“It’s Just a Hamster …”

Bob when we brought him home as a young’un August 2012.

bob baby

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Bob last month, February 2013

I’ve had a very dark, hard week emotionally. So, this post is going to be one of those type of things where I’m tired, and weird, and need to let out something good even if it’s half-arsed. Just because this is a safe place where I can put it. You know – what my hamsters mean to me.

Tonight in the hamster/play room I watched Bob scurry about. He climbed Penny’s cage as she’s in heat and the antics of the two of them crack me up. I’m not sure if it stresses them out. By appearances they seem to be excited and pepped up. She goes mad around her cage marking things and does these dances and then attacks her hammock and then she’ll stand in heat stance waiting for the Romeo who isn’t going to get in her cage! I feel sorry for them. Bob who is all bothered and Penny who is waiting for the man who isn’t going to find a way to break in the Mamble! Bob makes his way down the cage and at the end he does a cartwheel onto a cushion I have beside her cage. And he’s absolutely fine. It was almost like slow motion and a very cushioned landing. But it was also completely intentional the clown! And I chuckled. And I scoop him up and kiss his head. And he’s so patient and still and sweet.

Penny when she was very young and we first brought her home, December 2012

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PENNY

Penny as of March 2013

People who will look at you and say or think to themselves silently – “It’s just a hamster!” – just have NO clue how delightful it is to be owned by a hamster. How much they can light up your life.

I’ve discussed with a fellow hamster friend – how hamsters are therapy pets. That with anxiety and depression sometimes there is nothing to look forward to. Oh, sure I have children and I would die a thousand deaths for them to be safe if that is what it took. I adore and love them. But they are my children. My little independent humans. They can try  my patience. One of them is old enough to talk back and press my limits. At the end of the day he is an individual and as much as I love him he can make me angry! And when I’m having a stressed out day he isn’t always going to cheer me up (and I will never expect him to). I do not look to my kids for happiness. A lot of my stress is from motherhood. I was the woman who didn’t want children but then suddenly I was nearing 30 and I did. Just like that. A switch. So, with prior anxiety issues (one of which is called Social Anxiety) which can get so overwhelming sometimes that I get depressed – and being moody in nature – having children at a time when I’m set in my ways and NEED a decent amount of alone time – really taxes me.

Snow as a new wee one, July 2012

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Snow as of February 2013

A hamster in my life (make that 5) is like this sunshine. I come into the room and I will hold one for a moment and the simplicity and gentleness and comedy that is a hamster (as well each having different personalities) will make my blood pressure level and I feel this calm come over me. All they want is food, water, safe shelter, and some play time. They don’t want to argue. Or talk my ear off. They do not judge me. They do not question me. They are gosh darn CUTE. And so soft and fluffy.

They love their toys and I love getting and making them toys. I love prettifying their cages and cleaning them and setting them up and as mundane as it is I enjoy refilling their food bowls and water bottles (Not really keen on scooping out their litter pans but it can’t all be perfect).

I enjoy typing away on my computer – posting about them as I am now – while I hear Penny scratching something behind her cage or earlier when Bob was out – scratching at one of the 6 little sand boxes I have under all the furniture in the room. Watching one scurry across the room randomly.

Patch a newbie July 2012DSC_2218patchkk

Patch as of February 2012

Meanwhile the Roborovskis are awaking and are nibbling at their fresh food and beginning to do their somewhat stereotypical behavior (usually a term applied to gerbils but works with Robo’s as well IMO) and hopping on their saucers and having a go around and around. Strawberry is doing his strange run the wheel a few times then stop and peer out at me then back to the wheel to run a lap or two then to peer out at me again then back into his hideaway to not resurface until after 1am.

Strawberry our first hamster June 2012

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January or February 2012

I find a peace in this routine as well. It’s consistent. I know them. And that I am guaranteed peace when I go into that room with them. That I will feel better after a rough day. Or better even after a good day. And I will get a chuckle out of some antic.

I dread the day when they begin to leave me one by one. Right now they are all still reasonably young (as far as I know Strawberry too). But with fragile creatures like hamsters sometimes it can come without warning or obvious reason.

If I get into what the Gerbils do for my soul as well I’ll be typing all night.

I just felt compelled to write emotionally tonight. Something I don’t do all that often. People who think: “They are just hamsters” just don’t get it. And I wish they did. I wish there was more hamster lovers out there. More homes for those that need them. Better care for those who won’t just get them only as throwaway pets for their children. Who knows, a hamster may save someone’s life one day. Just their gentle, non-judgemental and non-invasive presence can be everything to a lonely person. Their ease of care and few demands may be the only pet a busy person can even imagine.

Have a night with a screaming, sick infant? I have them. A night where I just cannot make the time to play with my hamsters? They aren’t dogs who need that walk. That HAVE to have that walk. Or have to be let outside to wee. They aren’t going to take it personal if you don’t play with them that night (like cats lol).

They are wonderful, wonderful pets. Give them the best you can and they will give it back to you tenfold. I promise.

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4 thoughts on ““It’s Just a Hamster …”

  1. I agree so much. Especially the part about them being wonderful for a lonely person. I don’t usually use the term “lonely” when describing myself but I think “lonER” works and I adore my hamsters. I don’t know how I ever didn’t have them. When my first hamster, Fluffy, passed in February 2012 I didn’t know what to do with myself. My room (which I share with the hamily) seemed so agonizingly empty. It only took me a week to get Cheeto (who means more to me than anything in the entire world) and I now have others beyond her and have lost one in there (RIP Roxy Girl). They are such amazing creatures. As someone who suffers from anxiety and depression and spends a lot of time at home alone, they are perfect for me and I am thankful for them every single day. Anyway, I’m babbling, but I basically I just want to say that I love this post.

  2. I will quibble with the “non judgemental” part, Annie was glaring at me all last night because I refused to let her out because she was bar chewing to be let out. I don’t want her to learn that bar chewing = out!

    But yes. Hamsters are wonderful, even when they are driving you up the wall!

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