I suppose it had to happen one day, but it's a shame when it does. Christmas 2006 saw my daughters' first pet arriving from Father Christmas, an eight week old Syrian hamster who they christened "Tucker". They put him in a three-storey "Pink Fun Palace" in their bedroom which they cleaned out - if he was lucky - every weekend.
An energetic little chap, he was loved and played with constantly - even when he was clearly getting old and tired. Over the last few weeks Tucker became slower and started to drag his back legs. Then last night he just lay there, his breathing shallow, and within a few moments he was gone.
The funeral was this morning, the casket a dark blue shoebox, and I left the girls alone to say a few words before I filled in the grave. They picked roses and blossoms from the garden and placed them on the casket. All in all, a dignified affair and a peaceful end for a much-loved pet.
As my eldest inscribed on the wooden headstone she made this morning - "Heaven Has Gained Another Angel".