Jane and Her Rescue Hamsters



Subject: [RB] Piddles 

Date: Thu, 24 Apr 2003 01:31:11 -0700 

Please let me tell you about Piddles.  He was a Syrian hamster -- a curious,
accepting, gentle, soft little soul.  Syrians live about 2 years, not long
enough for me, but long enough to become comfortable in a big, scary world, a
feat for small prey animals and a testament to their courage, strength and trust.

Piddles turned 25 last week -- only Tootsie, Eddie and Whiskers are older.  He
arrived July 14, 2001 -- only Tootsie, Eddie and Kibbles have been here longer.
A grandmother brought him and the last son no one wanted from his litter.  Her
granddaughter stopped playing with them or caring for them.  The woman couldn't
manage them, saying they were awful biters, especially the son.  They said
they'd visit, even scheduled once.  They never came.

The boys arrived in two small cardboard boxes wrapped round and round with
strapping tape.  I'd only been keeping Syrians three months, and these two were
packed up like furry little Hammibal Lecters!  I was scared, but figured I was
their best chance.  I sat on the floor, opened a box and held it to my chest.
A little four-month-old golden umbrous boy was cowered in the back.  A soft
voice got his nose's attention, but the rest of him didn't move for minutes.
Finally, warily, he made his way to the edge of the box, then one trembling paw
at a time, onto me.  As the fourth paw landed on my shirt, so did the entire
contents of a full bladder.  Piddles had just named himself.

There's no such thing as a bad hamster -- just unskilled owners.  These were
good, good boys.  Our first night together, at cookie time, Piddles curled up
under my hand on my chest and ate a bit of a treat, pouching the rest for later. 
Little Bear stared into my eyes and alternated licking his lips 
and munching till he finished.

Hamster make two kinds of poop.  One is nutritious.  Since the desert offers
some very coarse and indigestible fare, they need two passes at it.  They hoard
and save these in their nest or food dish or pouches.  Piddles was the first
hamster here to display poop creativity.  I sat transfixed the first night he
was here, watching him get comfortable and begin production and quality
control.  Some got tossed out of the cage onto the floor, some pitched across
the cage with unfailing accuracy into the food dish, and others got laid out in
a perfect little row along the edge of the plastic base of his cage as far
along as he could reach.  He added a second layer atop those, and then a third,
stacked like his own private woodpile.  I wondered if he had a problem, so I
sat watching a long time.

A long, long time.  Then I decided maybe I had the problem.  :)

I don't know if he had a very good time, but he seemed contented through his
life.  Just a quiet, docile sort that kept to himself mostly but never turned
down a cuddle, bless his heart.  Now I wish he'd been more demanding.  I wasn't
with him when he left, but all indications are that it was peaceful.  He hadn't
shown signs of aging, and never lived in the office "hospital" like most
seniors and ill ones do.  I hate when they go without having their special time
in here.  He didn't get enough special time.

He was the 30th to die here, the eighth this year.  I want him back, to spoil
him rotten.  I want to say goodbye.  I want to be sure I told him he was a good
boy, and brave and pretty.  I want to have checked him before I went to bed that night.

I want them to stop dying.

His son Little Bear is still here.  He'll be two years old on May 8.  He's
quiet, content and a lot like his dad -- a little more impatient in hand but
not difficult.  He'll put teeth on me to move a finger if he wants down, but
never to hurt.  Neither ever bit here.  He was sick a few months ago, wasting
fast but with no apparent cause -- no evident tumor, but we had to assume
cancer.  He lost nearly half of his weight, and he's always been little.  I
could feel every bone in his body, and said tearful goodbyes several nights.
But he stayed, even put a little of the weight back on.  I still see a little
boy.  It's so hard to remember -- to think -- that he's a little old man.

Little Bear was the first hamster I ever saw "squirt," and he still can.  He
slyly draws a hind foot up into my hand as I hold him, wedges it behind my
thumb, and shoots himself with startling velocity onto my chest.  He still does
it -- just a little slower.  He's rarely in his wheel anymore, but still climbs
the bars and squeaks for attention and wanders me looking for the way to
freedom.  He's the only one I've had who talks urgently in his sleep.

Days like this I can hardly look at them.  I know one by one I'm going to lose
them all.  It makes me never want another.

Then there are other days.  There's a boy in a shelter nearby who will come
here if he isn't adopted by his euthanasia deadline.  There will be others.  I
just can't bear to think of them now.

I know you understand, and I really appreciate your notes.  In the moment, I'm
not usually able to tell you how much they mean.  You all have brave hearts to
take on loving this houseful.

Jane and the loveys
Eddie, Tootsie, Kibbles, Little Bear, Cosby, Spot, Whiskers, Angel, Ernie,
Oliver, Pooh Bear, Stinkerbell, Noodles, Sera, Murphy, Deebie, Zeke, Duncan,
Bee, Ladybug, Flea, Beetle, Cricket, Jake, Elwood, Mattie, Gilligan, Winnie,
Molly, Mitchell, Webster, Binky and Sammy

This link will take you to a website on geocities and features
 Max the Diabetic Hamster

If you need help with a diabetic hamster
Please contact  Jane Landis

New Diabetic Email Group for Hamsters

Jane shares stories of her hamsters with the Rainbow Diabetes Email List

Each of her hamsters is unique and endearing!

 Read about Sammy

 Remember Ralphie

Gilligan may you be resting in the fur of my Queenie at the bridge.
You touched our souls!!

 Read More Diabetic Pet Stories