And here we are, living just outside Sedona, AZ, one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

If you’ve never been to Northern Arizona, you are missing a serious national treasure. Sure, the Grand Canyon is breathtaking, but there is just so much more to explore in this virtually empty end of the state. I consider myself one of the luckiest pet owners in America, in that the route to my vet’s office now takes me through a beautiful barren desert scrub and forested landscape of hills, plateaus and table mountains, and volcanic remnants on a winding two-lane highway that any automobile TV commercial director would kill to use as a filming location. It’s just a breathtaking vista and so calming. I can feel my blood pressure dropping as I drive along.

And speaking of veterinarians, if you need a rat vet anywhere in the Sedona or Flagstaff area, I would highly recommend Dr. Rachel Jarvis at Bell Rock Veterinary Clinic in Sedona. She runs an old-fashioned one vet practice, and she is willing to accept drop-off appointments, make house calls if necessary, or see your pet at odd hours in an emergency–services almost unheard of in today’s veterinary practice. And she’s up to the minute on exotics and small pet practice. She also treats herps, which is awesome for those of us who also have snakes and lizards and so forth. Now, I just wish she’d agree to see my koi!

Anyway, I was in to see her today because, as the “big girls” dorm advisor, I’ve moved into a new dorm apartment at the ranch school where I’m working, and the room is a lot breezier than my last little space. All of the girls have the sniffles, and Camellia has rales in her chest pretty significantly. I’ve been treating with Baytril, but I’ve decided to go back on doxycycline medicine balls, a daily medical supplement I moved away from when doxycycline got so ridiculously expensive. It’s down to a reasonable price again, so we’re back in the Doxie peanut butter ball business!

Nothing sadder than rats with the sniffles, since they use their sense of smell so much to get around in this life. Honestly, I’m pretty sure Camellia is blind, or nearly so, and always has been. You wouldn’t know it by looking at her, but I see her using her ears to triangulate my location as she follows me around the room rather than tracking me visually. I’ve only ever seen that head motion in blind rats. Doesn’t bother her a bit, though.