Louisville Magazine

DEC 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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actinggainstcancer.com LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 12.18 29 River City Rodents often swoops in, as LMAS isn't equipped to handle rodents. "Rodents are disposable pets in most peo- ple's minds. •ey're used to feed birds and snakes. You can go pick one up for $7 at the pet store," Tom says. "•ey'll use it to entertain their kid for a bit then let it go." Don't make me feel sorry for them, Tom! And, yes: At one time, the Flahertys sheltered 400 rodents, all of them caged and separated by gender. "•ey're very proliferous. •ey'll bite through a cage and mate through bars," Tom explains. "So I renovated the basement to make a male room and female room." •e Flahertys have installed hospital-grade air filters to cut down on germs spreading — "One rat getting the sniffles can spread to the other real quick," he says — and installed a special water-filtration system. He spends entire weekends cleaning cages, and it takes about two hours every night to feed and water the lot, now down to about 130. (•ey also have six dogs.) "It gets a little overwhelming with two people running the place," Tom says. "So we're trying to cut back. But we love it." •ey love it. Even after spending $17,000 at one vet last year and this year paying for surgery to repair Honey's vag- inal prolapse. All of it their own money. River City Rodents is not a nonprofit. He and his wife have good jobs — Michelle at Humana, Tom at Dell EMC as a service account manager. Tom often works from home, rat on his shoulder while he's typ- ing away on his laptop or talking on the phone. I ask what his co-workers think. "•eir reaction is kind of like yours," he says (i.e., shock and a tremble or two). "Our house is basically a stink factory. We don't entertain as much as we used to." •e Flahertys try to match their rescued animals with fellow rodent lovers. A hamster may end up as a classroom pet. "•ey're not gross. Everybody thinks they're gross, especially the rats because of their tails," Tom says. I once found a rat floating in my toilet! "•at's a stereotype. Not all rats are vermin," he says. "•ey're cool kids. If you start holding them, after a bit, you'll like them." Pass. But thank you for your service, Michelle and Tom. Resve yr space in the nt issue of Lisville Bride publishing Januy 2019. For more info email advertising@loumag.com or call 625-0100.

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