Friday, October 18, 2013

Hamster parenting

Rosie by PhylB
Rosie, a photo by PhylB on Flickr.
It's been a difficult couple of weeks on the hamster front. First there was Brock. I found out how looking after someone else's hamster is even more stressful that looking after your own...


Linda had left him here about ten days. We had one day to go. I even walked past his cage and distinctly remember thinking - he's been no trouble at all! He heard my thoughts...

I'm not sure who didn't put the lid on his cage properly - my money is on Léon as he fed him that night, but to be honest it might even have been me as I emptied his toilet. I've been a little distracted and swamped recently. It was 8am and I went into the living room to get the school clothes. I noticed the lid was squint. But Brock would still be in his wee house of course because Brock is timid and wouldn't say boo to a passing child... I took it off, his wee house was empty. I dug aimlessly in the sand and straw. I could see it wasn't deep enough to conceal him but he had to be there because I couldn't lose him 24 hours before pick-up. A two hour hamster hunt began. Of course he had potentially been out for 12 hours. Marcel had been in and out the back door to work. OMG - had he left the building? Was he under the number 4 bus? No sign.

When Rosie goes missing you rattle her food and she's nosy enough to come for a look. You might not manage to catch her but you do catch a glimpse of her so you know she's alive and well and findable, potentially at least. Two hours on, there was no sign of the wee bugger, nothing, nada...

Desperate measures were called for. Our hamster ball is broken but Rosie is a girl and Brock is a boy. Thomas put Rosie in the ball and sellotaped it shut. He let her look for him. No sign in the kitchen, the TV room, the downstairs bathroom. In she came to the living room. Out he strolled from under the couch yawning, stretching and sniffing, not a care in the world. Wee shite! Up he got on his hind legs to smell Rosie through her ball. That was when he found himself promptly back in his cage minus the woman of his dreams... The following 24 hours till his owner turned up were spent checking him at half hour intervals and swearing at him for good measure!

My heart rate had almost returned to normal when, a week later, Thomas was away in Denmark. With all five asleep upstairs, I was woken up at 4am precisely with an almighty crash. What a week to be burgled - there was nothing for it but to jump out of bed and confront the intruder. I stuck on the lights and shot into the hall half naked. Rosie's cage door was open and she was sitting stunned on the floor, covered in sawdust with her hamster ball beside her in two pieces. On inspection she had popped the latch on her cage (which is 5 foot off the ground), pulled herself out, walked along the top of the door and got into her hamster ball which was sitting on the cupboard beside the cage. It had then rolled off and broken in two on impact. So our brain of Britain hamster had spent hours chewing her way out of her cage only to put herself into a hamster ball to investigate the house. you've got to admire the logic in that, don't you?!

I think the problem with hamsters is that they are quite lovable little creatures, but nosy as hell and determined to escape over and over. They are not great on your nerves once you are attached to them, that's for sure!

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