Never agree to anything when you are half asleep.
I lead a busy life with work and three children and a few weeks ago I was dozing in the chair when No2 daughter burbled something at me. I replied “yes” and continued my doze. Never, ever do this! Daughter No2 was 19 at the time and quite capable of sorting out her own issues,or that is what I thought. I actually thought she had asked me if I wanted a cup of tea and I was somewhat annoyed to find that it did not appear
Just as my daughter was about to go on holiday she brought Dorry in for me to look after. Dorry is a hamster. I do not do hamsters, I do cats. "Did I agree to do this?" says I and then realised that's what she had been burbling about when I was dozing in the chair. I asked the appropriate questions,like what does she eat, drink and like to do ,apparently she eats, sleeps and runs about on a wheel (like my life really). I have a bit of a reputation for being prepared so I asked where I could buy a replacement in case she died ? Daughter was not amused and told me as much. How could she enjoy her week in sunny Spain worrying about the standard of care I was giving her boyfriends hamster? O.K. I tried the "what about his parents angle", but apparently they had taken the easy option and booked a holiday away themselves.
The first thing you need when you are looking after a hamster is a cage. I was shown the cage with its very good catches, it would be impossible for them to be accidentally opened. In fact if we do need to open them my husband will have to be summoned from the depths of his shed as they are too strong for me. There is a mid level track and slope which Dorry can run around should she ever stay awake long enough to do so.
Dorry’s sleeping quarters are a little red box full of soft sleeping material and when she is awake she has a little wheel that she can play on. After watching her for several hours I realise that she does not run around very much but makes rather excessive use of the sleeping quarters.
We start to care for our Hamster
So, the drama starts.
My long suffering husband comes in from a long days work . Me “we have a guest for the week”. I can see him think, her mother," no", that takes lots of organising, phone calls etc and usually a 400 mile round trip , her sister? – no, she was here last week. Who? He says
Me; “she is a very nice hamster”
Him: “don’t tell the cats”
Dorry goes to sleep in No2’ daughters room which is vacant owing to her very nice week in Spain and I carefully close the door; in fact I spend hours checking and carefully closing the door, all the time making sure that the cats don’t know! They are busy in the garden at the moment as it appears that one area of the flower beds has not been slept on and there are still a few flowers showing, or there were before they saw it this afternoon.
No 1 daughter comes in from her shift at Pizza Hut smelling not so delicately of mozzarella cheese, and wants to see Dorry who is quite disobliging and wont wake up. No 1 daughter taps gently and then not so gently on the side of the box. Eventually Dorry appears with her bedding in her mouth. She looks at us and goes back to sleep. I go all weak at the knees, I remember when No1 daughter used to wake at night with her comforter stuck between her teeth.
No 1 Daughter :“Shall we show the cats?”
Later in the evening on one of my 15 minute inspections ,I notice that Dorry is chewing the bars on her cage. I am sure that it can't be any good for her, what will it do for her teeth and I wonder if they still put lead in paint. I call the long suffering husband upstairs, he is not in his shed but watching the football, England have just drawn 1-1 and he is not in the best frame of mind to be called away for a triviality.
Me “help me open the cage, She’s chewing everything I think she needs a cuddle”
Him “It’s a rat, it does not need a cuddle”
The week continues in the same vein, me looking at the hamster and the hamster when it is awake looking at me. No 2 daughter comes home and says that she looks a bit thin accusing me of not feeding her, of course I did it's not my fault that she is always asleep instead of eating.
I sneak off and look at the pets website to see the costs of a hamster. I am sure that the cats would get used to it and they are so sweet, even if they are well ,rats.