R.I.P Dear Bushy, my Zen Baba Hamster

Photo by Anu Anniah

Two and a half years since little Bushy came into our lives. He made an entry on the eve of Christmas 2019. He was my surprise Christmas gift to my daughter.

Without making a single squeak, Bushy became an integral part of our lives. I could write a whole book about him.

Bushy’s life was exemplary in so many ways. He never fussed about anything. He never overate. He kept himself scrupulously clean. And he was the kindest and mildest creature ever. No matter what we gave him, he took it so gently from our hands. He had such sharp incisors, but it never nicked us once. He was a feather when it came to taking food from our hands.

Yesterday, Bushy breathed his last. He has been struggling for over a week now, and I, with him. It was unbearable to watch the deterioration. First, he lost his ability to lift his hind legs, then his tiny front paws. Then he could barely lift his head to eat. These last few days, I took to holding him in my hand and feeding him tiny morsels of whatever he could eat. Mostly cooked rice since it was soft and he didn’t need to grip it with his paws. Oh, the joy of watching him holding food between his paws and crunching through it. I will miss that.

I call him my Zen baba. He was unflappable. He always looked calm and self-composed. Recently, when I was on the dreaded dentist’s chair having my tooth pulled out, I marshaled my inner Bushy Zen baba to stay calm. It helped, somewhat.

Despite so much going against him recently, Bushy still tried his best to drag himself to his self-designated pee corner to do his business. He has always been very particular that way. Even one day before he packed up, he somehow managed to drag himself and pee in his toilet corner. I am so proud of him. My mum would have loved him. She was all about leading a dignified life. He was the epitome of dignity.

I’ve been nervous about leaving home for a couple of weeks now. What if he goes away while I am not there?

Two days ago, I was out of home for the whole day. My thoughts constantly went to him. Is he ok? Is he breathing? The kid had checked on him and covered him with a small tissue since he was cold. But he was hanging in there. Was he waiting for me?

Our warm Bushy grew colder each day and covering him with a soft cloth did nothing to restore his warmth. I suppose he finally gave up last night. I am relieved in a way. It was a miserable sight to watch our active chap fading slowly. I’ve been heavy-hearted for a while now bracing myself for the eventuality.

Last night and today, my routine has been tossed. I usually wake up and go straight to him to pat him and say good morning. At night, he is the last person I say good night to. A routine built over two-and-a-half years that has evoked jealousy from other residents in the house. I feel cheated now. I find myself automatically turning towards his home.

We buried him in a pot. But we were not sure what next. What do we do with the pot? Leave it near a dump yard? Google helped. Apparently, there are pet funeral services. Who knew? For a fee, they arrange a pick up and provide a choice of cremation vs burial. I picked cremation, obviously, us being Hindus and all that.

Bushy left in his pot about an hour ago. The funeral service lady assured us that the service will be dignified regardless of the size of the pet. I am utterly glad. He was family.

A lot of people might find my feelings weird, but to me, he was an important part of the family. My mother-in-law, who has never touched him once, cried too! In fact, she insisted that he be treated on par with other family members. I am grateful to her for making me think that way. That prompted me to look for funeral services.

And that’s that. The end of two and a half glorious years of staring at Bushy, lying in front of his home and watching his cute antics, wondering what new treat to buy for him, reading up about hamsters, gushing over how cute he is, and filling up my phone with his pics and videos.

We miss you Bushy. I hope you are in a happy place!

More about Bushy

Clearly, I’ve had a lot to say about Bushy. Here are several articles dedicated to him.

Hamster Tales – They Eat Their Own Poop

I am Being Accused of Double Standards in Parenting

Hamster Haiku

Hamster Tugs the Heartstrings

Hamster Tales – They Eat Their Own Poop

I am Being Accused of Double Standards in Parenting by my Daughter

Hamster Tugs the Heartstrings

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