Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Hamster story; edited and with a moral at the end.

Okay, so for the record I AM WARNING YOU RIGHT NOW. You do not want to read this story. For reals. You should leave. Like now.

Are you still there? OMG. You people never, ever listen.

M, despite being an avid bird hunter, is wildly in love with every animal ever. If there is an animal, she wants it. I am asked daily for things like kittens, birds, fish, monkeys, lemurs, puppies, hippo's, sea lions and all manner of things that are either cute, fuzzy, cuddly, smooshy or all of the above.

My husband, having had caged pets like mice and guinea pigs growing up thought it would be a good idea to get her a hamster. I, for the record, do NOT love anything that lives in a cage. I put my foot down. The stepped on in their way to PetCo and came home with a fuzzy yellow rodent called "Carl".

Carl was a boring ass animal. He lived in his cage. He ran in his wheel, he shoved shavings everywhere and peed on you if you picked him up. Much like many of the dates I went on in college, he smelled perpetually of feet.

But M loved that little guy. She kept him in her room and told him stories and staged plays wherein he married Beanie Babies and even gave him a theme song (inexplicably "Mambo number 5"). It was frickin' adorable.

The problem was the dogs. Our lab, Buddy, excelled at opening doors. Locked doors. Doors both locked and held shut with a hook and eye. And Buddy, well, he wasn't smart. But he was affectionate. He loved everything but cats with an all consuming passion that resulted in everything he touched being "loved" to literal pieces.

Do you see where this is going? You should leave now.



So, while we were at work one day, Buddy broke into M's room and "freed" Carl. You know, to play with him.

Days and days passed and we were examining piles of poop for Carlness, when lo and behold the little fuzzy bastard wandered out from under the t.v. credenza, missing a few toe nails but otherwise unscathed.

The bedroom door was give additional fortification, was always locked and Carls cage moved to a shelf about 5' high.

Which worked. For about a day.

And then, Carl was missing again. The cage looked like a hamstercide had occurred and M was inconsolable.

But, sure enough, two weeks later, there was Carl; alive, though barely.

Only, this time, well, lets just say, 6oz hamsters are not good playmates for 80lb labs. Like at all.

Before M could see poor little Carl I snatched him up and wrapped him in tissue. But six year olds? They're smart. She knew exactly who I was trying to spirit away in a Kleenex shroud and demanded to see him. Figuring it would be a good time to explain the Circle of Life, and since Carls head wasn't really too mangled, I decided to let her say goodbye and uncovered his head.

Reaching out her wee little finger she lovingly stroked his head and whispered goodbye.

Then, he tried to bite her.

She shrieked like a mad woman, "Oh, MAMA! He's alive! We must take him to the vet! We simply MUST!"

Uh. No. No way am I spending $85 for a $6 hamster to be put to sleep.

So I told her, no. Carl was in pain, but Mommy would give him a shot herself. That way he could go to heaven from his very own home.

This seemed reasonable and she flung herself to the floor sobbing as I carried the wretched little mite away. To the garage. Where I gave him a shot. With a...well, let's keep this PG-ish and say that it was quick and painless and the only option.

For a moment I felt very Laura Ingalls Wilder in my practicle farm girl resolution to the situation. Then, of course, I thought; WHAT THE FUCK? Why the hell do I have a husband if I'm left to do things like hit hamsters with hammers? Oh. Wait. I wasn't going to say that part. I did warn you to leave though. And it's not like I LIKED doing it. Or even had a choice. The poor little smudge will probably greet me in Heaven with a big sign (well big for a hamster, so like 1"x3" and attached to a toothpick) that says "THANKS FOR PUTTING ME OUT OF MY MISERY".

Then, of course, there I am standing in the garage with a recently euthanized hamster wondering what the hell one does with a dead hamster? It's not like Chipper the fish, or Jimbo the fish or any of the other fishies that found their final rest in the municipal sewer system.

Back in the living room, contemplating what to do with the victim I go to find M, holding a tea-light box coffin lined with scrap of satin and a cotton ball for a pillow. Her grief apparently overcome with arts and crafts.

"Let's have a funnel" she says.

"A funeral? For Carl?" I ask, and she nods, all big eyes and barely contained excitement. I agree and perform my duties as funeral director while she summons the neighborhood kids. ALL OF THEM. I swear to God there were 15 kids in my yard. You'd have thought I was giving away ice cream covered bicycles or something.

Solemnly, yet gleeful at the spectacle, they lowered the casket into the earth, covered it with dirt and placed a headstone over it. It read "Carl. Wus a gud hamper". When the eulogy was over and each child (many of whom I'd never even seen before) said a nice little bit about Carl's wonderful hamster contributions to the world, they demanded snacks.

Because children are macabre little beasts with no souls and never ending stomachs.

But they're resiliant, and that's something to be grateful for.

4 little kittens say Meow:

Lorrie Veasey said...

Can I repost it on my blog can I can I huh huh puleeze can I?

Jane! said...

I... uh... don't know what to say. I asked for that, didn't I?
If it makes you feel better, my friend had to take their hamster to the vet after the cat took the little guy's eye out. The $90 bill probably hurt worse than your... um... shot.

Miss Thystle said...

I *DID* warn you....

Logical Libby said...

Lorrie said I had to read this... I am so glad the gerbil my niece is getting for Christmas will not live with us...