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Old 06-05-2013, 09:02 PM   #1
LokiWolf
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Default RIP Charlotte, a little white light in my life

About a month ago, Charlotte, my first and eldest hamster, died. She deserves a memorial as she was such a great hamster. She lived a good life and passed at about 2 years and 2 months if my estimate of her age when I first got her was correct. I must warn you, this is extremely long.

2011 began with me wanting a hamster, a Roborovski to be exact. I had been interested in them for awhile and I began to voice my desire for wanting a hamster. Parents of course were against it, especially my dad who had thought anything rodent were rats. My mom just thought the cats would get to it as we've had a mouse problem years ago and the older cats took care of it.

I began to research Robos and hamsters more, reading up about all the care and needs that is needed to take care of these little guys. I found out that most cages in the US aren't suitable for any hamster, but fish tanks work well. We just happened to have a 29 gallon in the garage that was my eldest sister's when she was into fish. I looked into safety measures and saw most people use screens on the top of their tanks and found out about locks that attach the screen to the tank. I thought "perfect, that takes care of safety from cats".

I researched hamsters more and more, watched them in pet stores when we'd go in and get something for the dogs and cats. The end of April, that's when I saw her in the rodent section of the pet store. A gorgeous white Robo with a cute little gray spot on her head, a Head Spot I found out was her coloring much later. She was all on her own and was one of the cutest things I've ever seen.

I increased research on Robos and pestering my parents. I was going to turn 18 in June, therefore legal to buy her and get a permit from the state. All I needed was money, that's why I needed parents on board with it. She was the only thing I wanted for my birthday. As the days turned into weeks and it became nearly mid May, I knew it was only a matter of time before someone bought that beautiful girl. I began to make excuses for us to go to that pet store multiple times a week or when we'd be in a store in that same strip mall, find a way to slip away and get to the pet store to watch her. I cleaned out the tank that still sat in the garage, made room for it in my room, and snuck it up there. The tank was heavy, but would be well worth it if I could get her.

I made tons of lists, lists of things to buy and from where, what is the cheapest place to buy them, etc. May was beginning to end and it was a miracle that she was still there in the shop. Pestering was on full out mode, I didn't have much time before someone did take her. After seeing the little Robo for a month, I managed to convince my mom she was cute, but dad was my toughest enemy in this. There had to be someway to talk him into it.

June 4th finally came around and when I woke up, I felt like "this is it, I didn't convince them. I had fallen in love and now I have to watch her until someone finally takes her from that pet store." I went down to the kitchen for breakfast and was handed a card, I was fully expecting a gift card to a book store or something. Imagine my confusion when I opened the card to find a hamster card that when opened sings the hamster dance song. I was confused as I thought it was just a card, then I looked on my lap and realized the money had fallen out of the card when I opened it and it had fallen onto my lap! It was more than enough money to get that little Robo in the pet shop and everything that I needed for her.

After breakfast, we went to the pet store and saw the little white girl with a grey spot was still there. I got a pet shop worker to come over, so I could fill out the form to take her home. I ended up sending more than I planned to as mom wanted me to get her some additional things for her. I finally got her home and into the tank. My cat, Zim, had been kicked out of the room so she could settle without the stress of a cat. I also looked online to see what age she could be as I knew about the youngest age pet shops should be selling them and that she was there for a little over a month. I settled on that she was about 3 months old when I got her as she looked about the size of a three month old Robo. She could have been older, but three months sounded right to me.

As I watched her that day, a name came to mind but I wanted to wait to see her personality a bit before I settled on a name. After a few days, she seemed to have settled in nicely so I decided to let Zim back in. He was so upset that he had been kicked out and not allowed back in. If I saw she was getting stressed or freaking out, I told myself I'd take Zim out. Zim came in and looked in the tank at the new furry addition to the house and got scared of that tiny white furry thing moving around the tank and fled the room. The hamster was not fazed by the cat or his reaction at all.

As I saw more of her personality and handled her a bit, I knew the name I thought of the first day was perfect. Charlotte, a nice and gentle name for a hamster who was sweet and gentle. I did have Queen Charlotte in mind a bit as I planned to spoil her like a little queen, which she deserved for staying in a pet shop for as long as she did.

It took a week or two for Zim to stop being scared of Charlotte and when he did he started really watching her and trying to interact through the glass. Again Charlotte wasn't really fazed, but she did go up to the glass sometimes to watch Zim. They started doing this really cute thing too. Zim would put his paw up on the glass and Charlotte would come over and put her paws up on the glass on the other side. Sadly, I never got any pictures of it.

Even though she'd let me handle her and she "interacted" with Zim through the glass, I could see she wasn't completely happy. I knew Robos liked company, but I also knew that they could have falling outs and fights. I researched it and after two months of having her with that same lonely-like personality, I approached my parents to tell them that Charlotte is lonely and best thing is to try getting her a friend. They agreed, especially my mom as she saw Charlotte more and her loneliness too. Dad agreed rather easily, he had grown to accept that hamsters weren't rats or anything like them and would even come into my room to see her. He told me something along these lines, "If you think it'll make her happier, go ahead. But if they don't get along, it's your problem." I started going around looking at pet shops for baby Robos. The pet shop I got Charlotte at was out of Robos, another shop had Robos a little older than I'd like, and the other two big ones I knew about carried males. We'd keep going in those two pet shops that carried females, hoping they'd get babies in soon. The other one kept having older babies, I wanted a younger one. It was September, nearly a full month had passed in the search for a young baby female Robo.

On September 9th, we went into the shop that I got Charlotte from and saw they had finally gotten in Robos and they were young! I picked one out and brought her home. I knew a little about introductions and knew that the best way to introduce was through split cage method. As I was putting the playpen pieces in that I would use to split the tank, I decided to put them in neutral ground, a large shoebox, to see how it'd go before putting them in the tank. While it did seem stupid, I was glad I did it. They sniffed each other, checked out the shoebox, and started cuddling and grooming each other right away. I knew I didn't need the divider, so I took it out and put them in the tank. The little baby I had brought home became known as Scarlett and I never had a problem with them as a pair.

The two different aged Robos quickly formed a close bond. Charlotte would dote on the younger Scarlett and Scarlett would let her. They were truly a pair made for each other and Charlotte lost her lonely look, becoming so much happier. Near the end of December of 2011, I noticed that Charlotte was a bit off, she looked a little thin and smelled off. But it was the holiday season, so we decided to wait until after New Years to call the vet that I had researched who did exotics before I had gotten her. While the day was cold, everything went well at the vets', though she was wiggly and tried to escape once. I found out Charlotte just had a UTI and she was given antibiotics. The staff commented that she was cute and they were thankful that she wasn't nippy. Apparently the last several dwarf hamsters they saw were biters.

Charlotte got better and all seemed to be going so well. September of 2012 rolled around, marking it a full year that she and Scarlett have been together without problems. She however started to lose fur on her tail and then her back legs, I caught her plucking fur a few times. I didn't know why she was doing it, but thought it might have been just over grooming. December came around and old age suddenly hit her hard. She was thinner, falling over a bit, and she had plucked about a fourth to a third of her fur on her butt, lower back, back legs, and belly. Every now and then, she'd let a bit of fur grow back before plucking again. Everything seemed fine though and Scarlett had started to take care of Charlotte.

April of 2013 rolled around and Charlotte's age was really catching up to her. I decided to take out the Silent Spinner as I thought it was too dangerous for her, plus she could hardly run on it anyway now. I left the Flying Saucer in as I thought that was a little safer and I wanted to keep a wheel in for Scarlett. I refused to separate as Charlotte freaks out when away from Scarlett and I didn't want to stress her. On the 5th of April I noticed some abscesses on her and made an appointment for the 8th with the vet I took her to before. The vet drained most of the abscesses and gave me antibiotics to give her. She told me that she most likely got them from over grooming the sensitive unfurred skin. We talked about her aging problems and plucked fur. She told me that Charlotte may never regrow fur in some parts if she damaged the skin cells.

The antibiotics worked and almost a full week after that my half naked hamster was regrowing fur, even in places that I thought the skin cells were too damaged. She had a nice coat again, the only spots that didn't regrow fur were a few places on her back legs and a bit on her tail. Her plucking had stopped as well.

The end of April and the start of May I was a bit busy as I was getting blood tests done so I didn't think anything was off May 1st when I went to bed. I didn't see Charlotte, but that wasn't always abnormal as she slept a lot now. I also didn't think much about the pile of bedding behind the Flying Saucer nor did I notice that Scarlett refused to go on the other side of the tank, near the pile behind FS or the FS itself. I got my blood taken May 2nd for the test and I settled down to write the rest of the day. I went up to the room for bed and decided to give the hamsters some hulled millet as they always love that.

As I waited for Charlotte to come out, I began to realize that something was wrong. Even if Charlotte was sleeping, she was always quick to wake up for millet, even in her elderly state. Then I noticed Scarlett avoiding parts of the tank and my mind was beginning to prepare me for the worst. I knew this was going to happen soon, but I had hoped I had another month at least and that I would be there with her when she passed.

I threw Zim out and put Scarlett in a carrier as I dug around the bedding for her body. I checked in the current nest and some other places they liked to nest, but I couldn't find her. I was freaking out and then I noticed the pile of bedding behind the FS that I hadn't made in my mad search. I quickly moved the wheel and dug to the bottom of the tank where I found here. She was slightly curled up, eyes closed, cold, and fragile, but there was no sign that Scarlett touched her body in a negative way. I began to weep.

While I was devastated, I was amazed at Scarlett. Charlotte had died, probably over a day ago and she had to have been smelling death in there, which would deeply upset any animal if they couldn't get away from it. But Scarlett didn't just leave the body and not touch it, she buried Charlotte and if Charlotte had passed in her sleep in the nest, she must have moved her to that spot behind the FS before burying her.

I stupidly had it in my mind that I needed to clean the tank right away after putting Charlotte's body in a small carrier. But I just couldn't do it, I was crying too hard to do anything. I was crying for a long time before mom entered my room to see if I was okay, I had woken her up. She sat me down and told me I didn't need to clean out right then and there, I had a spare bin cage that I could put Scarlett in. So I did that and stuck Charlotte's body still in the small carrier in the tank so I could take it out in the morning. I did manage to sleep that night, but not too well.

The next day, I was forced to move Charlotte's body to the garage as it was already starting to smell from the heat. I was going to bury her in the yard, only question was where in the yard and with what plant. I had found a small black and bright alien-like green origami box that my friend had given me years ago and decided that was the perfect thing to bury her it, it was even Zim's colors and she had the closest "relationship" with Zim through the glass and out of all my hamsters. I thought that was suiting. It took a few days to find the perfect plant to bury her under and I decided on a small flowering bush that's flowers were little white flowers.

Charlotte was finally buried on May 9th. If she had made it a month and a couple days longer, we could have celebrated our 2 year anniversary on my birthday. But in a sense she did die around our anniversary, just not the day I took her home, but around the day I found her in the pet shop.

I couldn't ask for a better hamster to own as my first hamster. She taught me so much and lifted my spirits over and over again. I am thankful for the time I did spend with her and I know she is now youthful and healthy again over at the bridge with Matrim. I love you, Charlotte. I wouldn't change anything. Rest in peace, my little white light that made my world seem that much brighter.
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Old 06-05-2013, 09:40 PM   #2
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Default Re: RIP Charlotte, a little white light in my life

That was a beautiful memorial for your first hammy. She was meant for you , I think. Such beauties are usually snapped up quickly. Your ability to tell a story is excellent and you also have a great way expressing feelings. Charlotte was a lucky ham to have you. You never forget any of your hammies, but the first one is something really special. It's the one who introduces you to a world of delicate, interesting, funny furries of the rodent persuasion. So many people think "Rat" and want no part of them. But once you've had a hammie (the other rodents also apply here), the world is a different place. It's amazing how large a place in your heart a hamster takes up. And how empty that space feels when they leave us. I know of many a hammy who will be there to meet and play with Charlotte at the bridge. Run free little girl. I know you'll be missed.
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Old 06-05-2013, 10:30 PM   #3
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Default Re: RIP Charlotte, a little white light in my life

A very lovely memorial.

I am so very sorry for your loss. I know all too well right now how much it hurts. And I hope time allows your heart to heal.

Run free, Beautiful Charlotte. xxxx
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Old 06-06-2013, 05:57 AM   #4
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Default Re: RIP Charlotte, a little white light in my life

I'm very sorry for your loss... Just hope that the memories you have shared with her will bring many smiles to your lips...

Enjoy the Bridge, little one...

Annie xx
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Old 06-06-2013, 06:11 AM   #5
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Default Re: RIP Charlotte, a little white light in my life

lovely memorial...so sorry for your loss..
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Old 06-06-2013, 08:29 AM   #6
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Default Re: RIP Charlotte, a little white light in my life

That was a very lovely memorial Lokiwolf <3 Charlotte had a wonderful life with you xx
Sleep tight little Charlotte xx and be strong Lokiwolf, cherish the good memories you had together and let that be what you remember and what keeps you going. xx
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Old 06-06-2013, 09:03 AM   #7
LokiWolf
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Default Re: RIP Charlotte, a little white light in my life

Thank you for all the kind words. I will cherish every memory I have of her, even some of the saddest and most worrisome ones. I know she's watching from the bridge, looking out for us all, but I wish she'd send Scarlett a sign to stop mourning, to move on from her depression.

Yes, her death turned out to be harder for Scarlett than I thought. Some of her behavior is worrying me, but I'm waiting to see if some of it gets a little better with some things before making a thread about it. But I may make one sooner than I planned because one behavior is very worrisome.
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Old 06-06-2013, 12:52 PM   #8
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Default Re: RIP Charlotte, a little white light in my life

What a lovely girl, it was beautiful to read your memorial and about Charlotte's life with you, she was clearly so well loved. Play well little lady xx
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Old 06-06-2013, 02:24 PM   #9
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Default Re: RIP Charlotte, a little white light in my life

A really beautiful memorial. Charlotte was so very lucky to have you,as you was her. Hope you and scarlett are ok. So sorry for your loss.
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Old 06-06-2013, 04:11 PM   #10
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Default Re: RIP Charlotte, a little white light in my life

So very sorry to hear that Charlotte has passed. Never doubt that they know and feel our love for them. Thank you for making Charlotte's life a joyful one.
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