Never apologize for giving something a good life.
We lost Lucy tonight.
Lyssa and I spent a quiet evening in the living room watching Babylon-5 and just before bed I went into the library to check on her and say 'good night' as I usually did, and I found her stretched out on the bottom of her cage. Cold, stiff, and quite dead.
I half-wondered how long it would be, truth be told. Lucy had been slowing down, and she'd stopped running up and down the ramps of her cage to get food, instead preferring to stuff as much as she could into her cheek pouches in one go and cart the whole lot downstairs to hide in her bed so she wouldn't have to move as far. She even stopped running in her wheel about a month ago, and every once in a while I thought I could hear a little sneeze coming from her cage. I tried to get her out of her cage this weekend so I could clean it but she refused to leave the little plastic igloo she used as her den.
Lyssa and I took her cage apart and carefully wrapped her in a piece of one of Lyssa's old altar cloths, and we buried her near the foundation of our apartment building next to the lillies that had been discarded there last season, only to sprout a couple of weeks ago. The rest of her stuff we really couldn't re-use with another pet, and so bundled up in a couple of garbage bags and carted off to the dumpster a couple of minutes later.
Lucy. It's funny. I shouldn't be upset about a hamster dying, but I still am. Lucy's only the second pet I've ever had that was actually friendly (Ziggy the cat is the first, but she's still alive and we haven't been on good terms since I a) got her spayed and b) went away to college). Lucy used to come when I called, she'd take food out of my hand, and she'd even run around on my arms and climb into her ball when we opened the top of her cage. She used to make a beeline for raspberries and blackberries as big as her head and make a royal mess chewing on them; we'd find little pawprints all over the place that looked like she'd killed something and tracked blood everywhere.
She was old for a hamster, two years and nearly a month.
We gave her a good life.