Sunday, August 24, 2014

Terror in the Hamster Cage!

I had settled exhausted into bed following a church event recently when a sobbing child knocked on my door. "I can't find my hamster!!!"

Oh. No. 

I ran downstairs to inspect the crime scene. Definitely no hamster. We keep Pip in a glass tank with a screened lid. When we came home from church that evening, the lid had been pushed aside and Pip was missing. The evidence suggested that our cat, Cupcake, had taken him from the tank. There were no remains. 

Cupcake is a fierce hunter. She likes to slip out the back door to catch and dismember mice, rabbits, and birds. We figured Pip had received this treatment. 

Paul and I spent the rest of the evening grieving with our daughters, offering them whatever comfort we could. Eventually, they all fell asleep.

The next day was a sad one, but we held onto a small sliver of hope since we hadn't found Pip's corpse. Usually, Cupcake leaves behind at least a bit of the deceased. 

On the second morning following discovery of the hamsterless tank, I saw Cupcake chasing a tiny blur of white and brown. Could it be?!? I grabbed the cat and tossed her into the basement. I would have to lock her up for a while. The blur ran into the bathroom. This was more than I could handle on my own, so I burst into Juliet's room, "Wake up! Come quick!" She followed me to the bathroom, "Is that Pip?"

"Yes!" Juliet was delighted, "It is" She grabbed Pip's hamster ball and shut herself into the bathroom with him. It took some time, but eventually, she coaxed him into the ball. 

Pip has returned to the comforts of his tank and appears to be just fine. We have placed bricks on the lid. Cupcake is allowed to visit only when another member of the family is in the room. We hope she will no longer terrorize our little guy. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

What's In a Name?

We recently added this little guy to our family:

Photo: New family member.

The girls had been planning to buy hamsters for many months, but over time, they agreed to pool their money and share one. That way, they wouldn't have to spend so much. Clever, eh? Anyway, we brought this baby home last week. I think he's super cute.

He was nameless for a few days. It's hard to settle on a handle when you're sharing a pet--everyone has to agree. I tried to help. I suggested, "Hey, he's a Russian hamster. How 'bout a Russian name--like Ivan or something?" 

"NOOOOO!" They didn't like that idea.

"Okay," I tried again, "He's a dwarf hamster, so what if we named him after one of the Seven Dwarfs? We could call him Happy."

"NOOOO!" They didn't like that either.

"I think these are great names," I said.

"They are great names," Juliet answered, "but they're not great enough."

Laura chimed in, "I want to call him Mr. Fluffet." I thought that was adorable, but we still didn't have consensus. Juliet thought that he couldn't be a mister since he is still just a baby. 

Finally, a friend suggested we call him Pip, and everyone got on board. I like it because it is a little name for a little guy. It also appeals to me since it's a literary name.

Now our task is making sure the cat doesn't try to eat him.