Thursday, September 04, 2008

Four Hamsters and a Gerbil

My boy, JT, really loves animals. He wants a dog so badly that it may be stunting his growth. I love my backyard too much to ever consent. Because poop is gross. Really.

So, three or four years ago, we took JT to the Petsmart and bought him a hamster. It was a beautiful, brown teddy bear hamster. We also bought the awesome Crittertrail cage. (Note: For the love of all that is good, do NOT buy this cage. You will spend hours scrubbing hamster pee out of those tubes. You will end up resenting the hamster, and that is really not a good use of energy.)

We brought the hamster home, and he climbed up into his little hamster-cage loft, and fell asleep. We, creatively, named him Sleepy.

Turns out we should have named him Dying. Because he wasn't really sleeping. He was in a coma. And, then he died. JT was really sad, but we comforted him by reminding him of the Plan of Salvation. Sleepy the hamster is now with Great-Grandma Edna in the Spirit World. (And, if you're reading this, Grandma, I am really sorry. I can't imagine that you really like hamsters. But, you do like JT, so thanks!)

We put Sleepy's dead body in an old check box and took it back to Petsmart. (True story: the next time I got a box of checks in the mail, Little Miss was sure they were mailing the hamster back to us.) They let us pick out a new hamster. We named him Sleepy II, because we're all about the creativity at our house.

Sleepy II was a little bit of a biter (but only if you tried to hold him after eating a grilled cheese sandwich or goldfish crackers). We liked him. Mostly because he was alive.

Sleepy II lived a good, long (well, two years - so long for hamsters) life. He slowed down, stopped running on his wheel all night, got so fat that he could no longer fit through the hole that led to his little house, and then died peacefully in his sleep.

After a few weeks, we went to PetCo, because a new one opened up in our neighborhood. We bought Princess, a cute little brown dwarf hamster. She was cute and fun. And, last month while we were at the family reunion at Bear Lake, Princess curled up in her little TV and died.

We took JT back to Petco, and bought him a gerbil. We named him Scamper, because he loved to run around his cage really fast. We should have named him Anti-Social. Or Chewy. Or Satan.

We should not have bought a gerbil. In my experience, gerbils don't really like people. Mostly, they like like running really fast like they are crazy, hiding in their house, and chewing. This hiding in the house thing got harder for Scamper, because he ate huge parts of his house. Running on his wheel got harder for him, too, because when he wasn't running on it, he was eating it. By the end of his week at our house, that wheel was no longer structurally sound, because he had eaten many of the rungs and some of the spokes. This behavior concerned us, greatly.

We put him back in his little cardboard box and took him back to the store. We explained that he wasn't really a good fit for us, because he didn't actually like people, he chewed everything in sight, and we thought that, maybe, he was possessed. They were really nice, and said, "Hey. It sounds like you want a hamster."

So, this is a big welcoming shout out to Blackie, our new Fancy Hamster. We're glad to have you. Try not to eat your new house. Or your new wheel.

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At 6:27 PM, Blogger Sarah said...

Natalie-- pets are like investments. Think DIVERSIFICATION. You know like stocks, bonds, annuities, stocks with cash equivalents. Same with animals-- totally works for me. Chickens, neurotic dog, endangered tortoise, cockatiels, hamster. We got the bases covered. Birds, reptiles, rodents, four-legged creatures. If one croaks, we have our other bases covered.

That's where you are veering off course. You need to diversify. That's the ticket. And stay away from Petco. They'll suck you dry! ;o)

Love your blog! It's about time you updated it!

At 7:10 PM, Blogger Reba said...

Grandma Edna is cursing you from the afterlife for sending her all those hamsters.


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