Today it’s Sue Moorhouse telling us about her pet experiences. Sue lives in the north of England and was a teacher of dyslexic students. She says she’d probably be a better writer if she didn’t use the dog, the garden, and almost any other excuse, to avoid getting on with it.
Sue donated two stories to Paws & Claws. One is about frogs, among other things, the other is…oh, let’s just say the word ‘turkey’ might feature. Nevertheless, Sue’s personal story is that of a hamster.
Picture me, age thirty something, walking home from the vet carrying a small box of deceased, elderly hamster and trying not to cry.
Chewbacca, the hamster, was a humanophile, adapting her nocturnal instincts so she could be up and about when the children came home from school. She’d keep me company while I typed, climbing up my leg to sit on the keyboard and get in the way.
Not liking caged animals, we initially allowed Chewie the freedom of a box-room at night. For weeks it was fine, every morning she would be home again tucked up in her hamster house asleep. Then she disappeared. We moved the furniture, prised up a floorboard and called. Chewie pattered up, ready to climb into a hand and be lifted out.
After that, her outings were supervised. She liked to potter round the side of the room while we watched tv, much to the annoyance of the dog which had to be shut out. She had a passion for chocolate – not recommended as a good pet food. The posh chocolate lived on top of a high bookcase which only adults could reach. Chewie regularly abseiled up between the wall and the bookcase, drawn by the scent. When she reached the top she would step off into space if no-one was there to catch her. Any crumbs of chocolate were stuffed into her cheek pouches and hidden at the back of the radiator, oozing out when the heating came on.
She was a rodent of personality.
Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a hamster to tear.