Monday, August 19, 2013

Finding Out if Your Hamster is Actually Dead.

I was supposed to be babysitting my youngest sister and mowing the lawn at the same time. At thirteen I was seething with the injustice of having to ensure the safety of my accident-waiting-to-happen sibling and juggle pushing a lawnmower about the same size as me up and down the hill. The hill was too steep to push the lawnmower across without it tipping over and suffering some sort of mechanical combustion. So there I was heaving the damned contraption up the hill when my sister emerged bawling her eyes out.

“Baggins is dead,” Baggins was her beloved hamster who she had long meaningful conversations with. As you do at ten.

Me: “What?”

Her: “He’s dead, he’s not moving,”

Me: “Jesus Nan it’s probably just hibernating, there’s no need to be so dramatic.”

Her: “but…”

Me: “ OK, look, I’ll look at him, he’s probably fine.”

So we went to her room, where she trembled as she pointed at the small furry lump. I examined it closely, tried to feel its heartbeat, gave it a poke in the stomach, lifted up its limp paws.

Then I came to this sound conclusion: “Hmm…we can’t be sure, you don’t want to bury it alive or make a fuss, what if it’s still breathing, when
they hibernate their heart rate goes really low and loads of people bury their pets when they are really alive.”

I was at that age where I spent all my free-time wrapped in a book and I was sure I’d read this somewhere.

“So what do I do?” Nan asked.

“Well don’t tell anyone and if he starts to smell in a few days, then we’ll know he’s dead.”

So that’s what we did and I forgot all about it. In my head the hamster was obviously just napping, no big deal. My sister cheered up by googling stuff about hamsters hibernating and was delighted that her Baggins would wake up any day now.

Then it happened. My mother was cleaning out her room a few weeks later and noticed the smell. She had a look in the cage and was horrified to find Baggins looking like he had been dead for sometime. She came downstairs to ask Nan how she had failed to notice her decomposing hamster.

“Alvy said it was hibernating,” Nan offered.

“Alvy you said what?” my mum screamed.

“Well I said if it started to smell it was dead… we were just waiting…”

“Well it smells, can you not smell that, it’s cold, it’s rigid, how much more dead do you want it to be?”

So the potentially hibernating hamster was buried and my sister was even more upset having had to go through the shock of losing Baggins twice.

In retrospect, given my track record with animals, she probably shouldn't have asked me in the first place.

1 comment:

  1. I love hamsters
    teefury , redbubble , threadless.


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