Friday, July 19, 2013

Fresh Frozen Hamster

Once upon a time, one of my college roommates, Juanita, got a pair of what she believed were male dwarf hamsters. Soon, however, they proved that they were a boy-girl pair of hamsters by presenting her with a slew of tiny baby hamsters. She called me and asked if I wanted one; I lived in an apartment where the only warm-blooded pets we could keep were small rodents in contained environments. I already had goldfish, which, while soothing, are not exactly cuddly. I agreed to take a baby dwarf hamster.

Templeton (so sue me, I was a big fan of the animated Charlotte's Web, with Templeton voiced by Paul Lynde) was an ungodly little terror. Although I endured many tiny sharp bites in order to hand-tame the him, he remained mean enough that I couldn't let my friends handle him. He was also an escape artist- I'd come home from class to find that he'd popped out yet another little cap off the tunnel connectors on his Hamster Habitat and gotten loose in the apartment. The police were called twice when this happened because a dwarf hamster, despite its size, screams loudly and sounds like a small child who's being beaten. I had to grab him out of the cage to prove to the police that no children were being tortured; Templeton readily obliged and then bit my hand to cement his ire. Still, it was fun putting him out in his transparent Hamster Ball to run around on the floor, and he was complacent as long as we kept giving him chew sticks, Cheerios, or another little square of hamster bedding to pull apart.

Dwarf hamsters don't have a long lifespan. He was only supposed to live about a year or so, but he surprised me by surviving my second round of grad school and moving with me for my first 'real' (full-time) library job. Then the sad day came when I woke up and he was cold and rigid in the bottom of his Hamster Habitat...and I realized that I had nowhere to bury him and wouldn't for several days, so I did what anyone in my position would do: I put him in a plastic baggie and stuck him in the freezer.

I forgot, however, to warn my sister that he was there when she went looking for ice. Templeton unceremoniously fell out on her foot. For a couple of seconds she stood there, transfixed by the dead, frozen hamster-in-a-baggie resting on her foot. She snatched him up and waved the bag in the air, demanding, "WHY is Templeton in your FREEZER?"

When the time came, I dutifully took him to my then-fiance's family's pet cemetery and buried him among Chuck's many goats, cats, and his childhood dog, Pup, in the hills of Eastern Kentucky. The only other time I got close to putting a deceased pet in the freezer was when I had to argue with my father to secure burial in our family pet cemetery for my first cat, Mr. Cat. Mr. Cat reposed in a boot box in my refrigerator for about ten hours until I cried enough over the phone for Dad to relent and agree to bury him at their house.

Morbid, but true. I just needed to not think about my mom's health for a while...and watch out for frozen Hamstercicles dropping out of my freezer!

1 comment:

Mendi said...

Oh my goodness, if you refrigerated a cat and froze a hamster, image the fear your parents must feel about their future fate (lmbo) . . .