Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Life and Death of Rosco

We bid goodbye to Rosco ... he was the bad one, the naughty one, the rascal.

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?



Leandra Wallace said...

We had two hamsters that did this too. After a bad fight where one hurt his leg and the other his eye(he kept it mostly closed after that) they went into separate cages. Who knew something so little were such scrappers? Hope your daughter's feeling happier soon!

Barbara Etlin said...

I'm sure Rosco is busy taunting your cat in heaven now.

Faith E. Hough said...

Oh, I'm so sorry. Even when a pet is a troublemaker, it's hard to get used to life without them.

Mirka Breen said...

Having pets means we get extra life injected to ours, and inevitably experience death.

Sadness and longing... I respect yours.

MollyMom103 said...

I love pets. They bring such wonder to our lives. It's tough to say goodbye. Hugs to Dagny.

Johnell DeWitt said...

Sorry. But I'm glad the little guy had a good life while it lasted. :)

Ruth Schiffmann said...

So sorry for your loss. It's so hard to lose a pet. They really bring so much joy (as well as work).

Vijaya said...

Thank you all so much. Dagny has the other one still, who is very tame and attached to her and she realizes she only has a short time left with him.

Leandra, exactly! And the guy at the pet store told us that the little guys like each other when reared together. NOT. I knew about the Syrian hamsters being solitary, but it looks like they're all like that.

Barbara, that made me laugh! Yes, I'm sure of it.

Faith, our other hamster has the naughty one's digs now (it was a bigger cage).

Mirka, yes, yes, yes to loving our pets.

Molly, to have the trust of an animal is incredible. A blessing.

Johnell, he certainly did.

Ruth, you said it. They remind me of kids. Joy and work.

Becky Shillington said...

I am so sorry Vijaya. It is always so hard to lose a pet (even the rascals). And YES, I am counting on seeing my pets again in heaven! = )