A SCOTS family held a funeral for their four-month-old hamster – complete with an order of service, tributes, hymns and a poetry recital.
Megan Syme and John McKnight decided to give Jerry Jr a special send off earlier this month after their six-year-old son Reuben questioned why his pet’s life shouldn’t be celebrated like everybody else’s.
An order of service was printed out for all attendees and included a photograph of Jerry on the front alongside the words: “In loving memory of Jerry Jr McKnight. June 2022 – 4 Oct 2022.”
Inside included a written tribute to the beige-coloured rodent, detailing what a pleasure it was to have him as part of the family and how much they would miss hearing him on his wheel.
The family then sang hymns and recited poetry before enjoying a buffet at the end of the service.
Jerry was later buried in the back garden in an old iPhone box “coffin” alongside flowers that Reuben and his three-year-old brother Lewis picked.
The thoughtful gesture was prompted after Reuben asked Megan, 29, and Jon, 29, when the priest was coming to perform the hamster’s last rites – a penance in which a sick or dying person receives forgiveness for their sins in life so as to reach heaven.
Speaking today (MON), school admin worker Megan said : “Jerry died suddenly on October 4. My wee boy, Reuben, was devastated and wanted to bury him in our garden.
“We printed a picture of Jerry and he slept with it under his pillow. He said we had to have a proper funeral and asked if a ‘funeral man’ was coming to do the service.
“I said that we wouldn’t have a humanist funeral or a priest but that we would just do it as a family. His dad, Jon, made an order of service with Jerry’s picture on it.
“Reuben had picked a song he wanted to sing (‘One Bread, One Body’) as he sings it at school. Jon put a poem inside called ‘Rainbow Bridge’ about pets that had passed away.
“We gathered around the grave that Jon had dug out earlier and Reuben said a few words about how much he loved Jerry and how much he would miss him. We then played the song and all sang along.
“I then read the poem out and then Reuben placed Jerry, who was put in an old iPhone box as a coffin, into the ground.
“Jon covered the grave and Reuben put flowers in the top.”
Megan added: “His little brother Lewis didn’t want to come to the grave as he had found a chocolate biscuit and said it was freezing outside.
“We were unsure of how he died and were arguing over who’s fault it was. I’d been feeding him cheese regularly, he loved it and looked so cute eating it.
“But I saw in a recent headline how some of the pet chew toys that you put in cages can be fatal for pets and this included the exact same toy we had bought from Pets at Home.
“Jerry loved and had eaten his way through a lot of it. I think that might be what’s killed him!”