See this beautiful little creature. This is our Daisy. Well, actually Daisy Cupcake, though we just said Daisy.
A dwarf hamster is so small that it fits perfectly in the palm of one hand.
The life expenctancy of a dwarf hamster is roughly 2 years. Our Daisy lived to be three years and three months old and perhaps would have lived even longer. She got an eye infection and had a reaction to the prescribed medicine. It made it worse and the infection spread. She became very ill. This morning when I went to change her water, she looked so bad. We took her to the vet again. We were told we could try something else but she'd already lost the eye and with her age, the chances were slim. She had been eating and drinking but very little. And she didn't go on her wheel the past two nights.She seemed so fraile and lifeless. One could see how she was breathing harder and though she came to say hello when I filled her dish, licked my hand as usual, it was a tired lick. And her eye socket was visibly a painful issue.
Before going to the vet I told my daughter she might be forced to make a decision and that's just what happened. Though the chances were slim, we could try a different medicine for 3 days but if that didn't work, we'd need to put her to sleep. Considering her age and the obvious suffering she was in, my daughter decided to let her go now. She wanted her to be at peace. With tears running down her cheek, she told the vet she wanted to be with her until she took her last breath, then she would take her home and give her a proper burial. And that's what we did.
Daisy was a hamster with a great personality. She was always friendly and social, never bit. She liked to climb up my daughter's shirt, sit on her shoulder, and nuzzle against her neck.
And she would lick us to say hello and then crawl into our hands. She loved attention. And she was a sporty one. She could go on her wheel for long stretches, day or night. Often instead of using the ladder to get to the next level in her cage, she would pull herself up and over. Hamster parcour. And she loved the wooden "jungle gym". One thing she really loved was toilet paper rolls. As soon as you put one in her cage or playpen (yep, we had a big wooden hamster playground with seesaw and tunnels and things for her to go in-under-around-over) she would crawl in it and go crazy. Her chewing instinct would kick into high gear. She looked vicious. Then she'd come out and be our sweet little Daisy again.
We will miss her company. She brought us many smiles. She was my daughter's first pet and being an only child, Daisy was a sort of substitute sibling. When she was angry with us or when she had a bad day and didn't want to talk about it yet, she'd go in and tell it all to Daisy who, of course, was a good listener.
But all living things die. My daughter is lucky enough to have all grandparents yet and no one she is near and dear to has ever died. In the vets office she said to me, "this will be my very first funeral".
Another thing she said, after much debate, was "This is hard. So hard. I don't want her to die but somehow I feel it is the right thing to do. She isn't getting better. She can barely walk. She is suffering." And I told her that lots of things in life will be that way. We are faced with decisions all through life. Sometime the right choice is what is easiest to do. Sometimes it is what is the hardest. And other times there is no clear distinction. And then we sat in the vet's office and cried.
I'll have good memories of Daisy. She was a perfect pet. One thing I will remember fondly is how her fur would change in the cold months. She would get white on her chest, chin, and above her eyes. It almost looked like she grew white eyebrows.
Rest well, Daisy.