My son’s college roommate died yesterday.

His name was Valentine, and he was about 2  1/2 years old.

Valentine was an albino teddy bear hamster, and he was a Valentine’s Day present to my son from his girlfriend (hence the name-Valentine!). Most college dorms don’t allow pets, or at least ones they know about! So, hamsters or fish seem to be the pet of choice.

“V” had a great life, as he moved from house to house with my son. His next to last residence, before moving back home with him, was probably his favorite – because he was allowed free (tho supervised) run of the bathroom and closet. It was like Valentine’s vacation home – he had some bedding that he had meticulously arranged (as hamsters do) in the closet, a night light, and extra food with rice krispie snacks. He could snuggle in the closet, or wander around the bathroom, and USE the bathroom.

 It was kind of like a timeshare condo- he would rotate use of this coveted area with the son’s girlfriend’s hamster. They could not live together, being solitary creatures (unlike my son and his girlfriend!), the two hamsters would tolerate each other for about 2 minutes, and then all h***  would break loose – hamster style!

When the son moved home, Valentine came too. He was older, and his activities were restricted. Even if he had the energy, he could not have free access to the house, he would be in danger of becoming a doggie hors d’oeuvre!  He spent more time sleeping in his tissue box condo, and when he felt the need to exercise, would run in his wheel, or step out to visit and watch tv with the son on his bed.

Not too long ago, his eye started to tear and bulge. We cleaned it for a few days, it looked better, and then one day it looked horrible, so the son said his goodbyes (just in case) and the mom took Valentine to the vet.

The kindly old vet pointed out, the humane thing to do, as he would do if it were his hamster, would be to euthanize Valentine. He had apparently developed glaucoma, the eye was no longer viable, and would soon rupture, and become infected. That infection would kill him. Valentine was elderly and such a tiny creature, and would very likely not survive an operation to remove the eye.

So Valentine came home to rest, and will be joining a long line of family “friends”, who have aged all around the same time.

Since we have moved out to the country, we now have a pet cemetary, extending along the tree line near the barn. We will have little headstones, but for right now, just keep a list tacked to the garage wall, with name, d.o.b. and d.o.d.

Our animal menagerie is aging, as we all are, and as the critter population is dwindling, they will be remembered fondly, but NOT replaced!!!! Famous last words!!