When our sons were young, we had two cute little hamsters, Fluffy and Winston Pooh Bear. However we found out that there was a lot involved with owning them as pets. We remembered these adventures yesterday morning while retelling the stories to our grandkids, and I thought that you might enjoy hearing about them too.
We had our three grandkids (10, 9, and 6) stay with us for the weekend. We went to the park to hike and play, and have them burn off a little energy before we took them to the local Sonic drive-in for lunch and shakes. While driving over there, Paige asked what was our favorite nocturnal animal. Kate, the youngest, responded “What’s nocturnal”? Then Jake, the animal expert, explained that they are animals active at night. Kate suggested an owl, but Paige told her that wasn’t cute enough. So Jake picked a hamster.
That brought many memories back when our grown sons were their age. I had forgotten about this until that moment, but this triggered us to remember. We told them that their dad and his brother had hamsters when they were young. Then we kept thinking of all the adventures we had during that time. As we started sharing them with the kids, we kept thinking of more incidents.
Our move to Texas from New Jersey involved some additional experiences with our little furry friends. Since we had all our household stuff and car shipped by moving van, we took an airline flight. When making our reservations we asked about taking the hamsters with us on the plane and they said “Sure, no problem!”. Well, when we got to the airport, we found out they could not be carried on and put under the seat (Duh!). We had to purchase $80 crates for them so they could go in with the cargo. I’m not sure how cold it gets that high up, but they survived the journey.
After arriving in Dallas, we stayed at a Holiday Inn for a week or so while our new house was being finished and so our kids could start school since they were 10 and 7 at the time. The hotel didn’t allow pets so we had to sneak their cages from our car to the room under cover inside a shopping bag. However, they made some noise in the room when active, so it wasn’t the best arrangement with all of us in one room like that.
One time, my brother-in-law was visiting for Christmas, and was using a sleeper-sofa bed in our TV room, where the hamsters were located in the corner. In the middle of the first night he was there, he came in to tell us that he couldn’t sleep because of all the noise in his room. We went to check, and discovered our hamsters were frantically racing around the wheel they had inside their cages (nocturnal, remember). We had these elaborate cages with exercise wheel, tube mazes, climb tower, etc. So we had to relocate them to another room away from everybody so they wouldn’t disturb him.
Another time when we went away for a few days, we came back and didn’t find them in their cages. We went hunting all over the house, and finally noticed a bunch of foam pieces on our living room sleeper-sofa. When we opened it up, it turned out that they had chewed it all up inside the cushion to make a nest there and even added a few small toy figures that they had retrieved. They are hoarders, and have huge cheek pouches for food storage. It was really a mess.
The Great (Closet) Escape
My grandson liked “The Great Escape” movie which he saw recently, and now wants to watch more prison movies. That brought back the time where one day we noticed that they had escaped during the night and burrowed through our carpet and under the closet door. We had to explain that to the couple that bought our house when we sold it.
Several times they managed to get out of the cage somehow, probably when someone forgot to close the snap latch after feeding or petting them. They’re pretty quick and probably slipped out of the house via a door left open. After an extensive search, our son finally found them down the street at a neighbor in their garage.
When they died, since they only live 2-3 years, our kids wanted to have a memorial service for them before burying them in our back yard after a little ceremony for their pets. I think they were later covered over by the deck when we had a pool and hot tub put in the back yard.
They enjoyed hearing about these stories and had a few chuckles, especially since they imagined their father (and us) having these experiences. Our grandson, Jake, summarized our stories by calling them “Criminal Hamsters”. I thought it might be good subject as a blog post to share with you.