Saturday, January 13, 2007

R.I.P. Vino

Friday was a sad day. Thursday night I didn't have any scraps to give to Vino, so I added a few rodent blocks to his cage as I put Anna to bed. At the last minute before we left Friday morning, I decided to check - he had not moved the blocks. A bad sign. I looked in his hiding box, and there he was, curled up, dead. I didn't tell Anna before she left for school, but the knowledge hung over me like a black cloud all day. There had been no warning - the day before he devoured some rice and zucchini that I offered him, and ran in his usual pell-mell style on his wheel. We figured he was about 2 years old, and he probably just expired. I examined him externally, and found no tumors, no obvious trauma - there was still food in his cheek pouches. I couldn't bring myself to autopsy him; I still might not know why he died, and he'd still be dead anyway.

Vino only weighed about 30 grams, but he was bigger than that in spirit and personality. He loved dining on scraps of our fresh produce, and his favorite things to eat were eggs, rice, noodles, edamame, zucchini, cucumber, and watermelon. He survived two traumatic amputations. While at my friend Enricka's house, he somehow escaped from his cage after amputation #1, and was nearly carried out the catdoor by one of her felines. Fortunately, the cat was looking suspicious, and Vino was extracted from the cat's mouth without harm. Claudio bit his second leg off through the cage wires, and after that he lived in a slick, safe aquarium.

Enricka loved Vino as much as we did, and bought him many great furnishings for his new "apartment". Once she bought him a little fake coral thing for fish, thinking he would enjoy scrambling through its holes. He did, until one day Anthony discovered that Vino tried to crawl through an extremely tiny hole and got stuck at his pelvis. We tried pushing him back, and tried gently pulling him through, but like Pooh Bear in Rabbit's hole, he was STUCK. Anthony looked me in the eye and said, "I think I can get him out with a hacksaw." I couldn't believe he was serious, and it seemed far too dangerous. But, indeed, the hacksaw quickly and safely cut through the plastic coral, although I put my fingers between it and Vino as much as I could. Soon he was freed, and fortunately that was the last mishap he suffered.

Vino was a celebrity at my clinic, where everyone loved him and often asked me about him. Whenever he was there, we marveled at how a hamster with 2 1/2 legs would still run so ardently on his wheel, how a little creature who had suffered so much pain and faced such obstacles would still run out and greet anyone who came and called his name.

Anna was very sad when I "discovered" dead Vino after getting home Friday. She cried some, and said how much she did not want him to be dead. We made some token pawprints of him, and she held him one last time. Today as I fixed our meals, I had to stop myself from setting aside so many of his favorite tidbits. It poured rain all day, so he is in our freezer, waiting for more appropriate weather for his burial.

Rest in peace, little Vino, and thanks for being such a great little pet for a 4-5 year old girl, and for being such a little inspiration.



10 comments:

EdamameMommy said...

Oh man, I'm sorry for all of you. What a thoughtful memorial blog post. I hadn't heard the part about the hacksaw and the coral, and didn't have any clue that a hamster could come when called. Most of all, I am sorry Anna is hurting.

Jess said...

Wow. That's so sad! Rest in peace little Vino. My condolences to Anna and your family. This is a very sad day. :(

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Kym said...

awwwwwwwww! =( I'm so sorry, Vino sounds like he was a special member of the family.

~Kym
www.celebritydogwatcher.com

Lisa said...

Oh, Jenn, what a bittersweet post. We will miss little Vino, though we can only imagine what you all are feeling. These tiny pets are so full of life, yet they live it so quickly. He really was amazing and I'm happy to have met him.

Emily said...

Oh no! I'm so sad for you all, especially Anna. Vino was a very special little pet.

paula said...

So sorry about Vino, love and kisses to Anna XX

baseballmom said...

Awww, so sad. I'm sorry for your loss. They are such sweet little creatures, and so entertaining, I'm sure you'll miss him.

chickenflicken said...

Oh no! I'm sorry about Mr. Vino. I will make no gerbil amputee jokes about him, I promise.

Leah said...

OH JEN...I am so sorry...I didn't know. I couldn't believe the title of this entry. I think my heart skipped a beat. Oh VINO....we will always remember him.

angie said...

Aw man, I'm just now reading this after burying our little gerbil amputee yesterday. You're right, the saddest thing about these crazy loveable little creatures is that they just plain don't live long enough. RIP Vino.