Rat-A-Rama 2010 

Rats have gotten a bad rap over the years. There was that whole Black Death thing. And the digging through your trash/stealing your cheese thing. Not to mention, the scurrying rodent has inspired a litany of negative idioms in the English language: "rat someone out," "rat race," "smell a rat," "don't give a rat's ass," "look like a drowned rat." And, possibly worst of all, rats influenced one of the worst hairstyles in history: the rattail.

But movies like Disney's Ratatouille--the story of a rat chef working in a high-end Parisian kitchen--and organizations like RatsPacNW, a Northwest "fancy rat" club encompassing Idaho, Washington, Oregon and British Columbia, are helping to clean up the rat's gutter-glistening image.

On Saturday, June 26, at the Idaho Humane Society Education Room, RatsPacNW will gather aristoc-rats from far and wide to compete at the seventh annual Rat-A-Rama. The event will include a standards show, pet classes, rat varieties on display, information on care and prizes awarded in categories like "best costume," "longest tail" and "prettiest." For those who are inspired by the all the rad rats, you can take home your own "highly socialized, adorable pet," either from a breeder or a rat rescue shelter.

Saturday, June 26, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., $3 adults, $1.50 children, Idaho Humane Society Education Room, 4775 W. Dorman St., 208-761-5071, ratspacnw.org.

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