Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Life after Rainbow and Rascle

Last week was not a good week to be a pet in our house. Thursday, Rebecca’s betta fish, Rainbow Plum, died. That fish has been with us for almost four years. And Sunday, her precious hamster, Rascle, passed. I was afraid the Humane Society was going to open up an inquiry about us.

Rainbow Plum lived in a bowl right by Rebecca’s bed. Last night as she crawled in she had a teary moment: “I just can’t stand to see that empty space!” We’d moved the bowl and the shelf did, indeed, look lonely.

Rascle’s cage was on a bookshelf just outside her room. It was far enough away from her so that his nocturnal calisthenics didn’t keep her up; it was just close enough to our room to wake me, however. For the last two nights I haven’t heard anything and that’s kept me up.

When Rainbow Plum died we were in the midst of Seussical and getting ready for family to arrive. I assume Sean flushed the fish. I was glad not to be a part of that. I’ve taken care of my share of dead fish; watching them swirl in the toilet bowl is not my idea of a good time. For Rascle, though, a proper burial was in order.  Rebecca carefully lined a Kleenex box with some of Rascle’s cotton bedding (I cannot believe it, but I spared no expense on that hamster) and gently placed him in. Sean put extra bedding on top so no one could see Rascle when we buried him. Rebecca picked a spot by her garden and we had a quiet ceremony in the backyard for our dear pet. I mean Rebecca’s dear pet.

(Dadgum how did I get so stinking attached to a hamster?! I don’t like pets. I don’t want pets. Pets are a mess. But darn it all if I didn’t love that hamster.)

Rebecca placed flowers over the grave and we all cried a bit together. Okay, fine, she and I cried. She hasn’t wanted to do anything with his cage or toys, so they’re still on the bookshelf, all labeled with his name in Rebecca font.

There’s been no mention of replacing the fish or the hamster. It will be easier if we don’t; we have several trips planned this summer and since our hamster-watchers moved I haven’t been able to find a Rebecca-approved hamster-sitter. I think we’ll go without either for a while. And I am perfectly fine with that because I am in no hurry to fall in love with another animal whose life span is only two years. Because in two years Michael leaves for college and that will be enough drama for me without dealing with the death of a hamster, too.