Endless Rolling Hills


On Tuesday the 20th of February my sweet boy Hamster finally passed on to the great beyond.

I went over to my parents house to work on some projects for the day on Sunday and Hamster was doing fine in the morning. But suddenly in the afternoon I found him sitting behind the house in the shade. He wasn’t feeling well and refused to eat his food. The vet had warned us this would happen at some point, and we knew it was the beginning of the end.

I decided to stay at my parent’s house until he passed. He spent his last days sitting in his favorite spots outside, basking in the sunshine, sniffing the wind, listening to the birds and getting lots of cuddles. Because of the nature of his illnesses he didn’t feel any pain. He was just tired, and had decided enough was enough.

When Hamster stopped eating, that was him deciding it was his time to go. So after two lovely days of celebrating his life, the vet was called out to my parents house and he was put to sleep on his favourite couch on the verandah.

Hamster had a hard life. A lot of his early life is pieced together through his medical records, his behaviors and the little information from the SPCA, but here is what I was able to gather:

Hamster originally belonged to an elderly person, alongside his brother, where he was spoiled and pampered. His vet records show he was in great health. When we first got Hamster, he could not identify dog food, so I think his original owner might have been the kind of person to feed their dog rice and chicken with steamed veggies and doggie vitamin supplements. You know? He was impeccably trained and even knew tricks such as shake!

Then at some point when Hamster was around 3 or 4, his owner fell ill and died. I know the owner died because we were told he was living with the family of his original owner before he was surrendered to the SPCA (more on that later). But I believe the owner was elderly or fell ill beforehand because Hamster for many years was terrified by any time where any member of my family would lie in bed past sleeping time. He would panic, cry, bark, lick at you and occasionally try to nudge you out of the bed. It took him a very long time to overcome his anxiety over people lying in bed all day. He didn’t mind if you lay on the floor or couch, just not a bed.

Once his owner passed away, he passed hands into family members. I don’t know how many times he passed hands or what really happened to him. Nobody knows as his vet records went dark for a year after this. But he and his brother were abused horrifically.

They were beaten for barking, playing, making messes, asking for affection and even accidentally urinating or vomiting. We were able to assume this information because… Well… When we first got him, he was terrified of doing all of these things. He would cower in fear if he was sick. He would not play or make any regular dog noises. He was constantly afraid of being hit.

The second way he was abused was that he was only fed human food. But not bougie human food that was designed for a small dog to eat. He was fed all sorts of things dogs shouldn’t eat, as well as being massively over fed until he became obese. He was so overweight he struggled to climb through doorways and up steps. Yet even with this obesity he was still malnourished due to the low quality of his food. In his time with us, naughty foods we discovered he could identify were innumerable, but the most memorable were: kebabs, chocolate truffles, curry takeout boxes, croissants and potato chips.

He and his brother, likely due to lack of stimulation, had taken to hunting and killing wild birds and local cats. Because of this, they were picked up by the pound and his then owners cared so little about them that they refused to pay for their release. His brother was deemed to be a “dangerous animal” due to his cat killing antics and was put down.

Hamster, however, was saved from death row by the SPCA who made a desperate post on Facebook asking if there was anyone who could take in this obese dog in an area with no cats. And my mum just so happened to see that post. So, Hamster became ours.

Hamster was 5 years old when we got him. We were told that due to his obesity we shouldn’t expect him to live longer than 2 or so years. Yet he was put to sleep this weekend at the ripe age of 12.

The years I spent with Hamster are something I will always be thankful for. That little guy will always be an inspiration to me. The first thing that happened when he came home to us was he was introduced to dog food and put on a diet. The weight fell off of him like it was never there and he very quickly regained his confidence and independence with his mobility returned. Hamster discovered a love for running, digging, barking at airplanes and rolling in icky farm muck.

The first time he played with me would have been around a year into having him. He was hanging out in my bedroom and I was changing my sheets when one of my old sheets ripped. I waved it around in frustration and he suddenly latched onto it and started playing tug of war! I remember screaming at my mum to come look at what he was doing. Oh my god! This sad little dog was playing! Turned out he loved tug of war. He was also a big fan of gripping onto his toys and shaking the hell out of them. When he wanted to play he would grab his toy giraffe and run up to anyone he could find, prompting them to swing it around for him. Seeing him playing for the first time is one of my most precious memories.

And here were just so many instances like this. So many normal doggie behaviors he was afraid of doing that he slowly learned to not fear. The first time he ripped open a garbage bag and rummaged through it my mum and I were, I shit you not- thrilled! It was such a wild ride.

And then his ride got wilder in 2022 when he started urinating, drinking and eating more. And then he went blind! Turned out he had cushings disease + diabetes. But this did not stop him.

Daily insulin injections equipped, he was feeling healthier than ever. His sudden blindness, while it was scary for him at first, ended up freeing him from the last of his trauma. Even as we loved him so much, he was still afraid of being caught doing something naughty. So he just never did naughty things. But when he became blind, I think he thought that because he couldn’t see us, we couldn’t see him. And he became so naughty! He constantly snuck into parts of the garden he shouldn’t be in, stole food and got onto the couch when he wasn’t allowed! And I was so proud of him. He finally felt safe enough to be a full and proper dog.

He was fully independent as a blind dog, by the way. It did scare him at first and he would crash into things, yes. But he very quickly adapted. He knew my parent’s property like the back of his paw. He would follow my dad all the way out to the far cow paddocks to roll in shit, following my dad’s tracks through the long grass alone! He also discovered that he could use the drainage systems around the property as safe pathways to areas he never even figured out how to access while he could see. You could be walking through the fully fenced off and dog-proof orchard and suddenly a damn pomeranian would pop out of the underground drain.

Hamster loved my parent’s house. He loved their gardens and the cow paddocks down the back. He loved patrolling his home and checking up on his chickens. He rolled in chicken shit and cow shit and dead birds and possums and even once got into a barrel of fermenting fish gut fertilizer. He loved food, especially cheese and peas, but he would eat anything. A week before he passed he ate a buried jar of old pickles and half a cauliflower that was left within his reach.

He loved my Dad’s old ute and sitting under it. He would get mad if it was parked in the “wrong” place and bark at it. He loved tummy rubs and sleeping and cuddling in my bed while I sat on my computer. He would sleep under my bed in summer directly under me so he could be close to me without getting too hot. He loved going to the beach, and going to town, and more than anything he loved coming back home again to a place he would never have to leave again.

Hamster was loved by so many people. So many people are sad to see him go. But I’m not, I’m damn proud of him! He outlived everyone’s expectations, regained his life and went out on his own terms. I am so grateful to have been able to be a part of his spectacular life.

Congratulations, Hamster! Let’s meet again someday!