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|Launch date||June 26, 2006|
Doc Rat is a PG-rated webcomic about an Australian general practice run by a rat, treating a varied cast of anthropomorphic animals. It began on the 26th of June, 2006, and it is drawn by "Jenner", a full-time doctor.
History and premise
The character of Doc Rat has appeared in various publications, both medical and non-medical, since the mid-1990s. The comic strip is set in the suburbs of a major Australian city; judging by some of the current events referenced (particularly, patients affected by the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009), it is most likely analogous to Melbourne.
Presently, several compilations (treasuries) of Doc Rat are available for sale, both online through the comic website, and at the Minotaur comic book store in Melbourne. Jenner did make an appearance at Anthrocon 2010, where he did debut the fifth treasury. The treasuries come out more often than once a year.
The comic started off with mostly puns and has changed over time to more dramatic story arcs. It still sparkles with Jenner's creativity. Doc Rat is linked to the Cross Time Forum.
- Dr Benjamin Rat M.B.,B.S. D.R.A.N.Z.C.O.G. F.R.A.C.G.P.
Ben is a thirty-something, Australian general practitioner rat, battling the odds to run a solo practice in the suburb of Templeton, in the city of Fornor, state of Flora. After setting up shop eight years ago, prepared to do what it took to succeed against the long hours, on-call work, endless red tape and local competition from the nearby medical centre, he continues to fight to stay afloat.
An experiment with a very entrepreneurial practice manager, Charmane Prideaux, didn’t solve the problem - she was a hungry lioness, and even now she’d gone, Ben’s accountant is still finding the leftover bones.
For the moment, though, Ben remains good-natured and conscientious, carrying out a professional job to the best of his ability. He tries to make people better. He also gives money to street buskers and is kind to pets. After a fraught and adventurous romance, he married Daniella Hood, his tae kwon do instructor and dentist. The two rats are now just settling down into married life together. (Although this is not forgetting he has an ex-wife and daughter somewhere in America.)
- Dr Daniella Hood-Rat (B.D.S.)
Daniella - Danni (or Daz to her closest friends) - is a rat dentist in the Sullivan Street Dental Clinic, and also a lecturer at the Bluegum College, several suburbs across town. She’s an instructor in tae kwon do, with a black belt third dan. The discipline she cultivated in this quest helped her through the rocky times of rebellion against a family unaccepting of her decision to be a single professional woman.
Her checkered past includes a jilted romance with a rabbit, Russell, which left her with a certain bitterness against the insular values of tight-knit rabbit society. But after treading a long road of independence, against all the odds, she fell in love with the gentle, funny and far-from-dynamic Ben. Now, they are husband and wife. She has a very nosy and obnoxious family.
- Gizelle Thompson, a Thompson's gazelle.
Zell has been working as the receptionist at Doc Rat's medical practice since its beginning, eight years ago. Through the hardest of times, she's stuck by him loyally, with devotion and a fiercely short temper. And while she can sometimes be a touch over-protective, she always tries to shield Ben from the slings and arrows of outrageous patients. And creditors. And lawyers. While trying to keep him on-time with his appointments and up-to-date with his paperwork (did I mention the short temper?) Gizelle is married to Gazza and has no children.
- Mary Scamper (qualifications), a rabbit
If you need a good, straightforward, uncomplicated nurse, there's no one better than Mary. Her open and trusting nature is a great asset when folk in need are looking for comfort. She runs the treatment room with order and discipline. Mary is particularly good with children - but as a rabbit, she'd have to be. Above all, as a nurse and a valuable part of the team, she really knows her stuff. She is an elder in her rabbit community and gives private relationship counselling in Secret Bunny Business. Mary and her husband Tom have six children, all of whom have left the burrow.
- Phil Krubnuckle (qualifications), a gorilla
Phil, the local pharmacist, is the proud owner of a successful small business that has been in operation for forty years. He didn't get where he is today without a very sharp sense of commerce. His memory can reach back to the good old days when he would turn a good living by mixing up squill of oxymel, until no-one could remember what it was used for (and then for about a year after that.) On the down side, he has stuck with his well-worn professional sales pitch for so long that he could be accused of being behind the times. But then, no one accuses a gorilla of anything. Phil loves fishing and playing jazz saxophone, but otherwise, his private life is his own. Any argument?
- Wilbur Fuzz, a bear of some kind
Ever the prankster, Wilbur puts a cheerful face on his diabetes and heart disease, despite having already died once (in the doctor‘s waiting room - now, there’s a story). Some people may tire of his endless stream of bad jokes. But many people hopes he succeeds in his romantic quest to find the woman of his dreams before it’s too late. And novelty t-shirts aren’t helping his pulling power.
- A koala, and a frequent patient, very sarcastic and likes to pull pranks on staff and fellow patients;
recently suffered a heart attack, and was saved by Ben and Mary. Recently discovered he has diabetes.
- Melanie Hyde, a rhinoceros
Mel has been Daniella’s best friend since they met at tae kwon do, some years ago. Once this woman has made up her mind, she is unstoppable - if you get in her way, you’re history. She has a boyfriend, Max Horne. Before Daniella married Ben, Melanie was also Daniella's roommate.
- Siobhan Seamróg, a shrew
Daniella’s dental receptionist and unofficial liaison between the two practices.
- Jack Rat, a rat
Jack is Ben’s brother. He’s a lawyer, and after his divorce, he decided to go into divorce law. He and Ben have had their differences in the past, but his help with Ben’s search for his estranged wife brought them back together.
- Winston Rat, a rat
Winston is Ben’s father. The extent of Winston’s dementia became apparent when his wife Lizzie died of breast cancer, eight years ago. He now lives in a nursing home, and Ben visits him every Sunday. Had a rare moment of clarity when he met Daniella.
- Daniella’s family, the Hoods, rats every one of them
Dear, oh dear, do we have to deal with them? A father, mother, two sisters, two brothers-in-law, a brother and a sister-in-law. All older than she is. That’s it. Now rack off.
- Julian Sands, a camel (No relation to the English actor.)
Julian is a distinguished and respectable gentleman who spent much of his life in Africa. Sadly, his first partner, Jan, died there of an infectious illness in the prime of his life. Recently, Julian managed to put his lingering grief behind him and find a new partner, and so he now happily lives with Kenneth Roads. His major injuries in a mugging were successfully treated by Ben, Mary and Daniella.
- Kenneth Roads, a Thomson’s gazelle
Julian’s vibrant and funky lifemate.
- Pat O’Kake, an Irish setter
Also known as Pat the Dog. He’s a well-manicured executive. He studied a couple of years of law before changing to a degree in business and information technology. He has done very well for himself in the IT field, particularly with the lucrative on-line portion of the Florists of the Night franchise, owned by his partner, Pat the Tiger. Loves the finest things in life - drives a deep red Lotus Elise. Some would call him driven. Occasionally nosy, he is known and used for his keen sense of smell.
- Ravi Patel, a tiger (No relation to the American actor.)
Also known as Pat the Tiger. A deceptively sensitive tiger. Rides a black and yellow Ducati Monster 1100. Lives with Pat the Dog.
- Flopsy Jaegermond (secretly Jaegermond é Lockley), a wolf
Fangripp Jaegermond is a gentle wolf who, after a lifetime of taunts and ridicule from his own kind, began to feel an increasing affinity for - not to mention a fascination with - rabbits. One day, he nervously approached a young doe rabbit whose husband had apparently walked out the door for the final time, and they fell in love. After a short courtship, Fangripp took her into his arms and asked her to marry him, at the same time embracing his cruel nickname of Flopsy with pride as his own. He also looked after her subsequent children as his own, in accordance with traditional rabbit practices. Although not naturally bright, he has applied himself to scholarship in Lapine lore, as is expected of all bucks and does of the tribe, and it was this dedication, as well as an unthinking act of conspicuous bravery, that led to the rabbit Lord Lockley’s adopting him into the noble family.
- Jasmine Jaegermond (secretly Jaegermond é Lockley), a rabbit
Why would the air-headed doe rabbit, Jasmine Down, fall for a hulking wolf? If she had really thought about it, perhaps she wouldn’t have. But she went with her heart, and Flopsy has repaid her trust with dogged loyalty. Introducing a wolf into the mysteries of Secret Bunny Business has landed her in very hot water from her own rabbit community, but following the public approval from Lord Lockley, perhaps she will start to get a more sympathetic ear or two from her people.
- Lorna Lappin, a rabbit
This old lady is 73 years old. She knows she is wise and experienced, and she has little patience for people who do not appreciate this fact. Although she may look frail on the outside, Lorne lives by the motto the moment you slow down you start to die.
- Shirley Dryandra, a numbat
As an endangered species, Shirl sees it as her duty to have as many children as possible, even when she doesn’t know if her latest man will last. She lives with her mother, Lily, and raises the brood of four (or five, no-one’s sure) children. Her latest partner is Brayden. Shirl is a bogan numbat, and she and her older children take delight in scaring her youngest, Jarrad, when he has to go to the doctor. Her eldest, Jackson, is addicted to video games. She has a new boyfriend, Brayden, whom she had another litter with.
- Lily Dryandra, a numbat
Shirl’s mother, who has successfully smoked her way into lung disease. She’s just hanging on to her status of family matriarch, having succeeded in whipping Brayden out of the road of crime and back onto the straight and narrow.
- Jackson Dryandra, a numbat
Mid-teens, video game addict
- Jarrad Dryandra, a numbat
Seven years old, he spent his early life terrified of doctors, and given how many bad experiences he had with asthma, who could blame him? But he has a bursting, florid imagination, expressed in his self-produced comic books. Favourite character: Captain Kerpow.
- Pippie Green, a border collie
Also seven years old, she was adopted by her uncle Col and then befriended by Jarrad Dryandra after losing her entire family in a horrendous bushfire.
- Mavis Wattle, a koala
Koalas may be rare, but old women of the like of Mavis are in plentiful supply. She is four square and straight down the line.
- Elsie Tabb, a cat
Another venerable woman. Some are wide and some are narrow. Joan compliments the duo with Mavis, although she sometimes feels the intimidated one of the two.
- Jim and Jeanette, a pair of lynxes
Part of the senior population of Ben’s practice.
- Mandy, a kangaroo
Mandy is into a natural lifestyle, who would just as readily take an ear candle as an antibiotic. Or to be doubly safe, both. Her son Donovan is allowed to run free and wild, without the stultifying shackles of patriarchal discipline. It’s beautiful. Mandy fervently believes in various "complementary therapies" of dubious safety and efficacy, to the horror of Ben.
- Nichaud, a goat kid
She’s adorable, and she eats every item she can get her hooves on, because that’s what goats do in comic strips.
- The unnamed, overweight, little kangaroo joey
Hey, he knows he has a health issue, and now he’s doing something about it, okay? Get off his back, sport.
- Allan Finchley, some kind of mongrel dog
When the struggle against alcohol addiction is a constant battle, his resident fleas may just tip the scales in his favour, as they have begun to act as a "conscience" for him to help him recover.
- Rufus, a fox
One of the many drug reps visiting Ben on regular basis. He works for Animpharm, whose latest great drug is Zappo and whose marketing division is an office full of totally insane meerkats.
- The unnamed snow leopard
You can understand his passion for environmental advocacy. He’s fighting for the survival of his endangered people.
- The unnamed badger
A lawyer. Expect jokes without mercy.
- Doe Rémi, the solar tea doe
A one-off joke
- A bull who’s obsessed with his bowels and laxatives
Joke number two
- Harry P. Otter
Not Harry Potter
- Dr “Chippy” Chang, a panda
Ben’s ethnic Chinese doctor friend from way back in medical school chose to specialise as a dermatologist, while Ben proceeded to general practice.
- Charmane Prideaux, a lioness
Don’t get her wrong: Charmane stayed within the letter of the law in every practice she managed, and boosted efficiency by maximising yield and cutting waste to the bone. It’s just that some people don’t feel comfortable when she smiles with that hungry glint in her eye. Ben hired her as a practice manager, but she used the position to cheat the Australian Medicare system. She did the same for a previous practice that went under after she left. Ben ultimately was able to sack her without irreparable damage to the practice. She did introduce computers to the practice.
- Dr. Adam Cod (aka "Doc Cod")
A codfish with what is either an uncanny ability or an annoying habit of speaking in palindromes.
Old character sheet, Do not discard until you have picked out all the good facts and put them up.
- Julian Sands - a camel and another frequent patient of Ben's. After he came out, he was beaten up by a group of thugs who eventually were caught after also trying to mug Ben and Daniella.
- Jasmine Jaegermond (nee Down) - a ditzy female rabbit; married to Flopsy, has four children.
- Fangripp "Flopsy" Jaegermond - a big wolf. He believes himself to be a rabbit in the body of a wolf. His marriage to Jasmine led to their ostracism from the larger rabbit ethnic group until he almost killed himself saving a group of rabbit children from a runaway cart. His wolf pack is not completely happy with the marriage.
- Male Pig - a businessman who is near-permanently attached to his mobile phone.
- Dr. Bell - an anglerfish; He is a partner in Daniella's dental practice.
- Honey - Ben's ex-wife. They married young, and quickly separated. They forgot about their marriage until Ben fell in love with Daniella, forcing him to scramble to find her and divorce her. By then, she was living in the United States. She got pregnant by him, but the separation occured before their daughter was born.
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