Temptation jumped from a bulletin board at our local grocery. “Free hamsters to good home” headlined pictures of two available live balls of fur. Thoughts of small pets swam in my head as I filled my cart. Something else to feed and clean up after, but I still love entertainment from furry pets.
My first small pet was a hamster and it wasn’t long before it got loose in the hidden recesses of our old farmhouse. It was summer; Mom reassured me that it might be able to survive for some time if it got outside. We never knew.
Leaving the store, I walked past the ad, but did not tear off one of the phone numbers fringed across the bottom. I pulled down the entire ad, pictures and all, took it home and called.
“We still have the hamsters,” said the lady who answered, “but there’s a woman who might take them for her grandchild. I haven’t heard from her yet. Come and look. If I don’t hear from her, you can have them.”
“What sex are they? Or do you know?” I asked, remembering the litters of gerbils we raised from a pair we thought were females.
She said she gave away the dad and all of the litter except one black female and her mother. They had to separate them when the daughter matured and they started to fight. Luckily, the cage was big enough to divide them.
The big cage had three levels. They partitioned off the top floor by putting something across the opening over the ladder. The hamsters had turns staying in the single room on the top or in the two lower levels complete with a “workout wheel.”
They were selling the cage with all the accessories. Although we’d bought our share of pet things over the years, we didn’t have many of these. I figured what they would have cost new; it was a great package deal.
Mama hamster was an attractive blend of the “golden hamster” most commonly portrayed in pictures of hamsters. She was softer with a perkier face than her black-furred daughter. There was no contest. I preferred the mother’s cotton ball form. She seemed friendlier, too.
I decided I’d take her and the cage but I didn’t want the daughter. They planned to move her into an empty aquarium and have everything else ready for me to pick up in a few days. They found a home for the black hamster before I returned.
My handsome pet powder puff with her stump of a tail was made for the “workout wheel” compared to the mice and gerbils I’d cared for lately. Her little pink nose twitches like a rabbit. She loves the occasional fresh treat, a piece of apple or carrot, and she looks especially cute sitting up on her hind legs holding a whole grape between her tiny pink front feet.
Since she has two wispy tufts of long hair on either side of her face, I named her Trixie, short for Beatrix (as in Potter) and perfect because her side wisps remind me of baby Trixie in the Hi and Lois comic.
She needed to come to our house. Lazy and nonchalant in his middle age, our cat Lloyd sits up and takes notice.