Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Trauma and triumph...

While we were gone to visit the Prince (btw, I think this is my last post about that trip...or maybe not...lol) we asked my tutor, who is also the mother of hamsters, to hamster-sit. She was excited to do it and told us that when we got Kylie (the Princess' hamster) back she would probably be slimmer. Apparently since we are new to the whole owning a rodent thing, we have overfed her and she has outgrown her wheel to the point that she just sits in it rather than run...we hadn't noticed since she is nocturnal.

So, the tutor ("Auntie E") took good care of her. When we returned late on Sunday evening we knew that we would be getting the hamster back on Monday afternoon. But Auntie E was out and about on Monday running errands and didn't return Kylie until Tuesday...and when she did...the drama began.

She came running into the house crying, "She's dying! She got too hot!" Immediately we wrapped her in a damp towel and stood near the fan while we worked to get water in her system. She was seriously dehydrated. We worked hard. Three adult heads and sets of hands working to revive her. She came around slowly, and when she started rubbing her whiskers in annoyance we thought the coast was clear. I showed her to the Princess and told her that I was still going to take her into the air-conditioned room and keep giving her water. The Princess was distracted with all the stuff that Auntie E had brought with her.

Auntie E was imagining a hugely happy ending to this story because she traded Kylie's cage for a bigger and better one, including a better wheel and some cute amenities. The Princess did not realize the trauma still going on with her hamster...she was too busy setting up the new house.

By the time the house was set up...I felt sure Kylie wasn't going to make it, but having no rodent expertise (other than desiring them dead!) I didn't know what to do. I happened to be the person who was with Elsa (the other hamster) when she breathed her last and I began to recognize the signs. I knew Auntie E was going to feel terrible, after all it is still as hot as hades here and how was she to know Kylie couldn't make the trip?

After 45 minutes of working to revive her and one real moment of believing it so...Kylie died in my hands. Auntie E walked in at that moment...and wouldn't you know it?...I started crying. Then she started crying...then the King walked in and didn't know what to do. We decided to ask the Princess if she wanted to see Kylie and say goodbye (she looked peaceful in my hands and was still soft to touch). She did....and started crying. Tears flowed for another 30 minutes. About the time I thought the Princess was slowing she would bury her head in my side and BAWL. It breaks my heart thinking about it now.

We were supposed to be tutoring...but no one could. The King dealt with the dirty job of disposal and we all washed our hands in a state of shock. I dare say even the King struggled against emotion watching all of it flowing so freely from all the females in the house. The Princess sat down immediately and began drawing this picture. She put the time of death and the date and drew some sweet details.

Auntie E could hardly function from the guilt. She truly believed she had killed the Princess' hamster even when we assured her it was not her fault. She had a solution if we were open to it. Since she has hamsters herself, she was willing to get a new one for the Princess the next day from the person she got hers from. She made a phone call and found out that the next day was not convenient...could they come now?

So, with the thought of getting to pick out a new pet the Princess perked up. She had poured her grief into her artwork and dried her tears. She was sad but was excited about the prospect of a new critter to live in the new hamster house. Off they went..

When they returned, they had a smaller hamster...that was pure white. She had already been christened "Snowflake" and nicknamed "Squeaks" by the Princess. She apparently loved her new home and was AMAZINGLY active. All was forgiven and the happy ending that Auntie E had imagined came to be...just in a little different way than was originally imagined. The favorite thing of the Princess now is to put that "little ham" into the hamster ball and let her "go to town" which she does very well.
She is pretty cute, I have to say, which is quite ironic. I would never have chosen the white one. In our early years of marriage, I worked as a secretary for a company that had their office on the front of their warehouse on the outskirts of town. Every morning, I had the unpleasant task of wiping down every surface there was that I might be touching because mice were rampant...no matter how many traps or cats lived in the warehouse. It was the number one thing I hated about that job. Often times I would wipe every thing down only to sit down and have one scurry right before my eyes off of the desk I had just cleaned. Ug. I really grew to loathe mice. I couldn't go to the restroom without picking my feet up because they might run across my toes. YIKES. So...to now have a white rodent BY CHOICE in my home...well, you get the picture. But the joy that the little critter gives to my girl is priceless. We are not in a position of owning other pets (i.e. dogs or cats) and fish don't really count, and since we are accustomed to "fuzz therapy" we now have our fix.

Here she is curled up in her "room" on her side..with her paws tucked up close together.
Moving too fast in the wheel to get a good picture.

She climbs into the bowl to eat.

Peaking out to say good morning.

All is well that ends well.

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