Local breeders’ P.R. for unlikely pets

Lynn Rosskamp has a room full of rats in her home—80 to be exact—and she can tell each of them apart. This horrifies me. But Lynn swells with pride when she talks about her critters. “If you like dogs, you’ll like rats,” she assures me. “There’s this conception that rats are these red-eyed monsters scuttling out of allies, but they’re actually very loyal and affectionate. They really appreciate spending time with people.” Lynn and breeders from all over the Pacific Northwest will try to prove just that at the Sixth Annual Ratapalooza!, an educational fair that promotes rats as pets through various events, including a fashion show and pea-eating contest. Upon hearing this, I begin snickering and Lynn must sense my skepticism, as she sighs and says, “Once you meet a rat, you’ll change your mind.”

Sat., Nov. 3, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., 2007

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