Saturday, July 18, 2009

Life or death?

The other day I noticed our little hampster, "Hampy" was walking funny. How odd of a hamster to walk with his front legs, and drag his back legs...hmmm??? Later on I checked on him again, and sure enough...he was not walking right. I took him out of his cage and placed him on the floor, thinking maybe his chance at freedom, would "fix" him. It didn't. Then I noticed the bottom half of his body looked....smashed, flattened...definately not right.

I began to GENTLY ask the little boys questions, "Honey, did you drop the hampster today, or accidently drop something on him?" "Did you close him up in a door?" On this particular day, David (Hampy's owner-6 yrs old), had made him an outside home inside of our cooler. He added lots of grass and pretty rocks and soft leaves. I made sure to tell him right away to leave the lid open so he wouldn't suffocate. David always takes him outside, nearly every day and plays with him in the sunshine. He then will bring him back inside, put him in his cage...until the next day.

No one had any answers.

The next day Joey had caught a toad and put it in the cooler. I went outside to check on the boys and there was the toad...dead on the sidewalk. I asked Nathan, 4yrs old, what had happened. He told me the toad was trying to get away, and he went running to catch him, and stepped on him...but it was an accident, he didn't mean it. I got down on my knees and looked into his eyes and asked, "Nathan, did that happen yesterday with Hampy? Was he trying to get away and you stepped on him?" "Yes Mommy, but I didn't mean too!"

So now we have a handicapped hamster. My husband said it was inhumane to let him live. The problem is...he still eats, drinks, and drags himself all over the place, and neither of us can think of a HUMANE way to kill the poor thing. David still plays with him. Kevin still greets him each evening with, "Hey little rat, whats up???" I told Kevin, perhaps it would be better to let him die slowly...and just not wake up one day, than to kill him. He doesn't seem to be in misery at all? Poor little guy. Not sure what else to do now, but to let him live!! I thought about letting him go, to live his last days free!! Then I remembered the hawks I see every now and then flying by...How terrrible to let a handicapped hamster free...with hawks flying overhead!! I suppose we'll just keep him. I thought of making a little wheelchair for him out of some toys...we'll see how that project comes along.

So what do you think....


  1. Amy,
    Your stories are so cute; funny and human!
    I had similar stories of tiny pets when my children were young. I am sure you will all have answer to that one!
    Thank you for sharing such sweet times in the life of children and

  2. Amy, I've wondered what I would do if anything happened to our little hampster. I'm not sure I would know what to say to that. If it were a dog people have made the "wheelchair" for them, personally it sounds like it might work.

  3. Let him live is my vote. : ) I remember in the 4th grade we had mice really bad. One mouse got caught in the trap but survived. My mom filled up a bucket and told me to hold the trap underneath the water to drown the poor thing. When she wasn't looking, I let the poor mouse up for air. She couldn't understand what was taking it so long to die. : )

  4. Making him a wheelchair sounds like a great option! He could be like Ralph Mouse! HA!

  5. Sometimes it's hard to know with animals...just because he still eats and moves around doesn't mean he isn't in significant could just be his survival instict.

    But maybe he is okay...just watch him closely, because you don't want him to be suffering.

    And a veterinarian can humanely put him to sleep using some anesthetic gas first, if you decide it needs to be done.



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