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 Losing a Little Friend

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Dick Stodghill
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Dick Stodghill

Number of posts : 3795
Registration date : 2008-05-04
Age : 94
Location : Akron, Ohio

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PostSubject: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptyThu Jul 02, 2009 2:56 pm

A Stodghill Says So blog:
Losing a Little Friend Sophiesmall
Our little hamster Sophie has grown old before her time and soon will no longer be with us.
A hamster, they say, will at best live a thousand days. Sophie hasn't had quite six hundred.
From the first day she came to live with us Sophie has been different. She looked over her four-story cage and decided the little house at ground level was not for her. She wanted her nest to be on the top floor and that meant sleeping on hard plastic and out in the open. I think that was because the spot she chose was right beside the tube she uses to crawl up to the top. That gave her a place to dive into if danger approached. There was nothing to fear, but she didn't know that.
When it became apparent that Sophie was adamant about where her nest was going to be, Jackie gave her a stack of shredded paper to keep the cold air from her. On cool days and nights, Sophie packs the tube with some of the paper to keep the cold away from that direction.
Jackie fixed one of the little houses up for her potty and placed it beside her nest. From the very first, a hamster will hurry to the potty when the need arises no matter how comfortable their nest might be or how busy they are doing something they enjoy.
For Sophie, a quiet little lady, contentment means having a large supply of food nearby. No matter how well-stocked the larder may be, she never has passed up an opportunity to beg for a special treat.
Sophie know that Jackie is the mommy who provides her with food, fills her water bottle and keeps her nest and potty fresh and clean. When she comes out in the evening she walks along the table and lies down facing Jackie. When Jackie gets up from her chair, Sophie keeps looking in the direction she has gone until she returns. She tolerates me because I sometimes give her a few sunflower seeds or one of the yogurt drops she loves.
Rolling around in her plastic ball has become too much for Sophie so Jackie gets down on hands and knees and lets her walk around on her own. Jackie's hand always hovers close by so Sophie doesn't get herself in trouble. Hamsters have a tendancy to do that whenever possible. Sophie also likes to watch TV and when there's a lot of action she moves closer for a better view.
Like all of her kind, Sophie keeps very clean. She licks her front paws and washes very thoroughly many times during an evening. Washing also is something little creatures do when in danger. By doing something routine they hope that by the time they have finished the danger will no longer be there. It's a vain hope, of course, but the only way a hamster, mouse or rabbit has to ease its fear even if just for a moment.
Now little Sophie has grown weak. Her hind legs no longer work the way they should. She has trouble climbing up to her nest. I believe she thinks it is only something temporary and her mommy will soon make everything better.
People who don't know about them tend to think little creatures don't amount to much and don't really matter. The truth is each of them is different and has its own personality just as humans do. To them their life is just as important as any human believes his or hers is important. They share the same emotions and have the same need and desire for the basic comforts.
I have never been sure if little animals know about death or think that life will always go on just as it has. They know fear, of course, but do they know the things they fear can mean more than just pain? I always hope they don't know life is going to come to an end some day. I hope Sophie doesn't know that. I hope she believes her little world will always be the same.
Humans know better, though, and that can hardly be considered a good thing. We watch Sophie, care for her as best we can, and know we will miss her when she no longer is here just as we miss all the little friends who were with us before her. We know the time to say goodbye is close at hand, and knowing it makes the time we have with her more precious.
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Helen Wisocki
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Number of posts : 870
Registration date : 2008-03-21
Location : Massachusetts

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PostSubject: Re: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptyThu Jul 02, 2009 2:59 pm

Aw, Dick. So sorry to hear.


Last edited by Helen Wisocki on Thu Jul 02, 2009 3:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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alice
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alice

Number of posts : 15672
Registration date : 2008-10-22
Age : 72
Location : Redmond, WA

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PostSubject: Re: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptyThu Jul 02, 2009 3:04 pm

Dick,

I am so sorry.
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Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptyThu Jul 02, 2009 3:25 pm

Hi Dick,

I remember when your last hamster died; I think it was Joey. You said that you couldn't face replacing him and I said you would. Sure enough, a little while later, you said that you had brought home a new, timid friend, Sophie. So it will be, eventually, you will make another trip to buy a replacement. How could you not do? Jackie's loving skills would be lost and you would get too fat from all those yogurt drops. We can't have that.

_________________
Losing a Little Friend 81KU-cLOw3L._SX110_ Losing a Little Friend 41C9GeFDNWL._SX110_ Losing a Little Friend 41%2BmGkZJdOL._SX110_ Losing a Little Friend 51eDGllZXhL._SX115_ Losing a Little Friend 41y7VHKoszL._SX115_ Losing a Little Friend 51Zs4N4T4eL._SX115_
Amazon Author Central: Shelagh Watkins
I shall never be old. It doesn't suit me -- ©️Shelagh Watkins
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Betty Fasig
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Betty Fasig

Number of posts : 4334
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Age : 76
Location : Duette, Florida

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PostSubject: Re: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptyThu Jul 02, 2009 3:59 pm

Dear Dick,
There are people who think that a small animal has a small spirit. You and I know that is not true.

Size does not matter. The human heart cannot grasp the amount of love there is in this world, animal to animal, human to human, it is part of the mystery of life.

I am glad that you have had Sophie and Joey and Mr. Zip-Zip to share your love with.

Old Agnes is so proud of Jackie! Well, the whole farm is, from the Bully Frogs to the Chicken Hawk. They will be awaiting news, as will Wooffer and I.

My best love to you both and to Sophie.

Love,
Betty
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RunsWithScissors
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PostSubject: Re: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptyThu Jul 02, 2009 4:51 pm

Sophie was blessed to have such loving caregivers and friends as you and Jackie.
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alj
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alj

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PostSubject: Re: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptyThu Jul 02, 2009 5:01 pm

The little friends are special, Dick. Sophie is extra special.

Ann
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alice
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alice

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PostSubject: Re: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptyThu Jul 02, 2009 11:35 pm

Now I hope Sophie lives extra-long.

Our hamster way outlived his projected lifespan.

Our friend even thought her hamster had died and it hadn't.
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Dick Stodghill
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Dick Stodghill

Number of posts : 3795
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Age : 94
Location : Akron, Ohio

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PostSubject: Re: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptyFri Jul 03, 2009 11:29 am

Thanks for all the kind comments. Sophie came down from her nest last evening, took a 15-minute bath, then came out of her cage, walked to the edge of the table and leaped off. That was her way of saying she wanted to walk around by herself. She did, with Jackie right behind her. That used up all her enery so she went back to bed.
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Betty Fasig
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Betty Fasig

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PostSubject: Re: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptyFri Jul 03, 2009 2:57 pm

Dear Dick,
When I think of Sophie leaping off the table, it is tantamount to leaping off a mountain. What came to my mind was those little red maple helocopter seeds that float down to earth in a little whirl. Wouldn't it be wonderful for Sophie to float to the floor a contraption like that.

If one could be invented that we could just wear outside a coat, we could leap off tall buildings like Sophie, too.

I am glad that she is good this day. A 15 minute bath has always helped my perspective, too.

Love,
Betty
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Dick Stodghill
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Dick Stodghill

Number of posts : 3795
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PostSubject: Re: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptyFri Jul 03, 2009 3:10 pm

Yes, Sophie would like that. She'd even use it to come down from her top floor because she is a little shaky on the ladders these days. She will not be hurried when taking a bath, unlike Joey who was so anxious to do something that was fun he'd quit in the middle of it and run off to play.
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zadaconnaway
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zadaconnaway

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PostSubject: Re: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptyFri Jul 03, 2009 5:50 pm

I think many of us have come to think of Sophie as one of us, through what you share with us. She was blessed when you found her, and she has led a good and happy life. No one could hope for more. I will keep her in my thoughts.
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JoElle
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PostSubject: Re: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptySat Jul 04, 2009 8:10 am

Dick Stodghill wrote:
Yes, Sophie would like that. She'd even use it to come down from her top floor because she is a little shaky on the ladders these days. She will not be hurried when taking a bath, unlike Joey who was so anxious to do something that was fun he'd quit in the middle of it and run off to play.


Oh, isn't that the difference between boys and girls?

~~

My goodness! Dick you made me cry!!!

No forum post has made want to bawl before ... but you are a softy and it has always shown when you wrote about Sophie.

I hate it when pets leave us ... even when it is someone else's pet.

I am glad you shared her with us.
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptySat Jul 04, 2009 10:57 am

Dick,
I think many of us share your feelings. I still think about the one I lost. He was special. He brought laughter and joy at a time when I needed it.
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Dick Stodghill
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Dick Stodghill

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PostSubject: Re: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptyMon Jul 27, 2009 11:26 am

Our little hamster Sophie continues to hold on although she has almost no control over her balance. Yesterday, hoping to make it easier for her, Jackie fixed things so the tube coming down from her fourth-floor nest goes directly into the ground floor area. Sophie came down, but was confused and soon became upset. Even though she can use only one front leg to wash, she took a bath and then went to the door of the cage and for fifteen minutes just looked at Jackie, who talked softly to her. Then she wanted to go back to her nest and managed to climb up on the little house where the ladder to the second floor had been. She couldn't beleive it wasn't there. Her little heart was pumping so quickly it was scary to see. I was sitting with my face only a couple of feet from her so she just stared at me as if to say, "I'm lost and can't find my way home." Seeing her so bewildered and frightened is a memory that won't go away - ever.
We began taking things apart and eventually were able to get her back to the top floor and her nest. Our intentions were good, but it created a traumatic experience for Sophie.
Another well-intentioned event came to mind. In the 1980s Jackie came home with a hamster, unaware that she was pregnant. A few days later we had eight babies to take care of. Midge was the runt of the litter and always came out on the short end of the roughhousing the other kids enjoyed. One day she lost an eye during some horseplay. We fixed up a place of her own for Midge. There was a tiny shoe-shaped house that she thought was great, but it seemed too small so Jackie bought a larger and nicer one for her. Midge looked all around for her little house, unable to understand how it could be gone. When she finally gave up hope she went into the new house but began to cry. Hamsters normally never make a sound, but for 45 minutes Midge cried over her lost house. It sounded exactly like a baby crying, but not so loud. Sometimes good intentions just don't work out as planned.
Jackie stayed up all night with Sophie, although she settled down once she was back in her nest. She doesn't seem to be suffering: she just has little control over her movements. For a hamster, 10 or 11 days equals a year for humans. Sophie, our fifteenth hamster, would have been about three when she came to live with us on January 6, 2008. Now she would be getting close to 60, so she has been shortchanged on lifespan. She has been happy, though, in a safe, comfortable and interesting place with plenty of water, lots of food and sometimes special treats that she loves. We're happy about that, but as Jackie said last night, accompanied by a few tears, "It's hard to lose one."
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alj
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PostSubject: Re: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptyMon Jul 27, 2009 11:37 am

Dick, it sure as hell is.

Ann
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dkchristi
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PostSubject: Re: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptyMon Jul 27, 2009 12:08 pm

I'm not much of a pet person. I try very hard to understand other people's attachments though. I have a small parrot, 14 years old, that was thrown down a set of stairs; and she fluttered around on the ground so scared I took her away with me; neither of us ever returning to that place.

Anyway, I mostly think I'm not very attached, just her unplanned "caretaker." However, I left her in the care of my former husband and his son to travel. I warned them about taking her cage outside and being certain the door was locked tightly. I received a call at my hotel - she had flown away.

I was distraught. I felt hate for him and his carelessness. I remember the emotion well. I knew she would not do well in the trees, a tiny Senegal parrot born to a cage. I chastised myself for not clipping her; it seemed barbaric to clip her. I often thought she should be able to fly if a hurricane came.

By the time I drove the long miles back home, my heart was so heavy you'd think I'd lost a dear friend. I remembered every song, every chirp, every word she shared. Tears streamed down my cheeks the entire way home. I didn't want to arrive to a house without Sport. My anger helped cover the ache.

While I was driving (and before cell phone commonality), she had been found in a 40 foot high pine tree, apparently afraid to fly home until tempted by peanuts. She was safely in her cage but very traumatized when I arrived home. She had likely been in that tree for 48 hours in summer thunderstorms, and I doublt if she knew how to eat bugs.

I was still mad until my neighbor told me that my former spouse and his son had driven all over the neighborhood in the rain whistling "Fur Elise" a song my parrot also whistled and when out of her cage would run across the floor to reach the whistler. His son had passed out posters on which he had drawn pictures of Sport - who looked like every other little parrot with a red belly, green wings and a gray head.

I had one other experience with a standard poodle named Lady Ace. But I'll cry again over that one. I'm not a pet person. I do understand other people's grief, however.
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Carol Troestler
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PostSubject: Re: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptyMon Jul 27, 2009 12:58 pm

DK,

Are you sure about not being a pet person?

I always say that dogs, cats, hamsters, pet birds, and guinea pigs have people, not the other way around.

Dick, I'll be thinking of you and your little friend. You and Jackie are wonderful people to this little creature.

Carol
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Abe F. March
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PostSubject: Re: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptyMon Jul 27, 2009 1:22 pm

Anyone who cares about little creatures, are special people. Some of the toughest people I know have shed tears over an animal but didn't shed a tear over a lost relative. I think it is the helplessness of the creature, not capable of understanding what is happening, that triggers these feelings.
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Dick Stodghill
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Dick Stodghill

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PostSubject: Re: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptyMon Jul 27, 2009 3:15 pm

A marshmallow, maybe, but the world could use a few more of them.
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Betty Fasig
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PostSubject: Re: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptyMon Jul 27, 2009 4:54 pm

Dear Dick and Jackie,
Wooffer has gotten old, like me, and he does not like things to be moved. He knows where they are, how they smell before he gets to them. His eyesight is dim, but he has his territory and he wants it all to be always the same. When I wash the pillow cases of the dog pillows that are the beds, all of my dog wander room to room with me looking losts and are so happy when I put the covers back on the pillows and put them in their old familiar places and they know that is where they left them and snuggle into them with relief.

A hampster's world is so small in comparison to Wooffer's. Sophie must know every cedar chip, every corner, every comfortable memory embedded in her chambers.

God bless Sophie.

Love,
Betty
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Dick Stodghill
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Dick Stodghill

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PostSubject: Re: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptyTue Jul 28, 2009 5:30 am

You are right, Betty. It is very upsetting to an animal when things aren't the way they always have been. Maybe that's why most men don't even want the furniture rearranged in the living room.
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dkchristi
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PostSubject: Re: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptyTue Jul 28, 2009 5:37 am

My mother (90) decided it was time to finally redecorate her livingroom - new couch, table, decor, etc. My brother was distressed! He wanted to know why at her age she would go to all that trouble. The real concern was the loss of his familiar comfort zone when he stopped by. It looks lovely and modern.
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Dick Stodghill
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Dick Stodghill

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PostSubject: Re: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptyTue Jul 28, 2009 7:52 am

Yes, but the comfort zone is gone.
Reminds me of a story my mother used to tell. She shared a bedroom with her four sisters. One of them would run down the hallway and take a flying leap into bed. Then their mother rearranged the furnitire and. . .oops, no bed.
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dkchristi
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PostSubject: Re: Losing a Little Friend   Losing a Little Friend EmptyTue Jul 28, 2009 9:04 am

Thanks for the laugh out loud!

Regarding the topic, Losing a Little Friend. I just put my little Sport on the front porch I had screened in spcifically for her and turned on the Bahama Fan (installed for her) to keep the air moving (stopped by the screened porch!). Hmmmm. What was it someone said about pets and who is really whose pet?
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