Many people have had the expertise of proudly owning a pet sooner or later in our lives. Whether or not it’s man’s finest good friend, a cat or perhaps a fish, pets enrich our lives. I had the privilege and honor of proudly owning a pet hamster, Nacho, once I was six years outdated.
We adopted Nacho from our native PetSmart, and I fell in love with him immediately. Brown and white patches of fur lined his tiny, fluffy physique — he was the cutest factor I had ever held in my quick six years. I typically performed with him by putting him in his little ball and letting him roll round the lounge. He particularly cherished to hurry towards the steps and bounce all the best way all the way down to the basement. Anytime I might maintain him in my hand, he would by no means chew or scratch me. He’d at all times let me pet him gently and mess around with him. He was the little furry good friend I by no means knew I wanted however couldn’t stay with out.
This cute hamster, nonetheless, got here with a plethora of tasks that I wasn’t ready for. My mother and father charged me and my older sister with caring for our little pet. We needed to totally clear his cage as soon as every week, feed him and guarantee his water tube was full. We even needed to clear his ball every time he would relieve himself whereas operating round inside. To place it flippantly, I used to be not a fan of a few of these chores. It was the primary time I needed to bear accountability in caring for one thing that wasn’t myself. I imply, I used to be solely six on the time, so I used to be barely capable of even take care of myself.
As a lot because it embarrasses me to say this, this column serves as my first clear confession that I used to be a horrible hamster caretaker. I at all times “forgot” to wash out his cage, feed him and do different related chores. My older sister would continually reprimand me for slacking off, since she must make up for it. My household’s persistent scolding ultimately made me understand that I had agreed to those tasks and that I wanted to carry up my finish of the discount. I bought somewhat higher at taking care of Nacho, however solely as a lot as a six-year-old may.
After three great years with Nacho, he handed away peacefully in his sleep. This was certainly one of my first brushes with demise. I used to be so younger, so I didn’t totally perceive the idea of somebody dying. However what I knew was that Nacho had reached an outdated age for a hamster and that he was now not awake.
For the primary time in my life, I grieved.
I wasn’t ready for the sorts of feelings that I felt after Nacho’s passing. I had by no means handled something like that earlier than — I felt misplaced and confused. I missed listening to his nightly zoomies the place he’d run broadly on his squeaky wheel for half an hour. We tried to make up for him with Nacho III — we don’t speak about Nacho II — however no different hamster may ever exchange Nacho I. Ultimately, I overcame my unhappiness and hoped that he was having fun with himself in hamster heaven.
Trying again at my expertise with Nacho, I’m grateful for the few years that I had with him. I didn’t comprehend it again then, however Nacho would assist me learn to navigate life.
I realized the values of compassion, persistence, accountability, hygiene and sorrow. Taking part in with him taught me be aware and cautious when coping with extra delicate issues. All the annoying and yucky duties of preserving his cage clear ready me for cleansing up after myself and preserving the home neat. Lastly, I realized what it meant to grieve for somebody — it meant that I had the privilege of sharing my life with a loving companion.
And I do know I’m not the one one which has had this expertise — I share the enjoyment of getting had a pet with so many individuals. We simply won’t have realized all the values that our four-legged mates have helped us develop, regardless of how huge or small. Pets can convey out one of the best in us and drive us to be higher for them.
I haven’t had a pet since, however I’m grateful for the quick time in my life that I shared with Nacho. I do know I’ll at all times be mindful the teachings I realized from him and do my finest to use them in my life.
Cecy Juárez is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Every day. She might be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.