Eileen loves hamsters. We have two furry friends that she licks on a regular basis. So, when asked to watch one of her BFF’s rodents for a long weekend, she was thrilled. Upon the hand-off, the mom pulls me aside and says, “Just a heads up that Cutie Pie has a tumor on its leg. I just didn’t want you to freak out. She gets around just fine, so we are not worried about it.”  Gotcha. Have a great trip.

Two days later, I wake up to: “MOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!! Cutie Pie is bleeding all over the place!!!!!!!!” Eileen is sobbing at side of my bed.

I run to the cage and find that Cutie Pie tried to CHEW OFF THE NASTY GROWTH on her leg. (Even as disgusted as I am with my muffin top, I would never attempt to gnaw it off. Mmm. Muffins… I digress.) Anyway, there she is with this gaping hole in her little leg with blood all over the wood chips. I am a little queasy at this point.

“Mom. Mom. Mom. What do we do? My friend will be devastated!”

So I Google “hamsters with bleeding tumors” which displays more grotesque pictures of hairy little animals with open wounds. One site recommends cleaning the hamster and stopping the bleeding with olive oil. I take the poor thing out of her cage, dunk her in water and apply olive oil with a Q-tip onto her sore while simultaneously praying and gagging.  (Wonder if there is a market for pet Baptisms?) Cutie Pie looks at me with her big brown eyes as if saying, “What the hell are you doing? Frying me up for breakfast?” She hobbles back into her cage, soaking wet in water and I assure Eileen that everything is going to be okay.

Two hours later: “MOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!! Cutie Pie is dead!!!!!!!!”

Are you friggin’ kidding me? I try — unsuccessfully — to calm Eileen down. Explain that Cutie Pie is in Heaven and that she was loved right up until the end. She is sick about her friend’s reaction that the hamster died on our watch. And not just a plop and drop. A full hari kari.

I send Eileen away, grab a little coffee tin, line it with napkins and place Cutie Pie good side up just in case her friend peaks. Hmm. Okay, scrap the Baptism idea and replace with “King’s Groom and Tomb.”



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