We don't report a lot of feel-good stories about rats - for, ahem, obvious reasons - but this one couldn't be passed up.

Last week, animal control officials in Thurston County, Wash., searched the home of a 64-year-old woman and found that her pet rats had "ruined the house, chewing through walls, cupboards, drawers and wires, soaking carpets with urine and covering floors with feces," according to the newspaper The Olympian. "The officials removed a cat, four severely malnourished snakes, five mice and two rats."

Believe it or not, that's not what piqued our interest; after all, the floors and ceilings of Today In Mice HQ ain't exactly spotless. Rather, we were intrigued by the role of RatsPacNW, a "Rat Fanciers' Club" whose members stepped in to save the little critters from a certain poison death. Rodent enthusiasts comprise a "huge rat community" around Washington state, said the group's spokeswoman, Hilary Price, and as of last Thursday, the group had captured 29 live rats, including 10 pups. What's the attraction to rats, you ask?

"They're very smart, they're very clean, they can do tricks," Price said. "They're like little miniature dogs."

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