It all began with a crazy drive – a very long one – in which I got lost, a lot, and ended up spending an incalculable amount of money on gas to go rescue a free baby hamster from being snake food. Since the cage I got from the resale store was pink (very, very pink), I was pleased that one of the babies was a female. She was very cute, in a rodent sort of way. The lady asked if I wanted to pick her up. No, no. You pick her up, I said, and I’ll hold her. I barely had her in my hands when she took a flying leap.
I should have taken the hint.
The little one in my house was thrilled with our new addition and insisted we name her Princess. We all went to bed that night, happy with our new addition and content that she found her way up the half-circle tube to her bed at the top. The next morning, I went to check on her since the shock of that kind of life-change can be a little too much for these guys, and she was fine. An hour later, my daughter screeched at me from the livingroom.
No! I called reassuringly, she’s sleeping! I already checked – relax!
In the TUBE??? My daughter hissed so the little one wouldn’t hear her.
Sure enough, little Princess was halfway through the tube and not moving. The next several moments are a blur for me. I hear the tears in the next room as the news is broken, and I am left trying to figure out how to get her out of the tube since her stiff little feet had caught on the ridges inside it. Having tried several gentle methods, I finally just popped the tube off, held it over the cage, and, well…. shook the devil out of it.
A moment later, I sensed something and stopped, staring. Little Princess slowly stepped out of the tube, looking up at me as if to say, “If this is the way it’s going to be around here, send me back. I’ll take my chances with the snakes.”
So we learned that she fell down the tube occasionally as she slept. And she slept DEEPLY.
We named her Princess Tabby at that point, from the story of Tabatha who was raised from the dead in the Bible.
Not many weeks passed before another shriek was heard. This time, the little cap covering one of the unused tunnel holes was pushed aside and Tabby was gone. The dogs looked particularly pleased with themselves, so I was looking for a stain on the carpet. After much searching and much despair (I mean, I rescued her from snakes, and now THIS?), Shriek III comes from a bedroom. There she was, sitting up in that cute little pose, and wondering what all the fuss was about. An empty Goldfish bag tempted her enough that she was captured, recaged, the hole duct taped.
Believe it or not, she did it again later, pushing the little door open and taking another run. Another few shrieks, another Goldfish bag, and this time a tiny little padlock on the door.
Several sobriquets have been used since then: The Resurrected Rodent; The Escape Artist; The Manic Mouse. I have learned many things: There is no such thing as a silent wheel, they really are cute little personable things, it’s okay not to ever hold them – they’re just as much fun, and I’m never doing this again.
Last night when I went to feed Princess Tabby, I noticed her food bowl was still full. That happens now and then. But when I checked her bed, she was very, very still. The movement of the cage always makes her stir (guess she learned her lesson in that whole tube incident). Sure enough, Princess Tabby was gone. Peacefully, but too soon. I’m not sure why. She seemed very healthy, ate and drank well.
Ah well. She was a fine hamster. She will be missed. And, contrary to my declarations throughout her short lifetime at my house, she will most likely be replaced.