Monday, December 1, 2008

alas, poor mario

I knew him, reader, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath bore my son on his back a thousand times...

For his 8th birthday, Mason picked the scraggliest hamster at PetSmart, the one with a nick in his ear as though he'd been in a bar fight. Mario (named after the video game hero) proved a suitably game pet - he endured Rocky (the cat) sneaking around his cage at all hours, once even hooking it with a menacing claw and yanking it off the shelf. Mario loved tooling around Mason's room in the transparent lime-green ball, sometimes getting wedged into a corner but never making a fuss. Occasionally he peeped when the water bottle was low or when he'd picked all the delicious nuggets from his dish, but most of the time he seemed generally pleased to chew on salt licks shaped like ice cream cones and pitch shavings in a 2-foot diameter.

Tonight, Mason risked being late to watch The Simpsons Christmas in order to play with his hamster a bit. When he yelled from the stairs that Mario had bitten him, my heart sank. Mario never, ever bites (except maybe when he was in that ear-nicking bar fight). Even Mason was bewildered, saying over & over he didn't know why Mario would do that - there's plenty of food, Rocky wasn't around, I didn't squeeze him or anything.

I know, buddy; you take good care of him, I know. I helped Mason put Mario back in the cage and we immediately knew; his friend was breathing rapidly, eyes wide open but unseeing. It is a terrifying, helpless thing to watch a creature die; it is a more terrifying and helpless thing to console a child who is watching a creature die.

It is a strange feeling to respect the value of any life, even a rodent's, yet also remind myself it's a $9 hamster; it didn't interact in any significant way. But that's not true - for Mason, anyway. My son woke up with Mario, went to sleep with Mario, probably told Mario all about his mean mom & dad who made him pay a dollar if he missed the bus. Mario was my boy's touchstone when life outside his bedroom was hard, or boring.

He will be missed.


19 comments:

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Rest in Peace, Mario.

phd in yogurtry said...

Sounds like Mario lived a good life in the care of his human buddy. Hugs to Mason.

Shana said...

I'm so sorry. The "it's a $9 rodent" vs "my kid's best friend" thing is hard to juggle. Remind me to tell you one day about the $70 vet bill to take a free-from-Craig's List mouse to PetSmart to be "put down."

Yes, I really did. How do you tell your six year old that Snowball doesn't deserve medical care when she's obviously in distress for over a day? I'm glad Mario went quickly and quietly.

Giddy. said...

very sweet, Mario was well loved.

is it just a little odd that my post this evening was about a dog we found and "rescued"?

JCK said...

Loving a pet like that is a special thing. I'm sorry. Hugs to your boy.

Karen said...

Hugs to Mason, who knows you can't put a price on a friend.

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

Oh, that did it. Never cried for one of your posts... till now.

brandy101 said...

RIP, Mario.

I have had hamster pets in college, and they were always a cheery, fun pal - especially rolling in those plastic balls.

Hamsters have a naturally short lifespan, apparently because in their native habitat they have little to no predators to keep their numbers in check.

~Swankymama said...

Oh no! I hope your son recovers quickly. **HUGS**

Janet said...

I'm so sorry about Mario...poor Mason, to have this happen around the holidays.

missburrows said...

I'm truly sorry for Mason, losing a pet can be devastating.

But part of me wonders, whether or not, you cheered just a little bit in your head when you realized Mason just handed you some blog material on a silver platter.

The only proper way to honor Mario is with a Youtube video of his funeral...get on it!

katydidnot said...

sorry to mason.

Lisa Milton said...

Poor Mario. He was a great little guy.

I bet Mason's so sad. :(

Sarcasm is just one more service I offer. said...

Oh no....I'm so sorry. Those little guys just don't live very long unfortunately. I had the same experience as Shana except mine was a rat. $100 bucks to have the vet put her to sleep. I was amazed. I'm glad Mario went quickly.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

Poor Mario. And poor Mason.

**sniff**

i am very mary said...

Raising a glass of organic pomegranate-lemonade in Mario's honor. Also? Mason's toe socks are cute.

angel said...

aaawww, goodbye mario.

EatPlayLove said...

oh, mario. So sad. We are a petless home and I think that's the saddest!

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

R.I.P.

Lot of hamster news in the Blogosphere of late, huh?

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