My name is Mariah, and my soul mate is a rat named Frankie. It’s the greatest privilege of mine to have founded Frankie’s World, which came to be as a result of a very unique rat, and her special bond with me. The foundation of Frankie’s World is the story of Frankie and I, which feels too hard to put into words, but you’ll get the gist.
Frankie is my best friend, my soul mate, my other half. Our connection is the deepest bond I’ve ever known and likely will ever know. Our feelings towards each other were the definition of unconditional love, but it felt even more than that, like it was impossible to feel more love than I felt for her. It was too good to be true, but it wasn’t. You know when people usually talk about loving their spouses, children, parents, best friends unconditionally, it means that you’ll always be there for them, love them even when you hate them, but they still drive you nuts fairly often, etc ect. With Frankie and I, it was that, but only the love part. I never felt anything but positive things for her. I loved absolutely everything about her, she never felt like a bother or a burden in any way. It was my absolute pleasure to see her and be with her no matter if it was at 5am when she’d woken me up, after a long day when I felt like I had nothing left, or in the middle of the night as I checked on her at times when I was worried about her health. It never bothered me to clean her cage or her room, to give up much of my social life because she needed medications twice a day for her whole life, to not be able to go on vacation, to drop everything every day at 6pm because it was “Frankie Time”. My life revolved around her, and some said it was too much, unhealthy…but I knew it wasn’t. We were meant to be together, and I vowed to spend as much of her far too short life with her as I possibly could. I’d have the whole rest of my life to do non-Frankie things.
Since I was young I’ve always wanted to work with animals in some capacity, and over the years I knew I wanted it to be in the form of a rescue or sanctuary. Thanks to Frankie, this dream came true.
At first it was me, my sister Celina, Frankie, and her sister Phoebe. It’s a tradition of ours to honour the life of an animal who has passed, by rescuing another. The week prior, we had lost our beloved mouse Harry. We weren’t ready to have more mice yet, but had heard that rats make good companions, so we searched for some in need of a home. Frankie and Phoebe jumped out at me immediately amongst the few groups I found. I bonded right away with both of them, falling in love with rats, but had a particular affinity to Frankie. She was pink with scraggly fur patches mixed with bald patches, and a broken arm. I always seem to be partial to the “weird” , quirky, under appreciated critters rather than the “classic” looking, stereotypically cute ones. Frankie was my weird and wonderful girl, and in my eyes, the most adorable and beautiful creature that I’ve ever met.
A couple months later, Celina moved to England and that made me a single rat mamma. A few months after that, Phoebe died tragically related to an anesthetic complication during an attempted urgent exploratory surgery. That left me and Frankie, and that was really the turning point for when our bond continued to deepen even further, to the point where there was no me without Frankie, and no Frankie without me. From that day on I didn’t spend a single day or night without her, and we spent just about every single one of her waking hours together. She had adapted to my schedule, waking in the morning and playing for a couple hours, going to sleep around the time I’d leave for work. Then she’d wake up around dinner time and play until 8 or 9pm when she’d tuck herself in for the night. Rats are usually nocturnal, but not Frankie. Frankie was her own creature, far more human in essence and behaviour than any animal I’ve ever known. I was her person, she was mine, and ours lives adapted to one another’s.
All of the love she brought and shared with me, and how wonderful our life was together after such a rough start for her, had me feeling that I NEEDED to do more. It was time to do more for others like her. She inspired me to finally take the steps towards starting a shelter/rescue. I tried to channel all my grief after having lost her, into building something amazing in her honour. I know she’d be proud of what I’ve started, and I work hard everyday to make sure I always do the best I can for the rodents in my care.
On the anniversary of the day my sister Celina and I adopted her, I officially founded the non-profit, named Frankie’s World, in her honour. The story behind the name is that we called Frankie’s room, “Frankie’s World”. She had the whole room to herself, with my bed on the floor in the corner, but she was always free to roam about, cage open, complete freedom. She had all the tunnels and toys and blanket forts she could have ever wanted, and more. The world that I created for Frankie, is the feeling and drive behind the rescue, wanting to create as close to that same level of freedom and joy for as many other rats as I can.
My mission is to lead by example, sharing the wonders of rats with the world, rescuing as many as I can, and helping to change the common misperceptions of rats. I plan to dedicate much of my life to the unwanted, the under appreciated, the misunderstood, the weird, the quirky.
I’ve been overwhelmed with happiness at how well received Frankie’s World has been so far, and the amazing community of friends and supporters we’ve gained. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us and our rattaroos, but whatever that is, whatever I do, I will do it always with her in mind, heart, and spirit ❤️.
I have always grown up around animals. We had both rescue dogs and cats growing up along with other critters like fish, frogs, lizards, turtles, bunnies and hamsters. Life with animals around is always so much better than without!
Rats came into my life about 3 years ago. My sister Mariah and I had rescued 4 mice from an animal testing lab and fell in love with rodents! Unfortunately, they all passed due to tumours or complications from their lives as test subjects. After being a parent of rodents and seeing how mistreated and misunderstood rodents are, we wanted to give more of them the life they deserve. That’s when Mariah found Frankie and Phoebe.
The first day Frankie and Phoebe came into our home, I was a bit nervous that I would scare them or hurt them picking them up but got over that pretty quick when they started using us as jungle gyms! It’s like they knew right away that we were there to help them. They weren’t scared of us at all! From there on out, we spent most days playing with our girls or waiting for them to wake up so we could play with them more!
After the untimely and devastating passing of our girls, I got a call from Mariah telling me about all the rats that she had found that needed a home. It’s been a tradition in the past that with the passing of one friend comes a home for a new one and this was no exception. Within a few weeks, her house was full of new rat residents who were all neglected or unwanted in some way and now had a place to call their forever home. When I met them all for the first time, I instantly fell in love with everyone! That’s no lie! They all have their own unique personalities and it’s been an awesome gift getting to know each of them and seeing how much they love their lives and their moms. When you walk into the room, instantly there’s over a dozen little ones wanting their mama cuddle time!
When Mariah started Frankies World, it was no question that I would want to be involved. Rats and other rodents are all extremely misunderstood and it is tragic that people choose to go along with stereotypes and not see them for the amazing creatures they are. I hope that with Frankies World Rat Rescue, we can show everyone how cute, smart, clean, affectionate and worthy of an amazing life they are and start to break down those stereotypes to make rats more lovable in the general publics eye.
Coming Soon! Steffi has yet to provide me with her bio, so for now we'll share the one-liner she gave when I asked her for one:
"I MARRIED INTO THIS!"
She was joking, she loves rats and now has rat tattoo to prove it ;)
Elena has always had an intense passion for rescuing and animal welfare. She started volunteering at her local SPCA early on in her life and has always had a special interest in the misunderstood misfits... the ratties. Her favourite memories at the SPCA involve being covered in baby rats! Earlier this year Elena became a foster mom for us, but she soon realized just how many rats needed help in her area. She started doing her own rescuing, relying on us (Frankie's World) and Teeny Snoots for mentorship... it soon spiralled and she has adopted out 29 rats and rescued over 60 rats in just 3 short months! Elena started her own rescue in Burlington in the hopes of helping more little lives (Tiny Misfits Rat Rescue)... but after some conversations it became apparent that the best way to help as many rats as possible was to merge efforts and have Elena become our 2nd location for Frankie's World!
We are so excited to have Elena joining the team! She will be helping to rescue and rehome rats in the GTA and is based in Burlington! She also has a few resident rats at her location that are on our website to be sponsored! Welcome to the Frankie's World Family Elena!