He gave me permission, so I’m reproducing his letter here, along with photos. If you want to contact him write directly to him at jybeen2002 @ yahoo.com.
Don’t get to see a lot of you as often as I would like, life gets busy! My life is interesting as always.
Lots of time spent on self maintenance.
Since timing is important … got mine reset with a pacemaker.
I feel great and am back dancing at least once a week. Working Swango … fusion of west coast and tango dances.
My major focus has been on converting a Adirondack into anything I like.I was one of 50 artists invited to compete and exhibit in a Show for 3 months, at the Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill. Since there was a fairy tale theme. I choose to create a ‘Throne for the Queen of Hearts” from Alice in Wonderland.
I put a lot more time then I should. The show ends on September 4th.
Looking for some place that might be interested in buying or showing the throne.
I have contacted the Please Touch Museum in
Philadelphia …waiting for a reply.
Happy Fall….JohnBieniek ( jybeen2002 @ yahoo.com)
Now, you may ask, “What does this have to do with a hamster?” John is one of my oldest friends, and when I happened to get his letter on the day that I Liz and I decided to put beloved pet hamster down. I was able to share my loss with John, and to do something for John. I feel that Houdini, our hamster, would have approved.
Just so you understand the depths of our feelings for Houdini, here’s a copy of the e-mail that I sent to the people who knew him.
I’m seated at the kitchen table, savoring a late lunch of moist chicken and tomatoes, enjoying it all the more because chicken was Houdini’s most favorite food in the world.Today, Liz and I decided to take Houdini to the vet and release him from the ravages of multiple cancers.
Houdini, when he was young. Look at his eyes!
We made the decision a day after Liz took him to the vet to get pain relief and other medications. Unfortunately, he was not enamored of taking the medicine. That’s quite understandable considering that he no longer would even eat a piece of chicken. We surmise that the digestion of chicken was just too painful for him.
We were blessed to have him as a member of our family, and there is a hole in our hearts about the size of Rhode Island, but we are absolutely convinced that if he have talked, he would have told us that he wanted to be released from the suffering he was experiencing.
About an hour and a half of before he received his assistance moving on, I took him to out of his “shoe”, which is really a snugly bedroom slipper that he loved to sleep in. He enjoyed sipping some water from a small pink milk top that Liz held up to his mouth in the shoe. He also was able to appreciate eating two long pieces of finely shredded Tillamoook sharp cheddar cheese that Liz patiently hand fed him.
After a little while, we both held him and stroked him, and he would knew that he was loved and not alone. Houdini then gave me a present. He used a tremendous amount of his energy reserved to let me know that he wanted to “hand-to-hand” with me. That’s a game that we have where he is goes from one of my hands to the other. Then, I reposition the hands and he would goes into the next one, etc. We moved from hand to hand six time. By doing his, he showed me that he could still enjoy life despite his illness. I have never seen any animal better in living in the moment than the Houdini.
I’m munching on the some of the same type of cheese that he enjoyed for a last meal. It has a pleasant tang.
Liz and I saw this day coming. On August 28th, I woke up at 4:00 and went in to play with him. (I remember when he used to wake me up at 4:00 AM with all the noise he made by rapidly running in his wheel.) Walking was now a major challenge for him. He was too weak to do that, and too off balance because of the cancerous growths on, and inside, his body even to go into his separate dining area that’s to the right of his cage.
At 4:10 AM on the 28th, I wrote this poem for him:
A Blessed Thought for Little Guy
When it’s time to slip into beyond sleep
It’s okay to let go.
The sparkle of your soul will live in ours.
The joy you’ve really
Experienced and given
Added to the Universe.
Today, at 9:45 AM, about 1 hour and fifteen minutes before he slipped painlessly into his soul’s next adventure, I wrote this poem, from his point of view. Then, I read it to him.
Release Day is okay because
Darkness is a comfort to me
I am not alone
I know that I am loved
I know that I have brought joy into the world–joy that will live long after me.
I have experienced joy and love that will travel with me.
Houdini gave me a great gift. I was just holding him, and he started to play “hand-to-hand”. I’m firmly convinced this was a show of love.
When we took him to the vet, the process was to sedate him with gas and then to inject him. His breathing was so labored, and his energy so low that he made no protest. I believe that he made his peace with Liz and I and with himself, and his submission was the equivalent of his walking into a forest, and saying, “My time has come.”
Houdini passed over peacefully, in the company of loved ones, not in his cage alone.
Here Houdini is receiving an anesthetic. He accepted this and fell asleep with us in the room, loving him. After he was asleep he received a humane injection. It was his time to go.
A word about his “cage.” He actually had four of them. We continually modified the arrangement so that his dignity was preserved as he became more infirm.
Also, in the beginning he had only one cage, and he was stressed and depressed. As we added places for him to forage and explore, he was satisfied. We had two cages hooked up in Reno, a transit cage and a cage in Tahoe that could be hooked up to his transit cage, so he is always had two connected cages. We moved his cage to different locations from time to time, to provide additional stimulus.
These connected cages made hamster Houdini happy!
Somehow, Houdini was always able to communicate his desires to us, no small thing for an animal that is not even able to whine or bark.
He was also able to communicate a sense of humor, and to show appreciation.
I feel that it is fitting that I am writing this eulogy at the kitchen table, the place where most of the life’s issues are most likely to be addressed and, today, immediately to the left of his cages.
Dad and Alan