“This’ll do for Starsky” she said, taking a reduced bag of green leaves from the cold shelf, her two daughters looking on.
“You’ve got pets” I said.
She turned round laughing. “Yes, a lop eared rabbit (the other half of, you know…hutch)and gerbils“.
A flashback took me to Honey, our guest hamster aged over two when we agreed to foster him or her for two weeks. The hamster was the size of a small guinea pig and a docile little character.
The problem lay in the skimpy housing with shredded newspaper, in which Honey had arrived. We thought we’d settle the guest in the same room with our two hamsters. It’s just as well we kept a regular check on how they were all doing in their respective lodgings.
I noticed Honey shivering or trembling then s/he became very still. “Oh no, you’re not going to hamster heaven on my watch” I thought. I picked up the little furry body, the hamster felt cold. I turned on the oven – a very low heat – and in quickly devised packaging, popped the hamster inside, constantly watching. Twenty minutes or so later, (I think it was that long, anyway it seemed a very long time), I gingerly removed a warmer-feeling Honey from the oven. There was still no obvious sign of life.
Next strategy; I placed the hamster in my armpit. I had on a jumper and added a warm cardigan. I sat with Honey in womb-like situ, distracting myself with papers, the T.V. and anything else that would keep me occupied and in one place for an interminable hour and a half.
A little movement, the nearest thing to a scrabble around or a snuffle…hey presto, Honey was back in this world, keen to come out into daylight. S/he was the most petted hamster.
We turned up the heating in the hamster hideaway, re-organised Honey’s housing, doubled up on absolutely everything and stuffed lots of cotton wool and wood shavings into it. We even added to the little home, a hideaway internal horizontal tube which the hamster could use for extra warmth. We went to bed praying to see a living hamster in the morning, along with our own.