Stephanie Costain started PEI's Rat Haven after she adopted her first rat a year ago as a place for pet rats that are surrendered — or otherwise in need of a new home.

"I really liked him, found out that he needed a friend, started doing research and they're like little puppy dogs, basically," said Costain of her first rat. "It just kind of blew up from there."

Today, Costain currently has 12 rats in her care and said she won't stop there.

'Not scary at all'

"They're great companion animals. They're affectionate, they're lovable. I've never been aggressively bitten by any rat I've taken in. They're just completely adorable," she said.

Rat Haven

Stephanie Costain holds Phoenix, one of the 12 rats she's currently caring for. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

As part of the haven, Costain fosters or adopts out rats, and help them get medical attention if necessary.

"Unfortunately they do have a short life span. They have very, very sensitive respiratory systems so you've got to be careful," said Costain. "They're pretty expensive for medical funds." 

'They're extremely intelligent and not scary at all'

Costain has started an online fundraiser to help with the medical costs associated with rescued rats.

Ultimately, she hopes to change the way people view rats.

Rat Haven

Costain's ultimate goal is to change the way people view rats. (Nicole Williams/CBC)

"They're not the dirty, disgusting creatures that remind you of the black plague. They're cute and can be funny at times, and they're extremely intelligent and not scary at all."