A lot has been written about how to handle the death of a pet in your family. Very little has been written on how to handle the death of a pet while on a playdate. More specifically, a hamster.
I’m here to fill that void.
Last weekend, my kids were on a playdate at the house of a neighborhood friend. The friend is a lovely 3rd grader named Ava and my children were delighted to be at her house for the first time.
After exploring her toys which are the same as our toys but totally amazing and fun in a different house, they decided to play with the little girl’s hamster.
And that’s when there was the first inkling of foreshadowing that something might not be right when this little girl said to her mom, “Sami the hamster won’t wake up for everyone!”
Now because I am well versed in animals that don’t wake up…. due to the fact that I once had a “sleeping” raccoon in my yard, I knew we might be in trouble.
The mother went upstairs to investigate the sleepy hamster and quickly yelled down, “We have to cut short the playdate for today.” And then the little girl Ava came downstairs with tears running down her face.
“Children! It’s time to go!” I called out. “We’ll come back and play another day!! Thank you!” And I rushed them out the door.
But it a dramatic plot twist, the hamster was apparently still breathing. But very listless. So after we left, my friend put him on a heating pad because he seemed cold. Bless her sweet heart because that is a kind thing to do for your kid’s hamster. I’m not sure it’s medical protocol, but very nice indeed.
I offered to text my friend who is a vet in NYC but it was too late. The hamster died shortly after.
I explained to my 4 year old twins and 8 year old who were all at the playdate that Sami the hamster had passed away but he had lived a short but vibrant life.
They seemed okay with it and my 4 year old son updated the rest of our family… “We went on a playdate today and Ava’s hamster died but it’s okay because she has a lot of other pets.”
Ava has already gotten a new hamster… an adorable little rodent named Delilah who apparently poops in her wheel. I wish her a long, happy life.