Last summer, dozens of white albino rats mysteriously turned up, clearly abandoned, on an elevated patch of grass right next to Manhattan’s West Side Highway near 12th Avenue and 57th Street. Being that white albino rats are bred as domestic animals, the rats were not equipped with the survival skills to last outside in the city. Surely, they would have all met their demise had it not been for the quick thinking of many rescuers who jumped in to save as many as they could.
Three of those rats, all around five weeks old, were soon adopted by animal trainer Lydia DesRoche, who named them Rose, Blanche and Dorothy after The Golden Girls. But it was Rose (just like Betty White) who quickly became the stand out star, and when DesRoche coincidentally needed to replace a trained rat in the Broadway production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time she was working on, she knew Rose would be perfect.
Unfortunately, just four days after making her big Broadway debut, tragedy struck. Rose was killed by a metal door that came off its hinges and landed on her while she was playing on a shelf. She was just eight-months-old.
“It was just a horrible freak accident,” said trainer Lydia DesRoche, who noted that Rose was just coming into her own on the stage.
The role in the play required the rat to pop out of its cage and give lead character Christopher a kiss, something Rose had almost mastered. “She was really getting into the kiss,” Ms. DesRoche said. “She was just starting to open up.”
Rose had been described as a “feisty, agile, fearless precocious rat [who] loved adventure.” You can read more about her short, yet inspirational life in this New York Times profile published shortly before her passing.