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Juno-Hamster just died.

About two hours ago, Juno lay still in her little nest, cold to the touch and not breathing. I took her out to hold her. Perhaps because of the warmth of my hands, she started panting very slowly and deeply, about a breath every 3-5 seconds. She didn't react to anything I did, though. After a while, I wrapped her up in a little towel and put her back into her cleared-out nest, where she continued to take occasional labored breaths. If she was going to recover, I wanted her to wake up in a familiar place. After another half-hour or so, her respiration increased. I lifted her out and carried her up here to my office, where I sat down and set her in my lap to keep her warm on my thigh. Just in case.

She weighs so little, and her little breathing sounds were heart-breaking. She didn't respond to my stroking her head or feeling for her heartbeat, not even to the sunflower seed resting against her cheek.

At 1:35pm, she drew an extra-deep breath and stretched out all her limbs, opening her mouth and eyes wide, every musle flexed hard. Her fat, pink tongue came out as if she were licking her lips. None of this was grotesque; rather, this was her body using up the last of its energy. Then she slowly relaxed and stopped breathing.

Poor little hamster; she was only about six months old. She did get to be a mother before I met her. I think something was wrong with her all along, because she often drank her body weight in water in just a day or two. Her water-bottle was practically empty today, and I had refilled it just two days ago.

Here's the post of when I adopted her, with bigger photos. She was a sweet little girl, happy being handled and not as squirmy as Chloe. She occasionally nipped the fingers that fed her, but not intentionally nor very hard. She had to learn how to use the Ball of Speed Magnification, but when she did, she loved it. She ran and ran all night long in her wheel, moving it across the floor of her cage. She figured out how to escape from Alcatraz just as Chloe had, and started making a nest in the bottom of the refrigerator - beside the warm compressor - using scraps of paper intended for recycling. She was cute and pretty and charming, and I'll miss her small mammal presence in the house.

Here she was:


Okay, it's been nearly half an hour and she hasn't breathed. I think Juno is completely gone. Time for her to join her little sisters in my rodent graveyard beneath the trees. It's a nice day outside, sunny and warm. Here's the burial site:


RIP little Juno. I hope you get a better run next time around.

Chris

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( 56 comments — Leave a comment )
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renegade500
Jan. 5th, 2008 08:15 pm (UTC)
Oh Chris, I'm so sorry! Hammies just don't live long enough for how cute and sweet they are, but she was so young. I'm glad you were able to give her comfort at the end (I did the same thing a few years ago when my rat Snowball died laying on my chest, and after that I decided no more rodents for me).
mckitterick
Jan. 5th, 2008 08:18 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Losing Juno so soon after Chloe makes me wonder if I want to do the rodent thing again. It's just too heart-breaking; this one died just as I let myself believe she was going to be around long enough to grow close to her - I wait now before I name them.

Maybe no new pets for a while, I think.

I think it's time to go bury her. She's not stirred for almost an hour.
dsgood
Jan. 5th, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC)
My sympathies.
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
(Deleted comment)
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:40 pm (UTC)
Re: Aw, I'm sorry.
She was, and I suspect she was ill when I got her.

Yeah, after a while, I suspect I'll adopt a new hammie.
arian1
Jan. 5th, 2008 08:38 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry man :(
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks, me too.
margaretq
Jan. 5th, 2008 08:56 pm (UTC)
Oh... I'm sor sorry. I heard her moving about last night and fought the urge to go take peaks. That's so sad. But, it sounds like she definitely had something like a heart or metabolic defect... Poor gal. You gave her a wonderful home and affection for her time. *hug*
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:41 pm (UTC)
Thanks. Glad you got to sort-of meet her.
woadwarrior
Jan. 5th, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC)
Chris,

I'm so sorry. I know how much you care for your pets. She couldn't have had a better home.

S
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much for the kind words.
kijjohnson
Jan. 5th, 2008 09:18 pm (UTC)
Chris, I am so sorry. I'm so glad you held her for the last bits -- warm and safe was probably a great comfort. But that doesn't help much, I know.
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:43 pm (UTC)
I am too, even if it was sadder that way. But it was a comfort to me, as well, and I hope it was a comfort to her.
jensixstones
Jan. 5th, 2008 09:30 pm (UTC)
I and all my mammals send our sympathies. I'm so glad you could be there for her. She was lucky to have you for her person.
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much for your warm thoughts.
lazscott
Jan. 5th, 2008 09:51 pm (UTC)
My condolences.
Losing a pet is so difficult. I do appreciate that you shared it.

(On a personal note, I need to talk with my son's mother about his dwarf hamster. It will help him if his parents are prepared.)
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC)
Re: My condolences.
It sure is, even when the pet is a little tiny person.

Good luck with your own upcoming pet-sadness.
Re: My condolences. - lazscott - Jan. 7th, 2008 06:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean. I still sometimes cry about my kitty, Helen, who lived with me for nine years and who died seven years ago.

Thank you for the kind words.
jjgalahad
Jan. 5th, 2008 10:33 pm (UTC)
My condolences. She sounded like a sweetheart. I hope that you can live devoid of future loss like this for some time to come.
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks, and she was. I too hope my next little pet has a longer life.
jjschwabach
Jan. 5th, 2008 10:57 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry about Juno. The poor things don't live long, it's true. And she wasn't very old, even for a hamster. Condolences!
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
weaselmom
Jan. 5th, 2008 10:58 pm (UTC)
We're so sorry to hear about little Juno. It's just so unfair, damn it.
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I wish you guys could have met her.
mabfan
Jan. 5th, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry for your loss.
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
steve98052
Jan. 5th, 2008 11:28 pm (UTC)
You have my sympathy. She was so young too; I remember the message where you told about getting her.
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you. Yes, she was far too young.
keltickefiwolf
Jan. 5th, 2008 11:39 pm (UTC)
::hugs!!:: Poor little girl... what a cutie. So sorry to hear of her passing. :(
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:48 pm (UTC)
Thank you. She was so pretty.
j_cheney
Jan. 6th, 2008 01:06 am (UTC)
Sorry to hear it. I had tons of hamsters growing up, and each one is special.
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks. Yeah, each and every one is a unique little person worthy of love in a different way.
roseconnelly
Jan. 6th, 2008 01:44 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry to hear this--so unexpected, and she was so young. She will be remembered as being young and beautiful!
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you. It sure was, which really made me worried that there was something I should have been able to do for her to keep her from getting ill.
eleanor
Jan. 6th, 2008 02:03 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry for your loss -- the little animals go so quickly. I know she had a good home with you.
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I find hamsters just so darned charming, but they live such short lives. If I continue to adopt hammies, I'll have to get used to rapid losses, I guess, but that seems like the route to frequent heartbreak - especially if some percentage of them die young.
jeanineers
Jan. 6th, 2008 02:03 am (UTC)
Oh man. I'm sorry to read about Juno.
It's just so sad.
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you for your hamster-empathy. I meant to have many more months of posting about her cuteness for everyone to enjoy.
astein142
Jan. 6th, 2008 03:41 am (UTC)
Condolences.
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
im_shimmerin
Jan. 6th, 2008 04:55 am (UTC)
oh my god dude that was sad. you're such a good hamster parent.
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much for your kind words.
(Deleted comment)
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
cmt2779
Jan. 6th, 2008 05:09 am (UTC)
I'm so sorry. Poor little Juno. And poor Chris. :-(
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you for both.
jimmy_hollaman
Jan. 6th, 2008 05:13 am (UTC)
sorry about the loss
mckitterick
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
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