Friday, June 10, 2011

453 Goodbye to Snowflake ... and other matters of importance

I don't want to be one of those people always apologizing about not posting. Seriously, the world likes to get in the way. The medical emergencies have grown.

Connor had a spider bite, which I thought was a brown recluse (but luckily, it was not).

Katie spilled a bowl of molten hot homemade soup in her lap and suffered second degree burns.

Chip's father has been in the hospital for five days. It is much more serious, although he is on the mend. Since it is not my story to share, at this time I will only ask for your prayers, healing thoughts, and good vibes. Whatever you believe to work, please ... do it.

And then yesterday, Katie's hamster Snowflake died. She just wanted her hamster near her ... and she didn't think about the fact the sun was blazing hot when she brought her out in her travel cage. It must not have taken long. I didn't even know she had taken her outside. The next thing I knew, Katie came running inside with Snowflake cupped in her hands. We are all a bit distraught. She was possibly the sweetest hamster EVER. She put up with the constant handling and snuggling, and she even seemed to like it. How many hamsters do you know that like to have their tummy scratched? Snowflake did. She was a constant companion for the past few months, and this is a really hard lesson for Katie to learn. I do want her to understand that every life is precious. Even a hamster. The little things around us need our care and our compassion. It is our responsibility to look out for those who look up to us. It is a lesson I want her to always carry with her in life. I hope it is a lesson that will make her a better friend and person in general. 

This is also Connor's first brush with mortality. We went to buy a "coffin" for Snowflake and when we returned he ran to her cage ... "Snowflake's still dead?" And I tried to explain it to him. And then, watching tv, out of nowhere he said "Mama, is Snowflake better now?" Oh my honey, Snowflake will never be better. She is gone. And he CRUMPLED! His little face first as he started to cry, then he just folded his body forward. The pain a three year old can feel!! I gathered him to me and rocked him. My poor baby. He loved that little rat (Chip and I always called her 'little rat'.. it became a term of endearment for her) as much as anyone could. In his little world she was a huge part. Today he is still coming to terms with it. I know it will fade quickly. A three year old can't remember forever ... at least not the depth of pain, thank goodness.
We will try again in a few weeks. A new hamster, preferably a Winter White like our Snowflake. But for now, we are mourning the loss of our Snowflake. She never stayed too still, so the pictures are usually blurry, but here are a few ...
We brought her home on February 7, 2011 ... as we walked out of the pet store there were snowflakes falling. She is a Winter White, so it was only fitting that Katie decided to name her Snowflake.

Connor always wanted to be around Snowflake, and he was surprisingly gentle with her. Still, we had to keep her in a locked room when he was running around after Snowflake was discovered on the kitchen counter. The story finally came out that he had taken her out of her cage, brought her downstairs and then tried to give her a bath in Dawn dish soap... I guess at some point she escaped him because Chip found her wandering around the counter. At first he thought it was a mouse, and he was about to smush her ... luckily he noticed the grey stripe on her back. It took a lot of very gentle cleanings to remove all the soap. For a few days she had water in her ear, and it threw her balance off. But she got better, and stronger ... and after that ANY kind of handling seemed gentle to her.

 We finally got adventurous enough to try out some "regular" food ... she loved pecans. She would take the nut in her little paws and eat and eat. Sweetest thing.
She was a Jackson ... even if she was the littlest. We miss you Snowflake. Katie says she is so sorry. She promises to take better care of the next hamster and to love it in your memory. Sleep well my little rat.