soul and being, and he remains a source of faith in the love of our creator. He was a lifeline during one of the most difficult periods in my life. In honor of him, we have saved several rescues, and a couple more who did not make the cut as breeders. They each grow more loving, confident, trusting, and expressive of their individuality with each day. As amazing as they are, none have come close to the miracle that Azalea was for us. His life was priceless and will remain in our hearts Always.



Bergie (short for Heisenberg - we were Breaking Bad fans back in 2014) was rescued from poor conditions he never fully recovered from and was on medicine his entire two years with us.  When brought home for quarantine, he promptly spent the evening escaping from his hospital cage to come into the next room to climb up in bed with me - and he continued to surprise and amaze with his cleverness and intelligence.  Agreeable, loving, and would have no issue tugging at your sleeve to get affection from you, he would often be found with his three adopted brothers doing what they did best - spreading joy and smiles.  
We have been caring for rats for about ten years now, mostly rescues and humane society rats that no one wanted (so we have had quite a few) but none of them stuck with me, connected with me, and make me miss him more than any pet I have had in my life than dear Bergie.  



Lily was THE FIRST rat to join the Second Chance Heroes rescue. She became a sanctuary rat at the request of her savior, who was able to remove her from the house where she was kept in a drawer in a closet and bred repeatedly to feed her babies to another animal. Lily was the model of forgiveness, and we were most grateful to be able to give her a life full of love and joy during her last year. She was even able to watch her last litter grow up and move on to happy homes - a far cry from her previous litters. Lily was truly extraordinary. She will be missed.



Harvey lived a short life outside the lab, but it was full of love. She died a hero, with many who cared about her and was rooting for her behind the scenes.

"You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." - Harvey Dent

Rest in peace, Harvey.



Monty was loved immediately by all who had the fortune to meet him.  He was goofy and dramatic with a big personality. He loved to popcorn around his cage with his partner and played as long as his eyes were open. He was very loved.



In loving memory



Riley was definitely my 'hero'.   He came into my life shortly after the sudden death of my husband at an early age.  I was completely alone, and struggling to hold on & couldn't find much happiness or purpose in life -- then my little cuddle-mouse Riley found me.  He brought so much joy & love into my world and gave me a reason to live again.  

He was such a snuggly little boy & he so loved being held and cuddled.  After initial acclimation, he had free range of the house & would hardly let me out of his sight.  If I did have to leave the house, even if only for a few moments -- when I returned, he'd come running as fast as he could, and jump onto my feet, wanting me to pick him up & play with him and cuddle him.  If I was feeling a bit sad, he sensed it & would be exceptionally loving & always managed to make me feel better.

We had little games we'd play, and once we got started, he didn't want to stop!  If I sat down at night to watch TV, he had to sit on my lap.  He had so many cute little things he'd do - even after rat-proofing the house, I had to be extra careful about leaving anything within his reach - he had his "stash" under the couch, and he would carry off almost anything he could get hold of & hide it away, along with his own toys.  

We had 3 happy years together, before he crossed the rainbow bridge.  He was an exceptionally special loving boy & will always remain in my heart as my sweet 'cuddle-mouse' forever



In loving memory



Nadia was born in the fall of 2016 and lived over three years. She passed away gently during the night, in a nest of aspen she dug herself as her final resting place.

She was bold and exceptionally friendly. She cared deeply about her friends and brought food to her fellow mischief members Lucy, Mattie, and Eva in their final illnesses. She loved snuggling baby rats and playing with Tomte the dog (watch a video of them goofing around at To the end, she loved exploring, snacks, and being held. She welcomed Second Chance Heroes rescues into her life a few months before her death and ensured they made a safe transition to their new life before she died. She was an ordinary PetSmart rat but she was extraordinary.

She is survived by the Spooky Squad and the Spooky 2.0s, who are too bright and full of life to grieve her. This is as it should be.

Cold Harbor’s Espionage
She will live in our hearts and minds forever.


In loving memory of Stinky 3

Heroes In Our Hearts Tribute Fund: Meet the Team


The one who started it all

Desmond was a hero waiting to find the human who needed him most - SCH founder Eva Cross.  Desmond's favorite food was guacamole and his favorite toys were plastic grocery bags.  He loved running them up to the top of his double critter nation cage and stuffing them into his food bowl.  His favorite song was Girls/Girls/Boys by Panic! At the Disco, and would brux and boggle every time it came on.

Forever in my heart; July 2, 2015 - April 28th, 2018

Heroes In Our Hearts Tribute Fund: Meet the Team
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