A wrinkly, ratty Santa

It was a strange Christmas kiss. Actually, it was a lick — from a hairless rat in a Santa suit.

It was a strange Christmas kiss.

Actually, it was a lick — from a hairless rat in a Santa suit.

He even had a red felt cap with white trim on his wrinkly bald head.

Rufus didn’t seem to mind the Christmas get-up at all.

In fact, he played the part perfectly.

Sitting on 12-year-old Rebecca Dunstan’s knee, he gave a little wink.

And there was a trademark Santa twinkle in his coal-black eyes.

The suit was more of a red felt cloak, with a gold belt that attached under Rufus’s pale, creased belly.

“One of my mom’s clients made it for him,” said Rebecca, whose mom styles hair at Kutters.

“It’ll be his first Christmas,” she added, rubbing his soft cheek.

Sadly, Rufus will only live for two of them, if he’s lucky.

“They die after two years,” said Rebecca.

“Usually from cancer.”

Before Rufus, the Dunstans’ only pets were fish.

“My sister Ellysse is allergic to pet hair and saliva,” said Rebecca.

“We tried all breeds of dogs that were supposed to be non-allergenic, but she reacted to them all.”

Then, one day, Rebecca’s mom was in Duffy’s buying fish food.

“They said, ‘Have you tried one of these?’” said Rebecca.

“And she said, ‘What is it?’”

It was Rufus.

Naked.

“He has no hair and no saliva,” said Rebecca.

“So he has to drink lots of water.”

Duffy’s originally brought the rats in for a local woman suffering arthritis, said Rebecca.

“Their body temperature is 104 degrees,” she said.

“And the woman keeps them on her shoulders.”

It sounds a little weird — but whatever works.

With a feverish body temperature, Rufus must have been roasting in his cozy suit.

Maybe that’s why he looked so sleepy.

But when Rebecca offered him cheese, he perked right up.

“He runs all over the house,” she said.

“He was potty-trained in four days, and house trained in seven.”

He only goes to the bathroom in his dish, she said.

Is it easy to potty-train a rat?

“He actually pot-trained us,” said Rebecca.

“He refused to go in his cage until we put the dish in there for him.”

Rufus eats veggies, fruit and dog food.

“And he’s crazy about popcorn,” said eight-year-old Ellysse.

“But he can’t eat butter or salt — it gives him a shorter life,” added Rebecca.

That probably means all the cookies and eggnog on Christmas Eve won’t be good for this Santa either.

But then, rats are hardy.

Even when they’re hairless.

Just Posted

City of Whitehorse tells taxi passengers who feel unsafe to not travel alone

Suggestion criticized by advocates for placing burden of safety on passengers, not taxi companies

Whitehorse’s new emergency room slated to open in early January

40,000-square-foot building will be more efficient, officials say

Judge finds Whitehorse man not guilty of raping teen in 2015 after second trial

Judge Raymond Wyant found Jackie James Kodwat not guilty of sexual assault.

Whitehorse’s sidewalks are a deathtrap

In the interest of safety and simplicity, the city should just plow the sidewalks

Police, coroner investigating suspicious death in Pelly Crossing

Investigators have ordered an autopsy, which will take place in Vancouver Dec. 18

Two Yukon projects shortlisted for the Arctic Inspiration Prize

Projects from Whitehorse, Carcross up for cash

Lower Post, B.C., man suing Yukon RCMP over assault allegation

Suit alleges man ended up with ‘ended up with bruising on his arms, biceps and chest’

Yukon needs a better plan for long-term care

The government can find solutions if it has the will. Does it have the will?

Hard travel over the Yukon’s winter trails

The overland trip to Dawson City today is a cakewalk compared to a century ago

Globalization infiltrates the Yukon’s recycling bins

You’re going to have to do a better job sorting your junk or else China won’t take it

Driving during the holidays

It’s hectic on the roads at Christmastime

Whitehorse council chambers needs new audio-visual equipment

‘More than 10 people’ watch city’s televised meetings

Most Read