Saying goodbye to the lovely Rosie….

Our little old lady Rosie sadly left us yesterday, but thankfully at a wonderfully old age and without having really been unwell at all other than a gradual slowing down over the past few weeks. Rosie was a real sweetheart of a pet and will be very missed from our home. 

She arrived into it on a sunny May bank holiday Monday back in 2014, which feels so long ago now. Back then, she joined us and our house-rabbit Simba, who ruled the roost in those days, our first male rats Chae and Winston who were only a few months old, and our Giant African Land Snail Sandy. It was a really busy time for us for lots of different reasons – Charmer was very ill at the time and it was a battle to get him nursed back to health; both my husband and I were studying for exams at work alongside working full-time; and we were in the last few months of planning our wedding too, so our world was more than a little hectic – but our new little dwarf hamster was nothing but a lovely addition. Rosie was there that first summer while we managed to see Charmer through his illness, although also at the same time sadly lost Simba very suddenly. She’s been with us throughout almost all of our first two years of marriage, a time period that has seen the arrivals of Harvey and Ty and departing of Chae and Winnie, as well as our Pipkin living out his whole life with us. A lot has moved on since the day we adopted Rose, and she was a wonderful part of our lives as it did. She was never any trouble and always very content – a while back I enjoyed writing this post about her which sums her up: 

https://amischiefmanaged.wordpress.com/2016/02/13/the-adventures-of-rosie-hamster/

Two and a half years on, we were home again this week on a bank holiday Monday –  this time a stormy September one – when it became clear that Rosie was probably not going to be with us much longer, and we had a really nice peaceful day with her. She was a lovely part of our little family, and I’m so glad we had such a lovely long time with her. x

Caring for the little ones… the peace at the end of the day

Driving home last night at the end of a long and busy day, there were more thoughts in my head than I had a hope of getting to line up – until, that is, I reached the animals. First, the horse, drawing into the farm on a dark night and flipping the lights on in the barn, feed piled into his bucket and the stable door propped open before grabbing his headcollar and my torch and making my way across to the gate, from where I could just make out a few heads raising briefly in interest from their grazing down the hill and then, all making short work of identifying me, just my own boy’s bobbing as he made his way up the hill, confident of a reward when he reached the top.

Making our way in he was straight into the stable and nose straight in the bucket in spite of the fact that our autumn/winter routine is only a few days old, and stood happily chewing while I fussed around him with fly sprays and brushes in his short time in before back out to the field – not yet time for the overnight stays of the thick of winter. 


There is nowhere more still and more calming to me than the abandoned barn at night, our presence and the orange glow of the strip light above our heads the only disturbance in the silent yard, shrouded in darkness at the top of the hill, with the lights of the city across the water the only twinkle in the distance. We made our way back to the field gate where we part ways with a quiet and steady clopping of shoes on the track; and, C sorted for the night, I wound my way on and drew up once more outside home, still turning over so many topics in my mind, when the little ones all lined up to demand attention.

Little Rosie must have heard us mention her 100th birthday at the weekend as in the last couple of days she has all of a sudden looked her age overnight, struggling a little to get around her cage and sleeping more than ever. Although her teeth seem ok, some of her hard food seems to have been a bit of a trial in the last few days, so had her some soaked biscuits and a little rearrange of her cage to keep things close, handy, and up no slopes. Nursing her and making sure she had everything she needed while she used my scarf to nestle in and give herself a clean took all my attention – there’s no space for anything else when the wee ones are needing care.

 

Harvey and Ty, our little mischief, don’t need too much at the moment, but are always there to politely line by the bars and ask for some attention and a wee jaunt out of their cage all the same. We are celebrating Ty being fully back to health and off his anti-biotics now – in spite of being prescribed the good-tasting one, the sight of the syringe made him make this face……

 

… while Harvey, by contrast, became VERY interested in voluntarily finishing up any medicine we didn’t manage to force feed his poor brother!


As my husband despairingly said, it always seems to be the wrong rats who get ill! We’ve had this in the past too, with our old boy Chae spending years watching Winston and Pipkin be syringed medicine for their recurring respiratory infections while he always sported a very left-out expression, had to have some yoghurt to keep him the same, and was the only one of the family never to need it! Still, Ty’s plight is over, and the boys were doing fine last night, both in a very cuddly mood.


The pets we have in our home and have had over the years always bring so much happiness and good times; but, more than that, even in the times they need more help or support or aren’t 100% at their best, bring such a stability, routine, and steadying sense of purpose to every day. Looking after our little mischief is one of the highlights of my day, and especially when things are busy elsewhere, is a retreat and a focus I am so grateful for. 

Have a wonderful Thursday – and a wonderful Autumn Equinox 🍃 🍁 🍂 all, from all of us. x

The Adventures of Rosie Hamster

Rosie is our little Campbell x Winter White hamster, 2 years old in March and a little furry force to be reckoned with! She came to us at 10 weeks old via a Gumtree advert, turning up nearby after needing to be separated from her cagemate. Having had Syrian hamsters in the past, and the most recent of those being Darcy, a solid and classic large ginger and black hamster, little Rose seemed impossibly tiny when we first brought her home – and has grown very little since!

She is a wonderful presence in the house, a very contented wee soul who loves nothing more than organising her cage layout, re-arranging her bedding and building award-worthy tunnelling systems to transport her little self around.

In a household of boys, I have always been glad of Rosie’s female company, enjoying Friday mocktail nights in and joining in briefly with my hen do below..!

While very content to spend her time mainly in her cage, which she is very settled in, it is lovely to spend some time with her out and about – we’ve always let hamsters free-range in the past as the rats do in our living room, but she is just such a little minature thing that we tend just to relax on the couch where she always enjoys a scarper up the cushions and a sit on a shoulder, and especially some time exploring in a blanket.

I always find observing the way a solitary hamster chooses to live its life and its whole outlook very inspiring, and Rosie is just a joy to watch. She lives simply and is utterly content with her surroundings and all her favourite things, and is very structured in her routines and set in her ways – although now and then apropos of nothing she will suddenly shake things up and move from one of her little houses to another as her chosen bed, or dispense with the rules and relocate her food store, starting a new little rhythm she’ll settle to with enthusiasm.

In the last couple of months, wee Rose’s eyes have been almost entirely covered by cataracts, and when I first saw this happening – never having seen it before in any of our previous hamsters –  I was worried her quality of life would be affected. Quite the contrary though, she is utterly unabashed and is zootling around the cage, spinning her wheel and climbing the bars like she always has; and – with a new little extra sniff she likes to do first to be sure all is well –  is very happy to be picked up and to come out for free time with us.

She is a really lovely little soul, so friendly and so enthusiastic about every aspect of life, and I just love to enjoy her and her happy pootling.