Rino the hampster…May 25, 2010
Yesterday, instead of spending the afternoon with me, Olivia mentioned that she wanted to go shopping with her Mamie. She has been asking for a cochon d’inde, or guinea pig, for two years now, ever since we went camping with some friends and they brought their guinea pig along in his cage. She knew who would be more easily talked into this purchase. Olivia didn’t come home with a guinea pig, however, but a tiny grey hamster. Of all the pets she could choose from, she chose the one animal closest to a rodent. Skittering little thing is cute but gives me shivers. She christened him Rino (and spelled it for me too).
She purchased Rino on sale with her own money earned from helping Papa during a market last Saturday. She just lost a tooth this morning and now has plans to save up to purchase a toy for Rino. A second tooth is loose and she asked me to pull it out for her. There is no rush, I said. Rino is still adjusting to his new home, in the cat transporter which last summer was home to an injured wild falcon that Raphael found in the fields. How to traumatize the poor hamster with smells of its predators.
Despite my phobia of rodents, I had hamsters as a child. I used to let it crawl up my sleeve. I even had a hamster ball. (I hesitate to let her get one. I have visions of her forgetting Rino in the ball and me finding it under her bed a week later or it going bumpidy bump down the stairs.)
I’m not sure how long Rino will last in our household. She’s dropped him on the kitchen floor at least five times. He survived but thankfully Kitty was not present. We’ve all warned her about the danger the cat poses. Kitty hasn’t seemed to have noticed the new addition yet. Then, he does tend to stay away from the cat carrier which usually means a visit to the vet. The death of my first hamster, which was named Baby, was so traumatising I remember crying over it in music class. He had eaten a piece of plastic bag that was next to his cage. I found him that morning hard as a rock. I had others after, but I never quite bonded with them in the same way.