When our kids swore up and down that they would look after whatever pet they’d begged us for, we all know that it’s me who was going to end up looking after it, right?  Will I ever learn? A lot can happen in 24 hours.

hamster1I’ve been left in charge of my 12-year old daughter’s pets while she is away at camp. I’m a little surprised this responsibility was conferred upon me again given the humiliation suffered in the summer of 2010 (the hamster and I).  The elaborately masterminded jailbreak (hamster) and lots of screaming (me), is now affectionately referred to in our family as The Pumpkinseed Redemption.

Nevertheless, my daughter has a new hamster now (not my fault; just a coincidence) and once again, she asked me to look after her. For a full week I have dutifully changed her water and fed her, even taking her out of her habitat thingie once or twice and letting her run all over my daughter’s bed (hey, she lets the hamster do it so why not me?).

Then last night before my own evening ablutions, I went to check on little Miss Maggie (so named after my daughter’s middle name, which is probably more socially acceptable than saying she named the hamster after her great-grandmother).  Maggie was standing on her sleeping cave just staring out into space.  She was alive, but somehow overnight she had grown these two massive tumours on the side of her neck.  I mean, MASSIVE.  Quasimodo had a pimple on his back compared to Maggie’s contusions.  “Oh no. Oh no. Please, no.” I started muttering to myself. “Please don’t die” but I couldn’t help imagining the letter I would be writing the next day:  “Dear Emily, It’s about your hamster …Yeah, I know…  again.”  Just how does a hamster go from the picture of health to stage four Hodgkin’s in 24 hours?

Because I am not qualified to administer chemotherapy, I quickly run downstairs and grab some lettuce. If she was going to die she was going to damn well have her Last Supper.  I coaxed her to the front of the cage with the lettuce.  She looks at me.  She looks at the lettuce.  She looks at me. She looks at the lettuce. I know I should have washed it first but there wasn’t any time.  Ignoring my lettuce and my pleas she waddles to the back of her cage, behind the hamster wheel, to breathe her last breath I am sure.

Only instead, she proceeds to heave her two massive tumours in a neat little corner of her cage. Lardass Barfarama was a day in the park compared to Maggie spewing what looked like three times her body weight (oh sorry, were you eating?).  It was the most horrifying and revolting thing I have seen since my kids were in diapers.  What she does next is even more appalling.  She walks back over to where my hand is still frozen in its outstretched manner, still holding the lettuce offering which she now peacefully takes it out of my hand and proceeds to munch.  Just needed to make some room, I guess.

So Maggie is not, in fact, dying of cancer, but she is, however, bulimic.  I am now off to google nutritional and psychological counselling for hamsters. Keep Maggie in your prayers.


12 Responses to Le tour du hamster …

  • Oh no! It’s almost like she was allergic to something. Maybe she ate something she shouldn’t have when you had her out. Hampster puke – another reason I will not ever be owning a member of the rodentia class.

  • Okay, so what exactly were those tumors? Clearly I’m not seeing the whole picture, having never raised or lived with hamsters. But what a great story. Once again, you have a knack for telling it well. 😉

    • There were no tumours. The hamster had stockpiled an enormous amount of hamster food in her jowls (or whatever they’re called!!)!

  • This is too funny. “She looks at the lettuce. I know I should have washed it first but there wasn’t any time.” The only creature I’ve ever had that I just couldn’t bond with was a hamster. It had an aversion to everything nice I tried to do for it. It hated the fresh cedar shavings and would kick them out of the cage and out onto the floor in a flurry. It chewed holes in its water bottles continuously, etc. It didn’t appear to have food issues, though if it had lived longer, it likely would have. Love this story.

  • Where’s the “love” button? I was there with you the whole time. I felt like I was holding the lettuce out for Maggie. Funny stuff, girlie!

  • I savor your posts, Astra. Your stories always make me smile (ok, laugh). You are gifted, woman. You’re hamster and my cat have similar issues. Why do we have pets again?

    I ran across this site this past weekend. Look for the submission criteria. I think you should pitch something. My two cents anyway.

    • Thank you Brenda. You’re very much an inspiration to me and I value your two cents anytime 🙂
      I’ll take a look at that site for sure …

  • Poor Maggie! And poor you! Roxy did something similar today. After consuming copious amounts of paella, she too hurled to make room for more. Oh, Astra, there are days and there are days. The things we do for the love of our kids and our pets. I tell you, we don’t get paid enough! ha! 🙂

    • If our payback is our ability to laugh about it in hindsight, then we are richly compensated indeed! Thanks Bella! And no more paella for Roxie!!

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About Astra
Ottawa mom of 3 poking fun at myself, motherhood, and minor hockey! I am steering through life dodging stinky hockey gear and empty wine bottles.
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