Pet of the Day

January 18, 2004

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Ib Jr., the Pet of the Day
Name: Ib Jr.
Age: Deceased, One year old
Gender: Male
Kind: Syrian Hamster
Home: Chicago, Illinois, USA
   Ib Jr. passed away last week, so I am nominating him in memoriam. This little boy permanently altered my opinion of Syrian hamsters, who I had always heard were nippy and foul-tempered. Ib (who was named after an online friend of mine) was found in a particularly nasty pet shop. He was too small, had scabs in his fur, and looked undernourished. I took him home and nursed him back to health, and he repaid me with a great deal of love. Among his many quirks, Ib Jr. liked to have his belly kissed. He would rest on his back in my hand and let me smooch him without so much as a squeak or a nip. In fact, he never bit me the entire time that I had him.

    I've never known a rodent so small to be so fearless. One of his favorite hobbies was chasing my two cats around the living room in his hamster ball. He was a definite pocket pet. Given the option, he would happily spend hours in the pocket of my cargo pants. He accompanied me on walks through the park, down to do the laundry, and even to the grocery store.

    He was struck by a sudden illness last week that took his life before his time. Only a few hours before his death, he was happily terrorizing the cats in his hamster ball. I found him barely responsive in his cage a couple of hours later, called my veterinarian, and after a consultation and diagnosis learned that nothing could be done for him. I cuddled him as he passed on, and gave him a burial at sea in Lake Michigan.

    He'll be missed, but I am grateful for everything that his short little life brought to mine.

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