The sad part about life is that nothing can stay forever and hamsters are no different.
They average hamsters lives about 2-3 years however, when they have lived a life of abuse and neglect that time is reduced. Unless someone knows the date of birth for their hamster we can only guess at their age. With the Syrian hamsters it is easier because as they mature they start to slow down and are not as active as the younger ones. With the dwarf hamsters it is very hard to tell.
Death is never an easy thing to go through and when it is a small helpless animal it seems to be worse. In the time Haven for Hamsters has been open we have lost 3 hamsters to death. All from old age. Haven for Hamsters has created a small area for burials that is called Buddha's Garden.
Tunie: (09/06/2008) My brave little Tunie passed away this afternoon at 1:25 p.m. She died in my arms where she has been since yesterday evening when I realized she was making the transition from this world to the next.
Franklin: (10/2/2008) Frankie has crossed the Rainbow Bridge into Summerland. Franklin was a truly wonderful friend to have for the time I was blessed to have him. As I am sure you remember Franklin came to me by way of the city shelter. I knew he was already an older hamster when I got him but I thought I had more time.
A few days ago when he was down I was able to hold him for a few minutes and realized he was getting thinner. We once referred to him as our Hamster Buddha because he was so chubby. As the days progressed I noticed he was having trouble seeing and he seemed to not be able to find seeds and nuts when he dropped them. But he carried on.
Franklin was a quiet hamster who spent most of his time sleeping in his condo but he would come down once in awhile for his food and treats. It was because of Franklin that I started the rescue group. I did not want another hamster or small animal live neglected or fed to another animal.
So as I say farewell to another furry friend I know he is at peace in the garden with Ms. Tunie enjoying their self in the lap of luxury.
Mama/Kwan Yin: Our little mama hamster passed away on Saturday, June 20th after suffering a stroke the week before. Mama was getting better but her little body just could not bounce back and she quietly passed away with all her hamster friends around her.
As it usually is with the most abused ones I get in Mama was the sweetest little hamster. Even though she was rather old and just did not have the energy the younger ones did; she was always nice and never grumpy and never once bit out of anger.
Mama whose actual name was Kwan Yin was never a fan of the wheel or ball, once she was in the sanctuary she had to learn how to be a hamster and since she was advanced in age her bones were not as limber as the younger ones. She was not able to bend her back to climb into cubby holes and she did not have the strength in her legs to support her if she climbed up on things. She enjoyed getting out and walking around on the table and once in awhile she would run in her ball. But, for the most part she was a home body and just enjoyed being in a nice quiet environment where she was loved and nurtured.
We buried Mama and the ashes of Tunie and Franklin in the new Buddha Garden in my courtyard, where they are watched over by Buddha and the Goddess. Mama will be greatly missed by me and the other critters but we all know she is much happier in Summerland where she is out of pain and only knows pure happiness and joy.
The Epidemic - Ava, Sophia, Emma & Laki
HfH took in several dwarf hamsters at the same time. We knew that many of them were in breed, which means that as litters came about they were not separated properly and continued to mate and have more babies. Most of the hamsters were separated immediately upon arrival at the sanctuary due to fighting and personality issues. Many of the hamsters were successfully adopted out. However, the few that were left quickly started showing signs of illness. With hamsters and all small critters once the symptoms start appearing you have to act quickly in order to save them and in some case we found that no matter how quickly you act and no matter what care you give some die anyway. During the epidemic we lost Emma, Sophia, Ava and Laki. At this point we still did not know what we were dealing with. The next to show signs of illness was Lucy and Raja. Both started out the same way the only difference was lucy developed sores and Raja started losing his hair. It was determined that a parasite had infact caused the previous death and the illness of Lucy and Raja. However, it did not affect the Syrians, gerbils or mice; only the dwarfs. Lucy and Raja both survived their illness and show no last effects except that Raja now has a bald spot. It does not matter how a hamster passes away, it is hard breaking every time we lose one, no matter how long they have been with us. It is even more heart breaking when you can not seem to save them no matter what you do or try and no matter what vet care they receive. We have learned new things with this epidemic. All new hamsters coming into the sanctuary are now quarantined for 4 weeks away from the others. We do not know if this will help or not only time will tell.
Parker: By far this is the hardest lose we have experienced in the history of HfH. Parker has been part of our group since he was 6 weeks old and came to us in July of 2008. He arrived with his sister Guine and immediately became a favorite of everyone. Parker fell ill on Saturday, October 3 and quietly passed away in his sleep on October 4th. There was no signs of illness until Saturday and once they appeared we tried everything we knew to do to save him but it was not enough. It is hard to remember that animals come into our lives for a short time. While they are with us we love them and care for them and nurture them and they in return give us unconditional love. I am happy to say that Parker and his brother Guine have never known a day of mistreatment, they were the product of 2 loving boys who both had hamsters that played together everyday. Unfortunately one hamster was a boy and one was a girl and soon after babies arrived. The tears still flow when I think of Parker and the hole that has been left in our sanctuary family will be felt for many years to come.
Ginger: Sadness has come to the sanctuary again. We lost of Ginger to illness last week. Ginger started showing signs of sickness so we took her to visit Dr. Heidrich at Town and Country Animal Hospital. He was sure she had an infection but she was too sick to run tests to determine what was the cause. We put her on antibiotics and calorie supplements and hoped for the best. Unfortunately Ginger was too sick to overcome her infection. The sanctuary is mourning the loss and Ginger will always hold a special place in our hearts.
Lance: On of the original founding members of Haven for Hamsters has passed away. Lance was the 2nd hamster to join the sanctuary. We would often joke that Lace was a million years old. For a hamster Lance was very old, as he aged he lost his eyesight but that did not bother him. He knew where everything was in his cage. It did make cleaning his cage a bit of a challenge. We had to make sure everything went back in EXACTLY as it came out. Lance passed away in his sleep to join his friends on the other side. We are comforted in the knowledge that Lance never knew a day of abuse in his life. He came from a loving family and was loved by us until the end. Rest in Peace Little Boy.
Raavi: Raavi our little grey dwarf hamster succumbed to cancer this week. Back in January I discovered Raavi had a tumor growing on his belly. He was taken to visit the vet who concluded that the tumor was cancer and there was not much hope for survival. Surgery was risky and the chances of getting all of the cancer was slim. The decision was made to allow Raavi to carry on, if he showed signs of pain or was losing his quality of life we would visit the vet and discuss other options. No one expected him to last as long as he did. Raavi was always a trooper and never let his tumors get him down. Towards the end the tumors were starting to take a toll on him and he was not getting around his cage as easily as before. But that was solved by allowing him time outside the cage to run on the table top. The smooth surface gave him ample space to move and he could easily handle his tumors. Raavi passed away quietly on Wednesday evening. He held on long enough for me to hold him and kiss him and tell him how wonderful he was and what a joy it was having his presence in my life. I know Raavi is having fun on the other side with his brother Raja and all the other animals who have crossed over. Like Lance Raavi was not an abused hamster. Raavi along with 5 of his brothers came to us as tiny babies. We kept Raavi & Raja to see if you could hand raise them and keep them from becoming aggressive. So Raavi only knew love and peace in his short lifetime which is always a comfort for those of us in the rescue world.
Dharma (July 2010) We lost our sweet little Dharma. She was the first mouse to come into the sanctuary on February 14th, 2008. Dharma was a great little girl but she was also very old. Dharma lived a very happy life once she arrived at the sanctuary and she will be missed by all of us.
August was a rough month for us here at Haven for Hamsters we lost several of our animals.
Sasha (August 2010) Tragedy struck the sanctuary and we have lost our precious Sasha. As most of you know Sasha came to us in the very beginning with some serious abuse issues. But over the past 2 years Sasha stole our hearts and those of everyone she touched. To say we will miss Sasha does not even begin to cover it. Sasha's passing has left a hole of darkness in the sanctuary and in the hearts of those of us who were privileged to have been given the chance to care for her.
Fat Louie (August 2010) Fat Louie succumbed to his cancer. We found a new tumor that was preventing him from getting around easily and within a few days he was not looking well. You could look at his little face and see he was not feeling well. After visiting the vet it was decided that the best thing for Louie was to end his suffering and let him go in peace. Deciding to euthanize a pet is never an easy option, but I have to trust the vet and know that she only has their best interest in mind. Louie passed away peacefully on a sunny Friday afternoon.
Millie & Billie (August 2010) The death of our two resident rats was a shock to us. Millie was the first to pass away. She developed an infection that we were not able to get under control. Billie never recovered from her sisters death, she suffered a stroke that caused her to have trouble getting around. She had to be feed by hand and bathed because she could not take care of herself. She passed away with her two sisters, Lisa & Rissa by her side.
Becky (August 2010) Becky was our only Robo hamster and she passed away in her sleep. Becky was not an old hamster but once she passed away we could see a tumor just under her skin on her belly.
Sparkle (August 2010) Sparkles was not with us for very long. In fact she was only with us for about 2 weeks. Sparkles family gave her to Petco because they no longer wanted her. They told the store that she was about 3 years old. Sparkles was a cute little girl but she was very depressed and never recovered from it. People do not realize that hamsters get depressed just like dogs and cats when they are suddenly taken away from their family and put into a shelter.
Guine (October 2010) It was a sad day when we lost our beloved Guine. He quietly passed away in his sleep on a nice fall day. Guine lived his entire life in our sanctuary coming to us at 7 weeks old. He turned 2 in June so he was considered an old guy. We miss Guine everyday but know his spirit is still with us.
Lisa (December) Lisa was the last sister to Millie and Billie. These 3 girls came to us from our local city shelter as companions for Rissa. We knew when we adopted them that they were older we were privileged to have the chance to love and care for them for the past year. Lisa developed a cancerous tumor and started to go down rather quickly. She suffered a stroke while I was in the sanctuary so we were able to get immediate care for her. She came back slightly but passed away with her rat family around her.
Missy and Paige (January) We were saddened to lose two of our favorite little girls in the same week. Missy left us first suddenly and without any signs of illness. Shortly after her Paige slipped away in her sleep.
Midas & Jake (February) We seem to have a trend with our little guys. We are losing them in pairs. Midas died in his sleep. He was always a bit on the sickly side and I noticed that he was looking a bit worn out in the last few weeks. That did not stop him from playing in his ball and climbing in his cage everyday. Jake was the next little one to go. His passing was totally unexpected, he was simply found in his cage when it was time to get out. Jake was a little guy that was hard to get to know, he was very aggressive and would attack anyone who got to close to his cage. He did love to run in his ball though. We will miss these two boys even when they are mean they are still loved by us.
Rissa (March 2011) It is with great sadness that we report that our original founding rat Rissa has passed away.Rissa was taken to the vet recently to have an abscess removed from her face, while removing the abscess Dr. Skain's discovered cancer underneath it. The cancer grew fast and we felt it was in Rissa's best interest to end her pain and suffering. She has been buried next to her sisters. We will truly miss Rissa, she was truly one of the oddest rats we have seen but she was loved by everyone who did meet her.
Zara: (March 2011) Zara one of our original guinea pigs passed away peaceful in her house.Zara and her sister Zoe have been with us over 3 years.We will miss our big girl.
Keno: (March 2011) Keno is one of the 2 mice we have in the rescue. We got them Thanksgiving of 2009 from my nephew who saved them from the pet store only to realize his parents would not let him keep them. So off to Aunt Cindy's they went. The mice are great, never caused any trouble, were never a bother to anyone. Her sister Az is still with us and seems to be carrying on okay.
Kaylee: 04/2011 We are devastated to say we lost our "Princess Kaylee" last week. Ms. Kaylee showed signs of illness one evening when I took her out and she was not walking well. After a brief exam there was a swelling that was noticeable on her lower left side. She seemed to be eating fine so we left her alone for the evening. The next day after checking on her we discovered that she was going down hill rather quickly, she was no longer drinking. She still would eat but would not take any water in. She passed away quietly before we could get her to the vet. Sadly we do not know Kaylee's history, she came to us from Animal Humane in Santa Fe so we do not know her age or where she was obtained. But, she was the love of our lives and we will miss her greatly.
Teddy: 04/2011 We lost our old guy Ted. He had surgery to remove a tumor and he did so well afterwards. But as it often happens with the older animals the surgery gave him enough energy to enjoy life for a few weeks and then he was gone. We will miss our mellow fellow. There will never be another hamster like Ted who just took everyday in stride and nothing go to him.
Little Willow recently passed away in the night. There were no signs of illness or distressed. She was found in her cage where she slept. Willow was one of those hamsters who never did like people and would take any chance she got to bite me. She would even bite us through her ball if she could. But we loved her anyway.
Willow: Little Willow recently passed away in the night. There were no signs of illness or distressed. She was found in her cage where she slept. Willow was one of those hamsters who never did like people and would take any chance she got to bite me. She would even bite us through her ball if she could. But we loved her anyway.
Blanca: We were extremely devastated by the loss of our little ADD hammie Blanca. Words can not describe the hole in our heart over not having her with us any longer. Blanca came in with a lot of other babies when she was no bigger than the end of your finger. She was a tiny tiny little girl and she could get out of any cage. We quickly realized that Blanca was having some problems, first off she responded horribly to the bedding so we had to change her cage and give her paper bedding instead of wood shavings. We were concerned that Blanca was blind but found out that she was not blind but she was deaf. Therefore, for her own safety she became a resident of the sanctuary. Working with a deaf hamster does have it difficulties, they have very poor eye sight to start with so they rely on hearing and smell. Without the hearing we had no way of calling her when she got out of her cage to help find her. So we had to make sure that Blanca was safe in her cage or ball at all times.
Maggie: 03/2011 We lost Maggie this month. We were lucky enough to work with a vet in Singapore recently on some eye issues that Maggie was having and this helped us to understand her and her ways more in the last few months of her life. Thus, helping her to have a happier and more content life. It was determined through us taking photos that Maggie had what is called Hypema which is blood on the eye. There is no real treatment for it and her body did absorb the excess blood. We also discovered that Maggie was blind and this was probably the cause of her severe aggression and not a mental disorder. She was basically lashing out because she was unable to see but she could still smell and hear.
Mira: 06/2011 Little Mira passed away unexpectedly this month. Mira was truly an interesting hamster, he was extremely aggressive which is how he came to be in the sanctuary but he loved attention. Mira was constantly hurting his foot by running too fast in his wheel and getting it caught on something. But that did not slow him down. In his last days he was getting a bit more mellow and not lashing out as much, but we loved him and his nasty personality.
Snow: Little snow with the messed up eye passed away. He came to us with a severe eye infection. We got the infection cleared up but he was never able to use the eye properly. Every now and again when he was really relaxed he would open his eye but mostly he kept it closed.