I was visiting a preschool the other day, and they were mourning the loss of one of their classroom pets (a fish). It is always difficult when something like that happens. For the children, it is hard because they have to deal with the concept of death and process the loss on an emotional level. For the teacher it is hard, because they have to deal with a dead animal, and conduct a full on investigation to figure out who was responsible (trust me, very few classroom pets die of natural causes!) When I was a teacher, I had to deal with a lot of dead classroom pets (I will have more to say on this subject in later posts). I had a group of preschoolers hell bent on destruction and as a result none of our pets lived very long. We were the only preschool class whose newsletter had an obituary section. For the most part, when one of our pets met an inglorious end, we would dispose of them properly (usually a flushing) and replace them with a new one. If we did it smoothly enough, we could pretty much pass off the new one as the old one and life would go on. However if the pet was beloved, or if it met a very “visible” end, we would conduct a funeral to allow the kids to morn and to hopefully guilt the murderer into a confession. One of our more memorable pets was our hamster Snuggles #6. He was a survivor, and lived the longest of all our classroom pets (3 whole months!) I wrote a eulogy for him but never got to deliver it (my director was very uptight!) I forgot all about it, but my visit to the classroom with the deceased fish the other day reminded me about it and I dug it up (pun only slightly intended). So here now dear readers is how I would have liked to send Snuggles #6 off to that hamster wheel in the sky…
Requiem for a Hamster
We are here today to mourn the passing of our beloved hamster Snuggles #6. He was a very nice hamster, a very gentle hamster, and before the “incident” on Tuesday a very live hamster. We learned a lot about hamsters from Snuggles #6. Lessons such as hamsters have fur, hamsters have claws (Billy learned that one the hard way), hamsters eat seeds, hamsters go to the bathroom (a lot), and of course we learned that hamsters cannot fly (a lesson we should have already learned from Snuggles 1 through 3 and Snuggles #5!) It was fun watching him run around in his cage, but admittedly less fun spending countless hours searching for him all the times one of you let him out of his cage. We will always cherish the fond memories of Snuggles #6, like the time one of you fed him a cookie and he ran on his wheel till he passed out, or when he had to be water rescued from the toilet during the unsanctioned experiment to see if hamsters can swim (they cannot). And who can forget the wonderful sight of Snuggles #6 playing “leap frog” with the hamster from Classroom 2 when they brought her over for a visit. Snuggles #6 was a fighter (just ask Billy) and lasted for a record three months as our classroom pet. In the end however he was no match for all of you preschoolers, and of course gravity. So now we bury our friend Snuggles #6 and return him to the earth till God calls us all home, or until one of you maniacs digs him up and takes him home in your lunch box.
Thanks for reading,
Big Joe 🙂