Usually when I call his name, he wakes up and sniffs around. This time, he didn't do anything. So I opened his cage, and put my hand on him. He almost snapped at me -- something he's NEVER done in his life. I picked him up, and noticed he couldn't move. It was like he was paralyzed, or had a stroke. I wasn't sure.
I don't know if he was dehydrated (I checked his water bottle.. it was working fine) -- or the heat got to him -- or if it was just old age. He was 2 years old, after all. His poor little bottom had dried up poop, like he was severely constipated, but I was so puzzled.
By now I was alarmed, and put him in some paper towels to cradle him. I gave him some water from his water bottle, which he slurped up. Pretty soon he was able to poop some more -- but his belly was getting distended. I knew then, that the end was near.
I looked at Maddie, and tears were falling from her face. She was silently sobbing from behind me, as I frantically tried to coax him and sweet talk to him. When I saw her crying, I couldn't help shedding some tears as well. I finally gave Smokey to Maddie. She held him, and just cried.
What a wonderful little hamster we had. Katie was the one who bought him, who picked him out of the litter. He was separated from the other hamsters because he had gotten in a fight. He had wounds on his body, and Katie said "we can nurse him back" and "put neosporin on his wounds!". I was worried b/c I thought we had a feisty hamster on our hands! But, no ... we had the gentlest hamster ever. He never bit anyone. Loved to cuddle in our sweatshirts or on our blankets. Maddie was afraid to hold him for about a year, but she came to be able to hold him on her own. What a proud day that was for her!
One night Smokey had an adventure. He had gotten out of his cage. Mike thought we had a mouse in the house, and for sure was going to stomp on the mouse. When we saw it was Smokey having the time of his life -- I was the one to corner him in the bathroom and save him. Whew. What an adventure!
Smokey made many friends when the family went on vacation. They stayed with four families -- who all had their own stories to tell about Smokey when we picked him up.
Who could forget the time we decided to paint Smokey's nails hot pink? Or even forget how much he stuffed his cheeks with food?
One time I left a shopping bag next to Smokey's cage, and by the morning, he was found with the entire shopping bag IN his cage. In fact, he lined it in his sleeping cove and slept on it. I tried to take it from him after a week, and he came running for it, and grabbed it right back!
Smokey loved sticking a full carrot in his mouth. We tried to get him to nibble a baby carrot once, only he stuck it all in his mouth! We didn't do that again, but managed to feed him bits and pieces of veggies.
Smokey was often found sleeping in his wheel. Such an adorable sight!
Smokey managed to drive Mike crazy.. especially at night. He was called "The Rat" by Mike, and often Mike was seen to put him in the garage in the middle of the night -- because he loved to play at night and run on his wheel.
Rest in peace sweet Smokey Bear.
Your girls will miss you.