I was innocently sitting here at the table working away on a paper. Aimee was beside me and Jack was chattering away nearby. Trevor came up behind me, commandeered my computer and pulled up notepad. He typed,
aimee hamham bit the dust
Oh, dear. The hamster I thought might actually live a while. I looked at him with eyebrows raised. He nodded. “I poked it,” he said quietly. “It’s not moving.”
By now the kids caught the scent of something happening.
“What?” Aimee said.
We looked at each other. My policy is not to lie to them, or sugarcoat things. I nodded at Trevor.
“I think your hamster’s dead,” he said.
“Hamham?” she asked, the requisite pout starting.
“Yeah, I’m afraid so,” he said.
So we all dutifully trooped down to her room where, sure enough, he was lying stiffly on his side in his little bed of Kleenex. No blood or gore, lots of food and water. He had been running on his little wheel just this morning. So it was natural, anyway. I pointed these facts out to Aimee, who looked far less sad than I expected.
There was a brief discussion of what to do with him. The kids want to bury him. Of course, it is almost 9:00 at night and pitch dark. I suggested a funeral tomorrow and in the meantime we would put him in a ziploc and into the freezer. Thus ensued a discussion of why he would decompose out in the air but not in the freezer (and also why he was stiff – Jack’s asutue observation from poking at him – come to think of it, that boy never washed his hands after. Gross.). At one point, when we were prodding the hammy and rustling around trying to get him into the bag, Trevor speculated that it was just a ploy to escape, that he wasn’t really dead and was about to spring up and make a break for it. Needless to say, he didn’t.
Now the debate is whether to replace him with a second dog – Aimee’s friend has 11 puppies to adopt out – husky-shepherd-bullmastiff crossed with rottweiler. Apparently at 6 weeks old they are bigger than Jinx – but extremely cute. I am resisting. I like small poop. And the fur tumbleweeds on a dog like that? They would be bigger than Jinx in a few months. “But they’re so cute!!” he says. No, thanks. I think he did tell them to call us in a few weeks if they couldn’t get rid of all the dogs. Jack already has it named. Code Red. I’m not kidding.
So, for the moment, we are short one more pet. Not terribly tragic, all things considered. No tears, very little sadness.
He had a good life, Aloysius (or “Allawishis”, as Aimee spelled it). Rest in peace. Or at least in the freezer until we get around to burying you – hopefully before winter hits, or our basement will start to resemble Notre Dame Cathedral.
Ew. Must go Google hamster epitaphs and hymns suitably solemn for the funeral.
And let me know if you’re in the market for a very large dog. Free to a good home… already named. Here, Code Red! Come here, boy! Do you want a treat? I’ve got a half a cow for your dinner! There, that’ll do you a few hours….