A grieving pet owner travelled 7,000 miles from her home in Birmingham to spread her hamster’s ashes - in Hawaii.
Lisa Murray-Lang, 46, was devastated by the death of her Syrian hamster ‘Spud’ at the impressive age of three years and seven months in March 2022. She had spent years making him cardboard versions of locations around the world for him to play in - and said his favourite was a mini model version of Hawaii.
So she saved up and took Spud’s ashes to the exact beach she used as inspiration for the cardboard scene - in Waikiki, Honolulu. Lisa and husband William, 66, took a 10-day trip - including three flights via Amsterdam and Los Angeles, and a 4-star hotel booking. And on the final day of their trip, they scattered his ashes during an emotional ceremony, next to some surfboards on the beach.
The professional dog walker from Birmingham said: “On the last night before we came home, as the sun was setting, we went down to the beach and laid him to rest. It was amazing really because one of the beaches I had been inspired by when I made Spud’s Hawaii model, and had all these surf boards lined up on the beach.
“The spot where we left him was just like that, which made it really special for me. We took a picture of roughly where he was, with our shadows cast onto the beach as well so that we could always remember where he was.
“It was a really nice way to say goodbye, and I’m happy knowing that we left him somewhere that he would have loved. There’s definitely a reason why they call Hawaii paradise - it was exactly as it was on TV. It was just stunning - really beautiful.
“We went snorkelling while we were there too, and out onto the water on a boat trip - it was just an amazing trip really. It was a very long trip. On paper the journey looks easy, but by the time we got there we were absolutely shattered. It took about 28 hours.”
As planned, the couple played Beyoncé’s song ‘I Was Here’ and left a message in the sand dedicated to her beloved hamster. Lisa started making sets for her pet as a lockdown hobby when the pandemic started, just six months after she got him.
She handcrafted every element using cardboard and dolls, with some sets even featuring hamster-themed artwork. She recreated cardboard versions of London, Paris and Coronation Street during lockdown and let the hamster play in them.
Other particularly impressive sets included the famous magical castle of Hogwarts - or “Hamwarts” - from the Harry Potter films, along with No.10 Downing Street. She scattered the ashes in Hawaii in October.
Now, as a final memorial tribute to Spud, Lisa says the couple plan to travel to Amsterdam - ‘Hamsterdam’ - later this year to ‘follow in his pawsteps’. Spud had ‘visited’ the city himself in his second favourite display - featuring a visit to the Van Gough - or Ham Gough - museum, which Lisa will visit to pay tribute to Spud.