A Death In the Family

Chubby is dead. Long live Chubby!

So amidst the cleaning, organizing, cooking, laundry and other tasks I was undertaking today, I decided late this afternoon to just walk away from the kitchen for a moment. I headed into the living room and walked over to terrorize the girls’ hamsters, as I am want to do.

To be clear: I do not shake them, or squeeze them, or anything overtly brutal. Instead, I’ll blow on them, or tap their cages, or occasionally pick one of them up.

But I found when I got there that one of the hamsters was not moving. And contrary to her usual habit of sleeping under her bedding, she was on top of the bedding.

Chubby appeared to be dead.

Well, I thought, maybe she’s just sleeping hard. Or ignoring me.

Or dead.

There was that brief moment, before I unlatched the cage from its base, when I wondered how Zoe would react. She and Hannah really wanted the hamsters for their birthday over a year ago, and they were pretty thrilled when they got them.

But hamsters–at least these dwarf hamsters–have a 1-3 year lifespan. Chubby had lived about 18 months.

Jenni consulted the internet. I poked and prodded and felt the little golf ball-sized rodent. The internet suggested that the hamster might just be hibernating. Rigor suggested otherwise. After a few more minutes, it was pretty clear, Chubby has run her last round on the wheel.

Zoe didn’t seem to be very broken up about it, though her low-key approach to the whole thing has me wondering if there’s some underlying sadness that she just doesn’t want to let surface.

But I dug a hole in the back yard. The girls invited over their friends from across the street, and we had a brief memorial service.

“Zoe, would you like to say something before I put Chubby in the hole?”

“No.”

“Do you want to put her in?” Again, no.

“Sure you don’t want to say anything?”

“Peace out, dude.”

Indeed. Peace out, Chubby. There is no more wisdom to add.

See you tomorrow.