I barely have the emotional energy to write this post, because I just feel kind of exhausted, mentally. To get to the point, our other hamster, Steel, died suddenly and unexpectedly on Tuesday morning.
I shared recently that Ethan’s hamster, Flint, had to be put down in June. (Read my tribute to him here.) That whole experience was so hard and sad- my stomach tightens up just thinking about it.
(There is part of me that feels sort of ridiculous making a “big deal” over the deaths of our hamsters. Like part of me wonders, are people reading this rolling their eyes? Thinking, “oh good heavens, it’s just a hamster! Everyone knows they don’t live a long time!” Which is true. And I know they are just little pocket sized pets, not like a dog, or a cat….but I don’t know….they still felt like part of the family. And it’s hard not to get attached to the little buggers.)
Anyway, I don’t really have it in me to write some perfect tribute to Steel at the moment, but I did want to at least share this. The whole thing was a real shock, because he was TOTALLY fine last week! In fact, despite being the same age as Flint (approaching 2 1/2 years old, so pretty old in hamster years), Steel always still looked and acted like a baby.
Flint, with his cancerous tumor, had started to look a bit ragged and just older before he died. But we even commented that Steel looked so young and active and fresh yet…we thought we had quite a while left with him. There’d been no indication of illness.
Monday evening he suddenly started acting more lethargic than usual, out of the blue- sleepy, just sitting in our hands- just off. It was odd. By Tuesday morning we could tell that something was definitely very wrong. He was breathing rapidly and his eyes looked glassed over. I knew he was dying.
Fortunately, I guess, he passed away quickly, within a few hours. I really don’t know what happened. I read that oftentimes hamsters develop sudden heart failure in older age. Who knows.
It was awful, though. Asher was absolutely distraught, and I had that terrible, uncontrollable feeling of hating the situation but not being able to do a single thing about it. That quote “the only way out is through” ran through my mind, as we basically held him and waited for him to die. No way around it, we just had to get through it.
Here are a few pics of him from over the years:
He didn’t have all the many nicknames like Flint did, but he went by “Steely Wheely” most of the time. 🙂 ❤️
Later in the day, after he dried his many tears, Asher said, “I can’t imagine not having a hamster anymore! Do you think we could just at least go look at some at the pet store? Not to buy any, just to look.”
I said okay, if he really wanted to….though I wasn’t sure if this was the best idea. I mean, it was very soon. But on the other hand, he was so sad, and I just wanted him to feel better. And looking at cute animals always makes people feel better.
You might be able to sense where this is going.
I won’t beat around the bush. We ended up buying another hamster that very night. Yep. I feel weird admitting this, because it feels…a little wrong? Disrespectful to Steel? Insensitive?
We looked at several of the same breed (Winter white dwarf), but the ones we saw didn’t seem right. We were about to leave, when the girl mentioned that the two female Chinese hamsters seemed very sweet. We’d never had that breed before, nor a female hamster, so we hadn’t even considered them. Asher decided to look at one and she did seem really sweet.
She was active but not hyper, curious but not overly nervous or skittish acting. Long story short, Asher felt immediately drawn to her and decided to bring her home.
To be honest, I don’t think these Chinese hamsters are nearly as naturally cute as the Winter White Dwarf hamsters, who are sort of furry and roly poly looking. I find them to be absolutely adorable. This breed looks more like a mouse!! She has these huge ears, is longer and skinnier and is tiny.
But she’s cute in her own way, and besides, it’s kind of fun to try a different breed.
Her name is Summer, and Asher is very smitten. 🙂
TO BE CLEAR, she is not a replacement for Steel. I think we are actually glad that she is so different- there’s just no comparison.
Whether this was “right or wrong”, I’m not really sure, but she has been a welcome distraction. She is very active, LOVES to dig and burrow (much more so than our previous hammies) and yet can also be so docile that she will fall asleep in our hands sometimes, sort of “purring” while we stroke her head.
I’ve already nicknamed her: “Little One”. 🙂
We still can’t believe Steel is gone. Poor little buddy. He was the cutest!! We miss him so much.
I am grateful for the happiness the hamsters have brought the boys over these past few years.