02 October 2011

Hamster Art

When I was (how old was I? I don't remember) some undetermined age, I decided I wanted to get a pet hamster like I'd had when I was younger. My grandma said she'd let me pick one for my birthday. At the pet store, I asked, "Is it a boy or a girl?" The store employee picked up the hamster, took a look at its parts, and said, "It will be a boy."

Will be? How strange. And how strange that we didn't really ask for an explanation.

That hamster was easy to name. He became Wilby.

A few weeks later, rushing out the door to piano lessons, I glanced into Wilby's cage. To my surprise, there were things that looked like maggots in the corner of the cage. My first thought was that I had just cleaned the cage and it couldn't have possibly bred maggots that quickly. Then I realized the wiggly pink things were hamster babies.

Wilby was called Wilbyetta after that.

I don't even remember what we did with the babies, but Wilbyetta produced quite the second brood later. Watching those babies grow was fascinating. I learned about separating parents and babies and did so by building elaborate walls for the many-leveled cage I owned. I loved watching their shading develop, and I even recognized personalities. Most memorable was the tiny one I named Boo. He would always get so scared when I opened the cage that he would cower in a corner, holding his paws in shaking fists. (Boo ended up belonging to my next-door neighbor, who loved him until the day he died of cancer. Really. Cancer.)

After the second brood, though, two things happened: there were more babies than we knew what to do with, and an obnoxious and seemingly strategic comment about the smell of hamsters given by a classmate one morning made me a little hesitant about my hamster hobby.

My family joked about giving the babies to someone with a snake. I think my mom was finally the kind one who asked the elementary school teachers if any of them would like to have a class pet.

All of this background information is so you can look at only a tiny sampling of the thank-you notes I received from the elementary school kids. Before I finally toss them, I had to share some of them with you so you can appreciate the cute things kids say and their awesome artistic skills.

Thank You for the Hamster
(Than cuw=thank you, get it?)

Thank You for the Hamster
(What an evil-looking, but tired hamster!)

Thank You for the Hamster
(I just really liked this one.)

Thank You for the Hamster
(So the teacher told the kids about the horrible ending the hamster might have faced. But isn't that a just-having-eaten lump on that snake? And why is there a dog but no hamster in sight?)

Thank You for the Hamster
(Nice drawing! And you've gotta love the "hole" instead of "whole.")


  1. I was racking my brain to figure out which of our next-door neighbors died of cancer. Several hours later I realized you probably meant the hamster.