For months Songbird had begged us for a “real” pet—caterpillars and yard toads were no longer fulfilling our animal lover’s heart’s desire.
She found her match last year in a copper-colored hamster named Penny.
The whole family grew to adore Penny’s sweet disposition, late night hamster balling, occasional jailbreak escapades, big ears and curious whiskers. She was quite the traveler; tagging along on trips to Georgia, Washington DC, Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. Songbird demonstrated maturity in her care and commitment to Penny, taking on the feeding and cleaning responsibilities without complaint.
So it was with great sadness that, just hours after last seeing her healthy and active, Songbird discovered Penny had passed over the rainbow bridge last night. No sickness or trauma, it was just her time.
Losing your first pet is hard.
This afternoon we held a memorial service. Penny was placed inside a beautiful box and Songbird fashioned a white cross from popsicle sticks. With the “Enya” Pandora station playing in the background, we all dressed up and shared our favorite memories of Penny; stories of creating cardboard labyrinths, her love of broccoli, peeking her nose from dollhouse windows, and sneaking her past hotel front desk clerks.
In our yard is a flower box that Songbird built with her grandma. Every spring she picks and plants – caring for her patch all season. Since “Penny’s favorite color was yellow,” we decided that it was most appropriate to bury her beneath Songbird’s marigolds. That way, her body will feed the garden and she’ll never leave us.
It might seem silly to mourn for a rodent. But, I’ve heard it said that as parents we should listen earnestly to anything on our child’s heart, no matter what. If we listen to the small things when they are small, they will trust us with the big things when they are big. Because to them, all of it has always been big stuff.
Rest well, sweet Penny. You will be missed. (At least until we get a dog.)