As you probably know by now, Bandit the little guy pictured above died earlier this month. He was almost 4 years old and that's pretty old for a rat. The average life span for a rat is 2-3 years. So we knew that his time was probably nearing but it doesn't make it any easier.
No matter what type of pet you have, you have to think about what your going to do after a pet dies. What will you do with the body? Ect..
I have a credit card that I keep just for pet emergencies and thankfully, have only had to use it one time when I had to take my pet hamster in to be euthanized. Most of my animals have passed away at home but if you have a pet euthanized at a vet's office you can either have them cremated and have their ashes put in a small box or urn or you can bring them home and bury them yourself. That's what we usually do. I have rats and hamsters buried up in the mountains, at parks, in my apartment complex's yard and one little dwarf hamster is buried right in front of my apartment door.
When my mom's dog passed away a few years ago, I found a mobile pet service that came out the same day and picked her dog up, cremated him and brought him back in a little box. When my mom passed away I put the box in the coffin with her because I thought she would have wanted him with her.
When one of my rats passes away and they have cage mates, I let the cage mate sniff the body because I think rats are very smart animals and know when one of their cage mates is sick or is gone so I let them say goodbye.
If you want to keep a little bit of your pet with you, there are lockets and jewelry that you can buy that hold little bits of ashes or hair from your pet that you can wear as a necklace or bracelet. I haven't personally done this but I can see how that would help keep your pets memories alive and feel closer to them.
I realize this isn't something you want to think about, but it is something that pet owner's should know.