Losing A Pet Over Christmas

It is Christmas Eve as I write. I woke up this morning at 6.30am to check on Panda, our nearly two year old Syrian hamster. She had passed away peacefully in her sleep. Only just as she was still warm.

About four to five weeks ago she became very tired. She only left her nest to have a drink and something to eat. We thought this was due to her age and the colder weather. Then around ten days ago as she walked to the end of her cage (which is a detolf cabinet from Ikea turned into a cage,  four times bigger than the recommended size cage for hamsters) she was very unsteady and toppling over to the left.  Once Chris was home we took her to the vets. I was feeling very sad and was half expecting her to suggest euthanasia. However, she suggested antibiotics and helping Panda with some food. The vet informed us there was a possibility Panda had an underlying problem and may pass away anyway.

The next day Panda ate quite a lot, apple, cucumber, sunflower seeds and egg yolk. She appeared to be enjoying the food as she ate. She was more alert than she had been at the vets, with her nose twitching and her head looking around her. We were optimistic that she may get better. After a few days her appetite slowed down. Eventually, a few days ago she was unable to eat. The antibiotics finished on Friday (today is Sunday). We continued to give her water with the syringe she’d had her antibiotics from. Continually through this she was still twitching her nose. Her breathing slowly became more shallow. As she was still so aware we felt we couldn’t have her euthanized.

Yesterday evening as she had her water she was not as responsive. Her nose wasn’t twitching. She was very calm and peaceful. We all gave her cuddle and told her we loved her. I told her it was okay to go now. Our beautiful little hamster so tiny and frail. It wasn’t a surprise she had passed away this morning. I am glad she was able to pass in her own time. We’d had one of our previous hamsters and Charlie, one of our Guinea Pigs, euthanized. They did not look as peaceful as Panda did. Panda looked as though she had fallen asleep.

It is now Christmas day and Panda is still laying in a towel in her cage. This time it feels better not rushing to have a deceased pet buried. We’ve been able to go in and see her and tell her again that we love her.  We will bury her in the garden tomorrow.  We needed to get through Christmas Eve and Christmas Day by  achieving everything which needed to be done.  I didn’t want to rush Panda being buried and add it to a list of tasks which needed to be done. I want to make the space and time just for Panda.