Last night we laid our hamster Butt Fuzz to rest between two trees in the Grand Street Ferry Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
I remember the day that Juli brought Butt Fuzz home. It was a bitingly cold day in March as she rushed home with a tiny new addition to our family nestled in her arms. She called me at work to tell me that she had purchased a hamster. I asked what she was thinking of naming him. She said that she was thinking of naming him either Linus or T-bone but that she wasn’t sure what she would name him. I replied that we would have to just see when I got home what his name was going to be. As soon as I saw him and the ridiculous mud flaps of fuzz coming off his butt, I knew that he had to be christened “Butt Fuzz”. It was only appropriate. Juli let me know that she thought that was a silly name and that he should be called Linus or T-bone, but later in the night when she asked me, “What do you think Butt Fuzz is thinking right now?” I knew that the issue of his name had been settled.
My favorite memory of Butt Fuzz is the first time we ever gave him a Crispix. He was a spoiled little guy, but he was a hamster, so what does it matter if they are spoiled? Anyway, while begging for a treat we gave him a single piece of cereal. He was so overwhelmed by the sheer deliciousness of the cereal that he keeled over backwards onto his back with his little hamster legs kicking int he air. Refusing to let go his prize, he struggled to right himself for a moment but never took his little hamster hands off the piece of cereal in his mouth. We laughed and laughed and laughed.
Butt Fuzz was a kind and gentle hamster who never bit anyone and only peed on the sofa when he got nervous. When he heard me come home, he would rouse himself from his tiny pink igloo and come and dance on the edge of his little house to greet me. In all likelihood it was because he knew I’d give him a treat, but sometimes he would ignore the treat and just dance there, saying hi. Everyone who came to knew Butt Fuzz liked him. Some hamsters are mean or surly and bite, but Butt Fuzz was a jovial, silly little ball of fluff who constantly had his bedding wrapped up in his fur. He lived his life, like his father, with bed head. How could you not love that?
Juli called me yesterday to let me know that the hamster had passed away. She had placed a small piece of apple by the mouth of his igloo and would have usually disappeared as soon as you turned your head, but this little piece of apple sat untouched. Worried because Butt Fuzz had been looking pretty old and threadbare recently, she pulled the igloo up to find him laying there, still. He died as he had lived—covered in bedding, nestled in his food, his wild hair going every which way.
We took him to the park by the East River where we had buried Peach, our last hamster. It is, of course, all sorts of illegal I am sure to bury a hamster in a public park in New York City, but that did not deter us. We just made sure we kept an open eye for police cars. We found a lovely spot between two saplings where the soil was tender, and, with the trowel Juli keeps for gardening on our fire escape, I dug a little hamster coffin sized hole and placed him in. We said a few words and then covered him up, spreading dried leaves over the spot so that he blended in.
I took Juli to dinner then, and I broke hiatus in memory of our lost hamster.
Son, you were a good little hamster and a special little guy to both of us and you will be missed. I hope that wherever it is that little hamster souls go you have as many peanuts and Crispixes and corns and carrots and piece of apple as you could ever hope for in your little hamster heart. You were a happy addition to our household. There will never be another hamster quite like you, Butt Fuzz. Requiescat in pace, son.