The well-being of one sewer rat in the world might not amount to much for some people, but it means everything to him.
Fortunately for this plump urban rodent who got into a rather uncomfortable sort of predicament, he found a few kind people who agree that his life is worth saving.
On Sunday, animal rescuers from Germany's Berufstierrettung Rhein Neckar received a call from a concerned family who'd spotted the chubby rat trapped in the hole of a sewage drain cover.
Evidently, he'd packed on a bit too much weight to squeeze himself out through the opening — and, at that moment, was caught in a futile struggle to wiggle himself free.
The rat's desperation was pretty apparent. But he wasn't without help for long.
Soon, volunteers from the rescue group were on the scene, noting that the rat, aside from being stuck, was healthy.
"He was in a really good condition," Andreas Steinbach, spokesperson for Berufstierrettung Rhein Neckar, told The Dodo.
But the rat's ample figure was such that the rescuers were unable to get him through the hole with the equipment they had on hand. He was just too tightly corked.
This rodent rescue would take some specialized backup.
"We weren't able to rescue the rat alone," Steinbach said. "So we called the volunteer firefighters."
And sure enough, they took the situation seriously, too.
Rather than try to yank the rat out through the hole the way he'd been heading, risking injuring the little guy, firefighters took a different approach.
They lifted the sewer cover up to pull him back out through the bottom.
It was a sweet team effort — an act of compassion all for the sake of a rat.
Thankfully, it worked.
The chubby rat was freed — released, after a quick assessment, back into the sewer system he calls home.
Before disappearing, however, he seemed to send a message to those who'd come to save him: "He made a brief look back at us, as if to say, 'Thank you — and yes, I know I need to go on a diet,'" Steinbach said.
But the rodent wasn't the only thankful one that day.
Following the successful rescue, those there to help were greeted by two children from the family who'd placed the call to save the rat's life.
It was their kind spirits that got the whole thing started — and they came with a picture they'd drawn to express their appreciation to those who'd heeded their call.
To some, their efforts to save a lowly rat might have seemed wasted — but not to Steinbach and the other volunteers who changed everything for the better.
"We make no difference about what kind of animal needs help. We are in animal rescue, not in pest control," Steinbach said, adding that reaction to the rescue has been mixed, though mostly encouraging. "We got some bad messages from people saying that rats are pests, but we got many more good messages and thanks from a lot of people."
Fortunately, in this case, goodness won the day.