Oliver in a basket
Jasper's Brother
Therapy Rat, Read With Me
Therapy Career: 50 hours, 501 people visited, traveled ~696.8 miles for events

Oliver was a male Russian Blue Wheaten Burmese Dumbo Fancy Rat, a.k.a., a domesticated rat with grayish coloring and big ol' ears! He was born April 2016 in South Carolina and had a brother named Jasper

Oliver in a towel

Oliver really loved his work and was the chillest rat you will ever met. Head rubs, watermelon, corn, and the very rare mini cupcake were are all wonderful in his (tiny) book. 


Oliver and I were a registered therapy team with Pet Partners and Compassionate Paws from February 2017 to March 2018 and went to many colleges and public events. During our visits, we loved to educate others about rats and challenge the stigma that surrounds them.

Oliver the Therapy Rat

We lost Oliver as well as his brother Jasper in March of 2018 due to presumed organ failure and old age. His legacy lives on as we train another rat for therapy work.

Blog Post Features:

Why Jasper Can't be a Therapy Rat

Seizures are a terrible thing and I've only seen a handful in my life, but it is very rare in young rats. Jasper has had 3 seizure up to the time I am writing this post and hopefully he won't have anymore but you can never be sure with them since we don't know a cause. The first one was once he was settled at home, the second was at PetSmart HQ, and the third was just at home again....Read More

Rats, Rat Rods, and Romaine Lettuce

With fall approaching I am so ready to bring out Oliver to events to get him used to new smells and people. It has been too darn hot to do anything outside! (Once it gets into the upper 70's that's when they start to have problems.) I've been looking at local events on Facebook and came across a car show benefitting our favorite animal rescue, A.R.F. so of course we had to go...Read More

NAMIWalks Rome, Ga: Rats are Stigma Free

Woo! Fall hit us really quickly so we are getting out and using this cool weather wisely to help Oliver with new situations. This weekend we went to the NAMIWalk here in Rome, Ga. NAMI stands for National Alliance on Mental Illness and we decided not to walk since I am utterly exhausted from my new job, but Oliver was a hit!...Read More


Therapy Animal Workshop & a Trunk or Treat!

So a lot has happened in the past few weeks! Last week I completed the Pet Partners Therapy Animal Handler Workshop and just today I went to a Trunk or Treat with my fellow Compassionate Paws therapy teams...Read More

Walking for Suicide Awareness in the ATL

A few weeks ago we did a walk for suicide awareness with Out of the Darkness in Atlanta, Georgia. There was a TON of people with lots of loud noises so it was a great way to see how Oliver is doing with noises and such...Read More

Getting Your Therapy Rat's Health Checked for Evaluation

For Pet Partners, you need to have a certificate of health completed before you and your pet are able to be evaluated for therapy work. We went off to the vet for a wellness check!...Read More

We Passed: Official Therapy Rat Status Achieved!

Yes, that's right. Oliver and I are now an official Pet Partner team. Oliver is a therapy rat!...Read More

Oliver's First Official Therapy Visit

Oliver had his first official therapy visit today! We went to Berry College to de-stress some students for a couple of hours...Read More

What is a Therapy Rat?

So what exactly is a therapy rat? What do they do? Can you go anywhere you want with them?...Read More

Spring Break & St. PETrick's Day

March was a great month for us! We had another event at Berry College and also walked in a parade for St. PETrick's Day!...Read More

Jasper & Oliver's 1st Birthday!

Wow, it is so unbelievable that these two little boys I got in May 2016 are now a year old! Since rats only live a couple of years, we celebrated big!...Read More

A Fair Amount of Finals and Other Events

Let's see, April and May have been very busy for little ol' Oliver. We've had 6 therapy events totaling a little over 10 hours! Most were de-stressing at colleges for students, but we had some great public events as well...Read More

BlogPaws Nose-to-Nose 2017 Award Finalist

Yes, you read that right! We are a finalist for a major award by BlogPaws! Don't know what BlogPaws is? BlogPaws is the hub of all pet bloggers. A place to be educated and learn from other bloggers nationwide, a physical conference to attend every year, and even a place to find influencer opportunities. This is the highest achievement for a pet blogger and we are truly humbled!...Read More

BlogPaws 2017: Myrtle Beach Has Gone to the Rats

It has been a whole month since BlogPaws passed and we had a blast!...Read More

Spending the Summer at Church

This summer, Oliver and I spend most of our volunteer hours at a local church interacting with children and adults!...Read More

Back at Berry - Viking Venture & Involvement Fair

Last month, we got back in the hang of things by going back to our favorite place ever: Berry College! It's not just my favorite place because I am an alumnus, but Oliver loves his Berry kids too!...Read More

Life of a Therapy Rat: Fall 2017

It has been a busy couple of months! Let's get down to business and show you what we have been up to!...Read More

Saying Goodbye to Oliver & Jasper

This isn't a blog post I wanted to make anytime soon, but Jasper and Oliver have passed away. It has been a tough couple of weeks...Read More

Oliver's Last Couple of Visits

Let's see, the last visit we talked about was back in October! Let's celebrate the rest of Oliver's work by sharing photos since our November visits...Read More

Spring 2018: Nominations & Road Trips

We have had a very productive Spring! Get comfortable because this is going to be a long post...Read More

Fall 2019: Berry, Blessings, & Dallas, De-Stressings

It's been almost two years since I updated our blog since life has gotten so busy. I finally got a break so it is time for a proper update!...Read More

2020: Cancer & Causes, Passings & Pride

2020 was really something! For most of all of 2020, I was working part-time and then full-time so we were less involved with things, but here is everything that happened in the world of Healing Whiskers during 2020...Read More

Spring & Summer 2021: Summer Reading & Second Chances

With 2020 behind us, let's get into 2021...I started working full-time in 2021 so I wasn't able to do much in the early months, but let's see what we have accomplished so far...Read More

Awards, Press, and Mentions:

Dog's rule the day at St. PETrick's Parade - WRGA
March 18, 2017
Photo taken by David Crowder

Dog's rule the day at St. PETrick's Parade - WRGA
March 18, 2017

Nose-to-Nose Best Unconventional Pet Blog Finalist - BlogPaws
May 18-20, 2017

Meet Healing Whiskers Worldwide Rat Bloggers - DashKitten.com
May 9, 2017

Graphic by DashKitten

More than a good meal - Rome News Tribune
June 19, 2017

Oliver, a pet therapy rat, brings smiles to people - BJBangs.net
June 19, 2017
Photo taken by BJ Bangs

Support grows for dog park plans - Rome News Tribune
October 22, 2017
Photo taken by Diane Wagner

Healing Whiskers: Life of a Therapy Rat - KingsRiverLife.com
December 2, 2017

The Rome Council of Volunteer Administrators (COVA) Volunteer of the Year Nominee
April 17, 2018
Abby Chesnut and Oliver COVA Volunteer of the Year Nominee

Healing Whiskers - Rat Life Magazine
June 2018

Q&A with Abby Chesnut of Healing Whiskers - It's a Rat's World Magazine
October 2018

The Dog in The Dentist Chair: And other true stories of animals who help, comfort, and love kids
January 24, 2019
The Dog in the Dentist Chair by Peggy Frezon

"More Than Dogs" Pet Partners Interactions Magazine Spring 2019
April 14, 2019

"Blind Cats, Loving Llamas, and Happy Horses Prove Any Animal with a Heart Can Be a Therapy Pet" People Pets
April 30, 2019

"Compassionate Paws: Therapy with Fur" -Northwest Georgia Living Fall 2019 Issue
August 27, 2019

"A Small Bundle of Love" Featured Teams -PetPartners.com
September 2019

I Never Expected... - PBS American Portrait Submission
December 4, 2020

Tails and Tales Adult Reading Program - Sara Hightower Regional Library System
March 2021

Tails and Tales Kids Virtual Summer Reading Program - Sara Hightower Regional Library System
June 2021