Handling the death of a hamster

by beagooddad on November 29, 2006

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A couple months back we bought a hamster. There was much rejoicing.

Hamsters seem to have curious lifespans averaging somewhere between 30 seconds and 4 years. Poor little Winnie decided to check out after a little more than tow months.

We got home from our big Thanksgiving weekend at 11pm on Saturday. I went downstairs to feed her and she didn’t move. I poked her and…well, you get the idea. Winnie now has much in common with your average doorknob.

We are left with a few options.

  • Explain that Winnie is dead
  • Pretend she moved to a forest (or whever hamsters live in the wild) to return to her family
  • Buy a cooler pet and hope the subject never comes up

We chose a different route; the sitcom hamster swaparoo. Until I get a chance to clean the cage and get to the hamster store, we are going to tell the kids that Winnie is at the hamster groomers. My parents often send their dogs to the dog groomers so it is something they can relate to. The kids are only 4, so I think we have a chance to get away with it.

So far, nobody has even noticed she is missing. Since hamsters are night animals, the kids just assume that she has just been sleeping in the tubes all day.

Have you ever had to deal with the death of a pet with kids that are just barely old enough to begin to understand the concept? What did you do?

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