Yesterday we had to finally say goodbye to our sweet hamster, Flint.
If you recall, I mentioned a while back that he developed a tumor on his belly this past winter. We had him in to the vet two different times. She said that at his age (~2 years old), there was really nothing to do but wait and provide him with the best quality of life we could. Surgery was not feasible or practical in this case, of course. Hamsters just don’t have very long life spans, sadly, in the best of cases. She said to just spoil him silly and love on him as much as we could until we felt his quality of life was declining, and that at that time, we could bring him in to be put down.
The tumor grew from a tiny, barely noticeable nodule to a VERY large bulge, quite rapidly, over these last few months.
Until very recently, however, he was still very active and seemed otherwise okay! Honestly, he didn’t even seem to notice the big bump. He had steadily been losing weight, though, as I think everything he ate just went to feed the tumor. 😦
In the past few weeks it had grown to the point that it was touching the ground when he walked, and it looked like it may have been starting to press up against his front paw. This past weekend, we noticed a more sudden decline- he suddenly seemed just a bit more weary and more inactive, too. He still was happy to be held and alert, but I just noticed a change. Also, he had become so skinny that we could feel his spine along his neck….just skin and bones.
So, we decided it was finally time.
Of course, our biggest concern was to not have him suffer or experience any pain, so we didn’t want to wait to put him down until it was too late. We also didn’t want something to happen, like, for example, the tumor to end up splitting open, bleeding, or for him to start biting at it. It was a bit of a hard call, because like I said, until very recently he was otherwise acting mostly totally normal.
Flint was Ethan’s hamster, technically (Asher has his own), but we all loved him! I was especially….shall we say…obsessed with him?? He was SO CUTE. And so sweet. I held him every single day. I will say, this little guy had a good life. I think he got more kisses than any hamster ever has before. 🙂
I am going to miss walking by Ethan’s room and popping my head in and saying, “Hi Flint!!” even if he was sleeping. LOL! You could see his cage from the hallway, so if I’d see him out and about, I’d always stop in and top off his bowl with a few treats. 🙂
The actual process of putting him down went fine, or as good as it ever can. The boys and I took him in at 2:30 p.m.
Ethan was surprisingly stoic (though some more feelings came out at bedtime). I was the biggest mess, of course….I’m such a sap anyway, and like I said, I LOVED this little guy!! Asher was tearful, too.
Ethan didn’t want to actually witness them giving him the injection, so I made sure everyone was on board with that. We had a little time inside to give him a few more snuggles.
They did give him a sedative first, to make him very “sleepy” (before taking him to the other room for the actual injection). This part was really sad. I kind of wish we could have just said goodbye while he was totally alert. Ethan seemed to get uncomfortable once Flint basically zonked out….he was sleeping, but not himself, really. I ended up going to find the assistant to have them take him away. Ethan didn’t like seeing him like that.
In honor of our little Flint, the boys and I made a list last night of all of his nicknames. I do not know why, but this hamster had a MILLION nicknames!!! I’m not even sure how they all originated, but we called him all sorts of little pet names, usually said in a baby voice, while nuzzling and kissing him. 🙂
Here they are:
- Big Bop
- Baby Bop
- Bop Bop
- Naughty boy
- Tiny friend
UGHHHHH!! I’m sad all over again. And this is “just” a hamster. Thank God we don’t have a dog!
We still have Asher’s hamster, Flint’s brother, Steel. He’s getting up there too, though….He seems in good health for now, though.
RIP Flintstone!! We love you. May you enjoy hamster heaven, with all the peanuts and pumpkin seeds you can get your tiny paws on (his favorites).
I am grateful for the time we had with this little guy. He brought us all a lot of joy.