The website that greeted me yesterday upon opening up the desktop, was “How to sex your Russian dwarf hamster”. I also discovered that the contents of a plastic kitchen container had been dumped onto the dining room table. There was, in addition, the distinct smell of wood shavings about the room. I was growing suspicious. And my husband, the always perceptive, Fang, knew it.
Realizing that I may have gotten the wrong impression and sensing my hamster-related anxiety, Fang reported that the container had been used as some sort of holding pen for a Russian dwarf hamster. He assured me that he or she (I’m uncertain of its gender, not having been present for the sexing) only enjoyed a brief stay in the plasticware — the one that, up until last night, I had used to store things like open flour and powdered sugar; the one that has now and forever more been contaminated by a hamster — prior to moving on to its new home.
It was quite a relief to discover that my dear daughter and lover of all things four-legged, Fangette, had purchased the furry creature for a friend as a birthday gift. I don’t want a hamster — or anything in the rodent family — living in my house. And she knows it.
Of course, I told myself, it could have been worse. Last week Fangette announced that she wanted a hedgehog.
When I explained to her then that I had a strict “No Rodent” policy — a policy that she complained she was unfamiliar with; a policy that I had never felt the need to institute or discuss prior to last week — she helpfully pointed out that hedgehogs were mammals. I quickly revised my “No Rodent” policy to include quilled animals. Before Fangette , always one to smell a loophole, could wiggle through said loophole I told her to forget the “No Rodent” policy and directed her, instead, to the policy on “No Animals That Are Not Cats or Dogs” which means, essentially, that if it needs to be caged, it’s not living here.
Truthfully, I don’t want a dog, either. The time to have gotten a dog was when my child was around three years old. Likely the dog would be dead by now. Of course, that’s what I told myself about the cat, which we did get when Fangette was three. I figured he would be long gone before Fangette went to college. Do I even need to tell you that he’s still hanging around? That’s actually fine, though, as he’s kind of grown on me.
In a conversation that took place long after midnight last night, Fangette, in making her argument for getting her own hamster — which she is absolutely not bringing into my house (please refer to the previously mentioned and hastily constructed “No Animals That Are Not Cats or Dogs” policy if you don’t believe me) — informed me that hamsters live less than a year, unlike, as she helpfully pointed out, the five-year life span of your average hedgehog.
As a result and in an effort to sway me regarding rodent ownership, she cheerfully explained that her hamster would, in all likelihood, be dead before she went to college. Clearly, her math skills need work — hopefully they’ll get some attention at college — because she will, the good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, be going in five short months. So, even if I don’t get the one hamster that lives to be nine years old (wanna bet I do?), that thing will be hanging around in her room — without her — by my estimation for at least several months. It doesn’t take a math wizard to figure that one out.
It doesn’t take any kind of wizard to figure out who will become responsible for its care and feeding when she hops off to enjoy dormitory living and a major overhaul of her dwindling arithmetic skills. Me. That’s who. And, that, my friends, is not going to happen.
Putting aside for a moment the fact that I would be left holding the bag of wood shavings, I wasn’t all that impressed by her nonchalant attitude toward the future, but what seemed imminent, death of her imaginary pet rodent. Frankly, she didn’t seem at all that broken up about it. I would have to say that as pet owning arguments go, if you have to include the possible time of death of the pet in question to make a case for adopting the creature, you probably shouldn’t have it in the first place!
photo credit: hamster