Roy, Roy, Roy...

Le Roy est mort. Vive le Roy.

In The Big Book of Dwarf Hamsters (7th edition, Scritchinghouse), Roy's lengthy entry contains two abbreviations worth noting: e.R. (early Roy) and l.R. (later Roy).

The earlier period refers to the first year or so of Roy's life after being adopted (at an already mature age, albeit barely), and it is mostly an enumeration of those hamsters which had to leave the Village of Bro-pals due to Roy's perpetually cranky, bossy mood. (A few contemporary scholars have cited his diabetes as a factor in his temperament, pointing to the repercussions from the deluge of territorial pee he was forced to create, but this is not a universal opinion.)

First Paul left, then Neil, then Julian and Glenn together, until it was just Roy and Dudley. Roy couldn't bully or intimidate Dudley because Dudley has never let anything in his life bother him.

Little writing exists documenting this middle, idyllic period of Roy's life. He slept here. He slept there. He always slept with Dudley. They lived in the bathroom. It was a quiet existence, their only quirk being that they liked their ceramic pumpkin hideyhole to be on its side, creating a wide door, and a bit of a Wizard of Oz effect.

How Roy Prefers It

Cauliflower grew in Roy's ears. Dudley turned grey(er). They were growing old together.

The l.R. time frame is generally acknowledged to bracket the final two months of Roy's life. Roy suffered perhaps a stroke, for he was no longer able to use his back leg for locomotion or even to hold himself upright. And yet, he still managed to scoot to wherever he wanted to go. His only limitation was that he couldn't reach the water bottle.

And so, he was watered by hand several times a day (because of the diabetes) until technology progressed to where he could be raised on a hill of fluffins throughout the day and left to enjoy the water bottle within reach. When done, he burrowed down through the fluffy, white bedding to the next napping spot.

Still, surely he could not last long.

Then he was discovered coated from neck to tail in thick goo, a viscous gel that continued to flow in measurable gobs for the following hour from a ruptured abscess. Let's not forget the powerful stink of it. A one-ham Civil War battlefield of doctorin' took place.

The end was surely near. He screamed once as his wound was cleaned, possibly the only sound he ever made in his life.

The medic on duty would not see him suffer a moment further, not even long enough to rustle up an after-hours vet. A vintage bottle of Jack Daniels' Lemonade was produced from the back of a dusty cupboard. If the booze did not kill him, perhaps the sugar would.

Roy, who had refused water, drank eagerly from the proffered capful.

And then he drifted away.

And woke two hours later, his usual, nonchalant self. Ate some seeds never looked back.

The last six weeks of Roy's life passed without incident. He scooted and slept here. He scooted and slept there. Dudley no longer slept with him. That was sad to see, but neither of them seemed to notice.

How Roy Spooks Me

Then, a few days ago, it was noticed that Roy was now actually able to lift himself up to the water bottle again. Not enough to stop the assisted drinking, but enough to get the odd sip.

And Dudley started trying to sleep with him, and vice versa. One afternoon Dudley spent over an hour trying to get into the pumpkin where Roy was. And Roy was discovered wiggling into the sand tunnel to join Dudley in his SUV.

It was like old times. I began to almost believe that our little Rasputin might even walk again. If any ham could...

In the next edition of The Big Book of Dwarf Hamsters, Roy will still have his customary noms de nom under his photo: Roysenberry. Bumblenose.

But beneath that, in italics: Fighter.


Mid-2010 (adopted November 2010) - 23 October 2012

24 October 2012 |

Previously: Clark
Next: Julian






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Carnival Splendor (2009)
Carnival Spirit (2010)
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