On Sunday afternoon, a zaftig rat in the German town of Bensheim got stuck. Where? In a manhole, yes, but also in my heart.
According to the BBC, animal rescuers and a full team of firefighters were called to the scene when residents noticed the chubby rat wedged in one of the small holes around the edge of the manhole. This was the appropriate response for rescuing a single trapped rat, because as animal rescuer Michael Sehr told the press, “Even animals that are hated by many deserve respect.” So true.
Sehr added that the rat “had a lot of winter flab and was stuck fast at her hip — there was no going forward or back.” Similarly, I am stuck fast in my love and admiration for the chubby rat — a woman suspended, like so many of us, between the light above and the sewage below.
Here is where my feelings get more complicated. Rescuers documented their entire rescue mission in a video, and in 21 photographs on their Facebook page. On the one hand, I feel delighted and honored to gaze upon my queen. On the other, I suspect that on the day I inevitably find myself wedged in a manhole, I will not want anyone to take pictures, or to document the incident in any form. That being said, here is the video (fast-forward to 2:30):
And here are the pictures of the triumphant day, including some of a small child wearing a fedora who drew a picture of the chubby rat. It’s pretty good.