The end came without much warning.  Is that not always the way?

This past week, Sausage, my daughter’s pet hamster of two years, died in his sleep.  A mere two days later, her friend across the street, lost his pet guinea pig, Reggie, who died in the bath tub.  Both deaths were a complete shock.  Everyone is thinking it, but they’re all afraid to say it out loud:  it was a suicide pact.

These poor tortured pocket pet souls had so little time together.  Still, I knew they were kindred spirits the first time Sausage laid eyes on Reggie through the green haze of his hamster ball.  You know, in these days of mammalian social media (that hamster wheel was squeaking out some kind of a code, I just know it), I wonder if something more sinister was not to blame for the tragic passing of these furry family friends.

They were such good boys, and to face such senseless deaths; it breaks my heart.  Why did this have to happen?

Oh, who am I trying to kid?  From the get-go, Sausage’s life was one traumatic event after another.  First, upon being adopted, Sausage is brought home to a family with 2 large menacing dogs.  Then, the solitary closet confinement when guests complained about his noise.  Looking back there were signs:  the numerous attempts at running away from home, the hunger strikes after we ran out of pumpkin seeds, his endless days of sleep.  We should have realized we needed professional help for his PTSD following The Great Cottage Cage Mishap of 2011 in which he lost an appendage.  If we’d only done something then, all this might have been avoided.

On the other hand, why Reggie should suffer a similar fate is such a mystery.  He had a life of privilege and entitlement.  His was a swanky, open-concept loft cage overlooking the kitchen in the heart of SoPo (South of Potter).  His family took him outside for fresh air, exercise and exposed him to cultural events (er – band night).  It just doesn’t make any sense.

None of this makes sense.

With aching hearts we gathered on Friday after school to pay our respects.  The memorial service was held at 7pm by the trampoline.  People came to pay their respects from as far away as the family room.  The altar was tastefully adorned with freshly-picked red impatiens.  My daughter spoke a few words about Sausage, and her friend offered a touching eulogy for Reggie, who was – yes, we know – bigger and stronger than Sausage.  I sniffed into the tissues thoughtfully left under the patio chairs for funeral patrons, while Funeral for a Friend played mournfully on the iPod.

And then it was over.

Sausage’s life…

Reggie’s life…

The memorial service…

Pop and chips were served at the reception.

Hindsight is 20/20 they say, so I will always ask myself, “Was there any more I could have done?”  Maybe if I hadn’t said “no” to the hamster-powered sports car, Sausage would still be with us today.

All that’s left of their lives now are little gravestone markers and our memories.

…and the 50%-Off coupon from PetSmart.

Ode to Sausage

We bid farewell to Sausage, our pet.
Whose death has made us quite upset.
His 3-toed distinctive feature,
Made him an amazing little creature.
And the friendliest, furriest and funniest pet yet.

38 Responses to Life, interrupted…

  • Oh dear Sausage will be missed by all. My condolences to your family. In death comes a fantastic post though!!! Loved this! What a great post. You’re hysterical woman.

  • My condolences on the passing of poor Sausage. We almost lost one of our three Robovorski Hamster in a death cage match but we were able to nurse him back to health. The torn ear and chunk missing from his nether regions is an embarrassment I hope he learns to live with.

  • I’m so sorry to hear about Sausage, but this post is quite funny.

  • My condolences to your kids! Poor Sausage. R.I.P. (I have to say, though, that there’s something about “sausage” and “RIP” right next to each other that makes me giggle. Not good form at such a difficult time!)

  • I am so sorry for your loss but that was super funny to me. I couldn’t walk away after, ‘suicide pact.’ I’m sorry. I’m not laughing. Wait, yes I am.

  • Astra you are too funny! Poor little Sausage didn’t stand a chance of a normal life in such an ‘enlightened’ family! I am reminded of my own little Hammy who somehow managed to squeeze himself through his cage bars (?) to destroy my mum’s best wool suit for bedding material. My mum never recovered.

    • If Hammy had done that to me – it would be *he* who did not recover! Your poor mother! The things we do …. Thanks for reading, Elizabeth!

  • –I pray sweet sausage is now in Hamster Heaven driving his little sports car !<3

  • Astra, it is wrong of me to admit this and I trust Sausage will forgive me, wherever his little soul may be, but I laughed my ass off through this post! Oh my goodness, this is one of your best yet! A suicide pact, the missing toe, the funeral song on the iPod! I am still squealing with delight! Your writing is fantastic! Simply fantastic! And now on a more serious note, my condolences on Sausage’s passing. I feel compelled to include Reggie as well even though he was a neighbor, you know, considering the coincidental circumstances. Fingers crossed that they’ve found hamster heaven! 🙂

    • Oh Bella! Thanks as always for your encouragement – from both Sausage and me… but mostly me 🙂
      If only her fish would die … (just kidding)…

      • Astra!! I just read this comment and splurted coffee all over my laptop! “If only her fish would die…” bwhahahahaha! I’m dying! 🙂

  • Astra, I suppose I should get all teary-eyed, as two precious lives came tragically to an end. But, OMG, I am laughing so hard I can’t see straight! Leave it to you, Astra, to find the humor in such a tragedy. If only you’d purchased the hamster-powered sports car. Did Little Sausage die in vain? I hope not. (insert chuckles here). My favorite lines?

    “With aching hearts we gathered on Friday after school to pay our respects. The memorial service was held at 7pm by the trampoline. People came to pay their respects from as far away as the family room.”

    Priceless! 🙂

    • Thanks Monica! Yes, a considerable amount of preparation was involved in the memorial service (it was too cute) and was able to pass my snorts off as grief (it was too funny).

  • You had me at “Sausage.” Then you killed it with “from far away as the family room.”

    Thanks, I needed this.

  • Please accept my heartfelt condolences. ; )
    I am comforted to know he is up there, somewhere, with Freddie Bobo (Frederick J Nibbles, Champagne Rat) who passed before him.
    May they rest in non-toxic shavings.

    • Oh dear! To think we waived off a hamster autopsy and that may very well have been the cause of death. Now we will never know 😉

  • Yet another reason why I think I’ll pass on getting my kids tiny pets. I don’t think I can handle the trauma of such frequent deaths (those things die all the time, don’t they?).

  • Astra, I’ve been on a bit of a down streak mood-wise, so I thought “I’ll head over to Astra’s blog which is always funny and that will cheer me up.” And so I did.

    Little did I know it would be about death, but reading on I – like Bella – am laughing my ass off! I don’t think you can help but be funny. “…from as far away as the family room.” Woo hoo!! Passing snorts off as grief – did you get away with it?

    Where are the Kleenex? Around here somewhere…..

  • Shades of Erma but with Astra’s voice bold voice taking charge. I must say I am sorry to hear of the family’s loss. How did the menacing large dogs cope throughout the ordeal? i dare say they might be tempted to retrieve you furry friends (sorry). I loved the sober tone but I couldn’t keep from laughing. I vow to be serious (as soon as I stop laughing).

    • She looks down upon me and once in a while, smacks me on the head saying, “Write about this!”
      The dogs are thanksful for my daughter’s attention again and an entirely coincidental timing with waste management collection day guarantees that Sausage will not be resurrected 😉

  • What a great post. I had forgotten about the long line of small, short-lived but dearly loved pets who graced our lives while my children were small. Your memorial was perfect. I wish I had thought of something – fun and touching – the perfect send off. I’m thinking of asking for pop and chips and a poem when I go.

  • I think it’s a good way to be sent off – but am thinking champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries 🙂

  • Pop, chips and a poem is probably a helluva lot more than I’ll get. Raising my glass to Sausage and Reggie, and to you my very funny friend. This was so damn clever. Loved it.

  • I agree with the others, so sorry about Sausage …this quite funny though.

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About Astra
Ottawa mom of 3 poking fun at myself, motherhood, and minor hockey! I am steering through life dodging stinky hockey gear and empty wine bottles.
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