Cooper was terrified of all animals before his mum got him two baby rats

Cooper, Ratty and Remy's story is part of a series on Hawkesbury people and their pets, featuring the work of Gazette and Courier photographer, Geoff Jones.

SIX-year-old Cooper used to be scared of animals until Ratty and Remy came to live with him and his family at North Richmond.

His mum Nicolle had never thought she'd allow rodents as pets in her home, but Cooper took to the two rats so well that Nicolle is now a fan of the animals for life.

Best mates: Six-year-old Cooper with his two rats, Remy the food-lover in the foreground, and Ratty the snuggler on his shoulder. Picture: Geoff Jones

Best mates: Six-year-old Cooper with his two rats, Remy the food-lover in the foreground, and Ratty the snuggler on his shoulder. Picture: Geoff Jones

"I have been working in a pet shop for 14 years and was always insistent that my kids were never having filthy rats," Nicolle said.

"Prior to getting the rats, Cooper was terrified of all animals. He was terrified of dogs even though he grew up around them, he was scared of touching cats, guinea pigs and rabbits, but now he's super confident with all animals."

Cooper often visits his mum at work at The Market Pet Shop in North Richmond, and these days he is happy around all animals. Nicolle reckons it's because of Ratty and Remy.

"I think it was because they were so small when we got them - not much bigger than mice - and much more manageable for him. They were his responsibility, too - I said if you get them, you've got to look after them."

Prior to getting the rats, Cooper was terrified of all animals ... but now he's super confident with all animals.

Cooper's mum, Nicolle

Both Cooper's rats are female, and almost two years old. Nicolle said they have distinct personalities.

"Remy is quite outgoing and adventurous, and a bit cheeky. Ratty is really people-orientated - she's much more happy to sit with Cooper, she's much more loving," Nicolle said.

Remy, the more adventurous of the two, is also very "food orientated", said Nicolle.

"She looks like a guinea pig with a tail!" she laughed.

Nicolle said both Ratty and Remy are definitely Cooper's rats. When they see his little sister, five-year-old Georgia, they hide! They've also been known to nip mum Nicolle - but never Cooper.

Six-year-old Cooper, with Remy and Ratty, his beloved pet rats. Picture: Geoff Jones

Six-year-old Cooper, with Remy and Ratty, his beloved pet rats. Picture: Geoff Jones

"I've changed my tune - rats make great pets," Nicolle said.

"Now we've got three dogs, two birds, and a pony, and Cooper is much better with all of them. The rats really gave him confidence."

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