A pet rat who overdosed on heroin is alive and well, thanks to some quick-thinking volunteers.
On Sunday, the rat, named Snuggles, accidentally ingested some heroin that was left on a table by her owner, a woman in Vancouver.
The woman brought a very sick Snuggles to an overdose prevention site in hopes of keeping the animal alive.
Melissa Patton was working at the Maple Overdose Prevention Site when the rat arrived at the facility.
“[The owner] said it had eaten some heroin off the table and had OD’d,” Patton told the CBC. “It had pretty much passed out and wasn’t really breathing.”
Patton said, at first, her team wasn’t sure what to do, because Snuggles was so much smaller than the typical patient.
“We weren’t sure what to do, so I gave it some Narcan orally. Because it was so tiny, I didn’t want to puncture anything by giving it an injection.”
Instead, they put the Narcan on the rat’s nose and she licked it off.
Patton, who is studying to be a pharmacist, also gave Snuggles some oxygen from a small can to help the rat retain brain function. She and other volunteers then gave Snuggles water with protein powder and held Snuggles during the ordeal.
“I know from NICUs that skin-to-skin contact is really important,” she told the Vancouver Sun.
Snuggles managed to make a full recovery by the next day, with a ravenous appetite.
“Right now she really seems to like Cheerios, bananas and strawberries,” Patton told the Canadian Press.
The experience seems to have affected Snuggles’ owner.
The day after Snuggles’ OD, Patton said the woman decided to go into detox treatment. Patton has since adopted Snuggles.