After he bullied and bit his brother Robo, we separated the two. Rosco joined another family with lots of kids and did great. Alas, their new cat was stalking him and so they gave him back to us. Since dwarf hamsters only live a couple of years we didn't want to give him to anybody else.
Two weeks ago we noticed he had a swollen leg. We took him in to see the vet, and there's not much they could do but give him some antibiotics to reduce the swelling. They suspected his leg somehow got caught in something, but he clearly extricated himself, but developed an infection. He started to recover, running quite nicely with his injured leg tucked next to his body ... but a couple of days ago he became lethargic. I couldn't figure out what had changed. But on Thu morning, as he dragged himself to get a drink of water and eat some nuts and seeds, I saw a giant tumor on his belly. Poor guy. This had to be a fast-growing tumor because it wasn't there two weeks ago. However, Rosco isn't tame so I couldn't examine him without getting bitten. I am so glad I took him in to die before he started to suffer. Right up until the end, he was busy in his box nibbling on a carrot, shelling a sunflower seed and shredding paper. After he was given a lethal injection, he died peacefully in Dagny's hands. Her first pet to die. Oh how we cried.
That ugly tumor weighed 5 grams. Rosco was only 25 grams. FYI 30 g = 1 ounce.
Cancer is ugly.
I suspect this isn't the last we've seen of it. All our pets are getting old. But what joy they've brought us. Even Rosco, the rascal.
Moral of the story, if you are naughty, you will be sent away. Ummm ... are you reading this, kids?
What's good for a hamster is good for a human. Nah. To have compassion means to "suffer with" not "put them out of their misery." Remember that humans are capable of redemptive suffering.
It was only after Rosco died that we could pet his ultra-soft fur and translucent ears. His front paws are a marvel. How they held a seed or a slice of carrot so that he could nibble. I imagine he's up in heaven, perfect in his beauty, perhaps acquainting himself with my first cat. And yes, you do know that all dogs and cats go to heaven as do all rocks and ribbons, right?