I actually meant to write this post the night it happened but a lot has happened since then and I’ve collected my thoughts and wanted to write something that memorialized our beloved hamster, Action Run Jones. That’s what my kids named him when we first brought him home from the pet store January 2009. At first they wanted to name him “Race” to signify his quickness. I suggested another more appropriate name and thus we landed on “Action”.
Action was a quick little guy, pretty independent from the start. Although he was terrified of us in the beginning, he warmed up pretty quickly, although he preferred to run around as opposed to being carried and cuddled. I was always awestruck by his speed and his ability to disappear from site. We were always giving him the much needed space required to expend his energy — sometimes we were not as diligent at keeping an eye on him. The cleaners were the first to experience his disappearing act, having opened his cage just a slight to have a look at him. Before they knew it he had taken off into the open doorway. We were left a somber message later when we returned home. The cleaners were “so sorry” but they looked everywhere for hours and they weren’t able to find action. We had thought his was gone but we kept his cage open, left for dinner, and lo-and-behold when we returned, there he was resting in his cage.
There were a few times that he wound up in the walls. The first time we hammered the walls, hoping the sound would draw him out. After about 8 hours he finally came out, but not after he had made multiple trips to set up second home in that cozy crawl space, complete with cheek-fulls of food and shavings. The second time he ended up in the wall, he happened to find a small hole in our vanity. That hole led to the back of the wall in the upstairs bedroom…. then down to the wall just behind the kitchen. This time it was going to be more challenging. We would have to open up the wall underneath the kitchen cupboards somehow and find him. We had left Action in the wall overnight, hoping he would stay put. the next day Shawn put his ear to the wall, listening for scratching or squeaking — anything that would give us a clue as to where Action was. Then he used a drywall knife and started opening it up. And there he was, just sitting there with a little drywall dust on his face and body. He seemed composed as usual but he was fine. We vowed never to let him out of his cage ever again… yeah, right!
We still let Action run around and gave him license to chew up our downstairs carpets as long as we closed the doors and any potential openings. Once in a while we’d let him run up the stairs, and seemed to do so with finesse. He would always find that perfect spot on the carpet that gave him leverage to pull himself up to the next step. Once he got going he could go up a few stairs within a few seconds. But he also loved to run on the wheel and he could do it for minutes at a time. Apparently, though the amount of food he took in exceeded his daily exercise. So overtime Action became more portly and this slowed him down. But he also got older — I kept forgetting that hamsters don’t live more than a few years — the minutes on the wheel became less and less, and the time on the staircase took longer with more strained effort.
Action was slowing down. By his first birthday, Action started having respiratory problems. You could hear it when he slept and even when he was awake. His breathing was laboured and his exercise “times” found Action, for the most part, in his cage all curled up and cozy among the tissue paper and shavings. He loved to envelop himself in these things when he rested. Over time, rest became more mainstay and Action became more comfortable in this state. He came out of his cage on occasion to run around, but no sooner had he come out, he was drawn back again. Maddie and Nate played less and less with him because he rarely cam out to play. This was a sign for things to come. Soon Action began experiencing other health problems: he had developed an eye infection, and while we were able to nurse it back to somewhat ‘normal’, it was apparent that Action had lost the energy he once had.
Maddie found him after coming home from day camp. Action’s head was by his running wheel and he wasn’t moving. It was strange because he normally slept in the piled-up heap of tissue and shavings in the corner. We had to tell the kids that he was gone. Needless to say it was a difficult night. Shawn convinced the kids to write a good-bye letter to Action. In the meantime, Shawn built a little box to bury our little hamster, which Nathan lovingly labelled, “RIP Action Run Jones”
Here was Madelyn’s Good-bye to Action:
Action, my pet, I loved you oh so much. You meant more than the world to me. You were happy and squeaked and ran like crazy. Not even a quarter of the things you meant to me. Good-bye Action and I forever will love you. Your owner, Madelyn RIP
Here was Nathan’s Good-bye to Action:
Action, you meant everything to me and had so much fun together, we played find action, pat a cake and other fun stuff. I wish I could hold you one more time and play with you one more time! BYE BYE Action you’ll always be in my heart. Love Nathan
We buried Action in his special box the next day — the box filled with some food, some shavings and his favourite chew toy!. We cried one last time and said good-bye.
We love you Action. You were our first pet and you showed us how to love. We’ll see you in Heaven! Love, your family