Friday, May 20, 2011

Eternal Sunshine of the Teddy Bear Hamster

When Kadin and I were dating, he told me that if we were to end up together, we could never ever have a dog. He said that if I felt differently, it might be a deal breaker. Really. He likes cats, but he is not a dog person.

After we were married and I was pregnant, he made me promise, again, that I would never give into our adorable little child's big eyes and pleading voice and buy her a dog. I promised. But I know I am going to cross that bridge in the near future and while I have no problem telling my child no, she really loves dogs and her eyes are really big and beautiful and sometimes hard to resist. So I was thinking about what other pet I might be able to distract her with. I'm allergic to cats. I don't think I can deal with a reptile. I think birds belong in trees, not in cages. And I don't think that I could bear watching Sabine watch me flush a beloved dead goldfish down the toilet.

So I considered a hamster. But then I flashed back to my own childhood hamster horror. My little sister, who loved animals, brought home dogs, cats, rabbits and eventually talked my parents into getting her a teddy bear hamster. They're the rodents with long fur, making them seem cuddly and harmless. This fur puff was neither. It somehow figured out how to get out of its cage. I woke up one time in the middle of the night and felt it crawling on my chest towards my face. The thing was actually in my bed. It would escape for days at a time and we'd find it sooner or later chewing on an electrical cord or crawling around the kitchen floor.

My dad, who always said no to pets, was raking leaves one summer morning in the backyard and decided the hamster should get some fresh air, too. My little sister was at the mall with her friends when my dad took the cage outside and put it on the patio table, which had no umbrella or tree shade. It was in the nineties that day, and my dad forgot to put the hamster back inside the house. They say the hottest part of the day is between ten and two. My dad remembered the hamster at two (My sister was still at the mall. We'd spend the weekend at the mall if we could. You know, the suburbs.). Needless to say, the hamster did NOT survive.

My dad put the poor little guy's corpse in a Miller's Outpost bag and carried it out to the street gutter, where he let it drop. He put the empty cage back in my sister's room and when she came home, he told her the hamster had escaped again. She looked for that hamster for weeks. Of course, he never resurfaced. We told her the truth when she was in her twenties. And I think I remember her not talking to any of us for about a week.

So now I've crossed hamster off the list. What about a turtle? Or maybe an ant farm?

Image from


Dana said...

Okay, I never heard that story. For some twisted reason, I just laughed a little. Poor hamster:(.

Madeleine Kerr said...

I don't know, I can't think of anything else but you, running naked through Nordstrom.....

Madeleine Kerr said...

Also, I hear rabbits are very popular pets. or chincillas...they are very cute in photos!


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