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Old 04-01-2019, 05:36 AM   #1
Ziggy Hamster
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Unhappy I'm so sorry Jean Michel

2 weeks ago, Jean Michel passed away. I've been feeling so guilty that I've only just been able to bring myself to share this with the forum.

I had him for all of four weeks and I'm gutted.

His cage was too small and while I was building him a much larger cage, I was letting him play in a playpen in the evenings so he had some space to explore and toys to enjoy.

One evening he escaped, he managed to climb up one of the toys and stretch over to the top of the pen and that was it he was free! I managed to get him back into his cage within 20 minutes but from the next day onwards he started to go downhill.

Whenever I went to check on him in the evenings he just wanted to sleep.
First I thought the stress of the escape was causing it, so I left him in his cage to recuperate for a couple of days. The next day he seemed fine, came out of the pen, still eating and drinking at this point and looked like he was fine but a bit skittish. The next day, he stopped eating so I made a vet appointment but when I got home from work he had passed.

I've never cried or been in denial so hard in my life. I've been very fortunate to not have to experience much death in my life and certainly not where I've been responsible for the life of an animal. It hit me hard, the guilt, the blame, the shame. I let him down and now he's gone.

I still feel those feelings but not as intensely as before. It's been three weeks since he passed and last week I got another hamster.

I didn't intend to, I was just looking to see what the local pet shops had but then I saw this tiny 8 week old male hamster who was smaller than all his litter mates but was the most curious and less fearful. My heart melted.

I'll never forget Jean Michel though.
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Old 04-01-2019, 06:32 AM   #2
cypher
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Default Re: I'm so sorry Jean Michel

So sorry for your loss, it's very hard to lose a hamster so soon, even when we're careful accidents just happen sometimes, try not to feel too bad, you did your best for him.

Run free & play well at the bridge Jean Michel.
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Old 04-01-2019, 06:58 AM   #3
Ria P
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Default Re: I'm so sorry Jean Michel

I don't think it was your fault that your hamster died. A lot of hamsters live in too small cages because that's what the pet shops sell. The other day a 6 year old girl was in front at the check out queue carrying a pink cage with her new hamster in it. She did not need her parent's help. I don't think a taste of freedom can kill a hamster so don't be too hard on yourself.
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Old 04-01-2019, 09:36 AM   #4
souffle
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Default Re: I'm so sorry Jean Michel

I am sorry for your loss. I don't think it was anything to do with his short escape. It sounds like there was something wrong inside that just gave out.
Run free at the bridge Jean Michel x
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Old 04-01-2019, 10:41 AM   #5
Serendipity7000
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Default Re: I'm so sorry Jean Michel

I agree with Soufflé xxx. Escaping from the playpen wouldn’t cause him to get sick and die and neither would being in a small cage for the short time you had him. As the smallest of the litter he is more likely to have had some congenital weakness. This has happened to people before - usually with pet shop hamsters where the breeding has not been the greatest. Interbreeding can mean they are born with something not visible. So unless you had something like rat poison lying around that he ate it is highly unlikely that his escape had anything to do with it at all. They are normally quite hardy and robust health wise.

It is a very hard loss though with a new baby hamster. So sorry for your loss xxx I am sure when you have had time to have a little goodbye ceremony or burial and some time that you will want another hamster to nurture and love. Come on here first and get some opinions on your cage set up so you know everything is just right before they move in. But honestly our last hammy was also in a small unsuitable cage for a few weeks and came to no harm - other than he was bar chewing for a short time.

Your little boy is playing free over the rainbow bridge now.
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Old 04-02-2019, 09:54 AM   #6
JennySTL
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Default Re: I'm so sorry Jean Michel

Oh, I am so sorry for your loss. It's not your fault. I know it doesn't help right now, but it's really not. Sending lots of love your way.
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Old 05-13-2019, 08:22 PM   #7
Thin Lizzy
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Default Re: I'm so sorry Jean Michel

Ziggy Hamster, I had tears in my eyes reading this thread about Jean Michel. Please don't blame yourself, yes you had a short time with him and he escaped but, you truly loved him and he will have felt that love. xxx
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Old 05-13-2019, 11:39 PM   #8
Ziggy Hamster
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Default Re: I'm so sorry Jean Michel

Thanks for everyone's condolences, your words helped me work through the guilt and sadness. I've learnt from my mistakes and are enjoying spending time with my new hamster Sarlacc. I still think about Jean Michel every day though, I really loved that little guy!
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