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,
enough for me, but long enough to become comfortable in a big, scary
feat for small prey animals and a testament to their courage, strength
Piddles turned 25 last week -- only Tootsie, Eddie and Whiskers are
arrived July 14, 2001 -- only Tootsie, Eddie and Kibbles have been
A grandmother brought him and the last son no one wanted from his litter.
granddaughter stopped playing with them or caring for them. The
manage them, saying they were awful biters, especially the son.
they'd visit, even scheduled once. They never came.
The boys arrived in two small cardboard boxes wrapped round and round
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.
voice got his nose's attention, but the rest of him didn't move for
Finally, warily, he made his way to the edge of the box, then one trembling
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.
good, good boys. Our first night together, at cookie time, Piddles
under my hand on my chest and ate a bit of a treat, pouching the rest
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.
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
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
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
life. Just a quiet, docile sort that kept to himself mostly but
down a cuddle, bless his heart. Now I wish he'd been more demanding.
with him when he left, but all indications are that it was peaceful.
shown signs of aging, and never lived in the office "hospital" like
seniors and ill ones do. I hate when they go without having their
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
quiet, content and a lot like his dad -- a little more impatient in
not difficult. He'll put teeth on me to move a finger if he wants
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
cancer. He lost nearly half of his weight, and he's always been
could feel every bone in his body, and said tearful goodbyes several
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
Little Bear was the first hamster I ever saw "squirt," and he still
slyly draws a hind foot up into my hand as I hold him, wedges it behind
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
freedom. He's the only one I've had who talks urgently in his
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
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,
Oliver, Pooh Bear, Stinkerbell, Noodles, Sera, Murphy, Deebie, Zeke,
Bee, Ladybug, Flea, Beetle, Cricket, Jake, Elwood, Mattie, Gilligan,
Molly, Mitchell, Webster, Binky and Sammy
This link will take you to a website on geocities and features
the Diabetic Hamster
If you need help with a diabetic hamster
Please contact Jane
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!
Gilligan may you be resting in the fur of my Queenie at the bridge.
You touched our souls!!