Friday, September 5, 2014

In memory of our Chewbacca baby.


Dear Chewie,

We first met you in a dream. Months ago, Deacon dreamed of a dark brown long-haired hamster named Chewbacca. Ever since that moment, we felt destined to find you. We made sure we could have pets when choosing our apartment. We looked at pet store after pet store, but it was never you.

Last Saturday, we had just gotten done eating dinner and had an hour to spare before going to Miss Amanda's house, so we decided to go to Petco and buy her new kitty friends some toys. But then we saw you.

You were asleep under a pink, plastic house. You were hiding your face from us, so we weren't sure it was you at first. But then, just like magic, you re-positioned yourself so that your handsome, furry face was visible. And then we knew.

We ran to get a cart and started piling all sorts of things in it. We spent at least 30 minutes trying to decide what kind of cage would be best for you. Then a group of questionable people came into the store and started looking down your aisle, so one of us stood guard while the other went and scoped out food and bedding options. We questioned whether the exercise ball that came with your cage was big enough. We got you a nice, chewable house. We even got you a blue travel cage for the ride home. We wanted to make you feel at home.

Your first day with us was rough. We were all a bit frightened. You made noises that I didn't even know hamsters could make. Later on, you had discovered how to climb up the tube into your ball, but you were having trouble coming down. We watched you for 30 minutes to make sure you weren't stuck. But we didn't have to--you later proved to be a champ at squeezing through those tubes and going up and down. We decided to give you the night to yourself, though, to let you readjust to your new setting. So we barricaded my room from all the cats and left you alone for the night.

When we came back the next day, we found that you liked your ball so much you had brought all this bedding up into it to make a nice little bed. Silly Chewie.

We took you home, and you were a great travel companion. Your cage sat on my lap and we both fell asleep for the majority of the ride.

We had cleaned your ball out by then, but that night, you made both of us laugh harder than we have in months when you stuffed your cheeks full of your bedding and carried it through the tube back to your ball. It was adorable, not to mention really impressive. We would have let you sleep there, too, but the smell was just so bad and you weren't getting good ventilation. Besides, we wanted you to be able to exercise in the ball. So we had to block it off.

I know this was difficult for you and I am deeply sorry.

The next day, it was time to take you to our realty place so they could take your photo. I was in class, but your papa Deacon said that you did real good. When he uncovered your cage, you came right up to the side of your cage for the photo. And then when he took you home, you went back into your cage with no problem. He gave you a treat for this, which you enjoyed.

The first night away from the ball, you slept in your house. We were overjoyed! I spent hours that night and the following night reading up on how to care for hamsters. It said to give you a few days to yourself to recover from the move, so that's what we set out to do. I would have loved to have held you, or try to pet your furry self, or take a better photo so your proud parents could show you off to all our friends, but I knew that you needed your space.

You slept a lot during the day and didn't really get up to eat, but we thought that was normal. We read that you were more active at night, so we figured you did all your hamster business while we were asleep.

I was thinking about you all day yesterday. Your recovery time was pretty much over and I thought you might like to run around on the floor in your ball. But first, we had to go to the store. While there, we bought you some baby carrots for a little treat.

When we got home, you were still asleep behind your house. I talked to you and tapped gently on the side of the cage, but you didn't wake up.

I'm not sure what happened to you, Chewie. I'm not sure if you were sick, or if the stress of moving was too much for you, or if it was just your time. We didn't think to ask how old you were when we bought you, so maybe you were just waiting to pass on in a comfortable place.

But you were the first member of our family. You were my baby, and no matter what, I feel like I am responsible for what happened to you. I've never had a hamster before, so I'm not sure if I did something wrong or not. I keep going through everything in my head, wondering if it was the food we got you, or the kind of bedding we got you, or what I could have done differently. I'm not sure I'll ever have closure about it.

We had you for six days.

I'm thankful for that time, but I was looking forward to so much more. I never even got to hold you.

But I hope that you're doing well in hamster heaven. Your mama and papa miss you and love you.

--Emily
currently listening to: Misguided Ghosts by Paramore