17 Sept 2012

Hestia ...is in mourning weeds

Last known photo of sexually confused Hamster, Nibbles
This is a blog post that I have dreaded writing.

No, no one has mistakenly eaten Kevin (my ancient pain au chocolat) and died a gruesome fusty-chocolate-related death.

No, our beloved Nibbles has moved on to that great hamster wheel in the sky.

She had been getting fatter and fatter in the past couple of months and I suspected that all was not well inside Nibbles, but she was a happy little rodent - swinging on the bars of her cage, patiently trying to escape at every opportunity.

On Wednesday we found her sleeping at the bottom of her cage, not in her bed.  I thought she was dead, but apparently Sonshine checked and left us this missive, to ensure that we didn't tip her into the swing bin by mistake.

It says 'just sleeping'. Can't we edit photos in blogger any more?

By Thursday morning, the wee soul had been returned by me to her bed and she hadn't moved - although she was alive (I poked her regularly to check).

We were due off to Glasgow later in the afternoon and I was deeply unhappy about leaving the hamster.  She might only be a tiny scrap of life, but she's still a scrap of life and she's our responsibility.

Tartarus has made it quite clear in the past that we would go to the vet for a dog or a cat, but not a hamster, so I was dreading working up to telling him that I was taking her to the vet.

'There's no way I'm leaving her here while we go away overnight.  She might begin to suffer while we're gone and I'm not having that.' I said quietly.

'Want to phone the vet then?' he asked.  He's a softy really.

I telephoned the vet and asked whether we could bring down a hamster for probable euthanasia.  Surgery had finished for the morning, but he was happy to have us down.

And as I lifted Nibbles into the box, didn't the bastarding wee thing start scrabbling around and being active and NORMAL?!  They KNOW, I tell you.

'We're still going to the vets,' I told her grimly.

Tartarus drove us down to the surgery and we were quietly ushered in to the consulting room where the vet took a good look at her.

I apologised:  'She seems to have perked up since I decided to have her put to death.' I joked, but my heart wasn't really in it.

He cast an expert eye over her and said that she was full of growths, but not suffering.  However, things would only get worse for her and if we didn't have her put to sleep today, it might be a much worse scenario in a week or so.  The word 'leakage' was used.

I agreed that she should be put to sleep and he injected her with anaesthetic with the view to giving her a little spot of Euthetal once she was sleepy.  But the anaesthetic did the trick and within a few minutes she curled up into her usual ball-like position and went to sleep.  Permanently.

She was wrapped up respectfully in a bit of tear-off paper towel and placed back in her box.

£11.00 changed hands.


Sonshine didn't find out about it until the Friday when he got home from school (he'd had an overnight with a friend so that Tartarus and I could have a night up in Glasgow).  I wasn't there when he was told of Nibbles' passing, but his dad promised me, hand on heart, that he would do it with as much sensitivity as he could.  And I believe that he did.

And Sonshine is ok about it.  We have decorated a Kleenex box and the funeral is today, after school.  Kevin and other close family members only, in attendance.  There shall be due pomp and ceremony.

...and why was I not present to tell Sonshine myself? Well, I was getting a Brazilian Blowdry.  On my HEAD.  Which is a post for another day.


  1. ooh ...sad news but all part of the circle of life I guess.....my friend has that Brazilian hair treatment and looks....well a treat!!x

    1. Are you singing like Elton John in The Lion King?

      I go back tomorrow to get the stuff washed off. I'm sure that my hair will spring back to type as soon as my back is turned, yanno.


  2. I do hope you have some flower from the garden to lay on his/her grave ?

    1. A single yellow rose was laid respectfully on her 'coffin' ...and then Tartarus tramped down the soil on top of her *sigh*

  3. One always needs to look one's best for a funeral...out of respect.

  4. Ali -

    I completely understand this - I feel the same way about ALL of my pets. I once had an autopsy performed on a gerbil ... I had to know that I hadn't done something wrong in caring for it.

    Kudos to Tartarus for being so understanding!

    1. I did consider having a small investigation of the poor creature mysef. I mean, literally, doing it myself because I am morbidly curious in that respect.

      But decorum prevailed and she has been sent off to Hamster Valhalla with a lavishly decorated coffin and laid on a bed of clean wood shavings.

      Now all we have to do is clean out the cage nad get ready for the next one!

  5. When our cat Tiggy had to be put down it really did feel like a bereavement. My sympathies.

    I look forward to seeing what is on the cutting edge of hairstyle in Bute.

  6. Sorry to hear about poor Nibbles. Sounds like it was for the best, but still hard! Glad to hear Tartarus was a softy, and a supportive dad :)

  7. My innermost Twistedness demands that I make a coarse and unfeeling joke about the little rodent, but I can't

    I too am a big softy inside, so...sorry.


    Did you say on your reply to Bonnie Cehovet that you set your hamster on FIRE?

    Kudos to you Hestia.

    I don't think I'd have had the guts to do it. Well done.

    Brazillian Haircut?
    I've heard of a Brazillian wax, but isn't that going a bit far for a haircut?

  8. Tartarus thought I'd return from the hairdressers with a 1" wide strip of hair running down my skull :-) But it just straightens my hair - on my head - and doesn't require any shaving or waxing!!!

    Ali x

  9. So sorry,we all cried around the cardboard box when our male dwarf rabbit Buffy (we were misinformed by the pet shop)died.She/he was seven a good age for a rabbit I think. x

  10. Oh. I'm so sorry. When Mr Hamster ran away and got out of the house (and thus was probably killed by a cat or fox) is was such a sad time for us. We could not even have a ceremony to see him off.

    I hope nothing ever happend to Hamsterman but I know that one day something must. M's heart is less in it with Hamsterman too and I need to prod him to do his cage cleaning duties. It is a real shame too as Hamsterman is very sweet.

    I'll stop typing now. Apparently I needed Hamster catharsis.


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