I really need new photos of the Quebecois hamsters.
Last night, I had a sort of relevation. A sort of obvious relevation, but nonetheless.
I had Maelle out and was letting her go from hand to hand. They both move in such a weird way, like robots or something - they jerk back and forth, one step forward, two steps back, stop and freeze. If I raised a hand she jumped back. If I moved she jumped back. After over a week of this, it was getting very frustrating.
But then something occurred to me - the way they acted was as if they had honest-to-goodness never experienced/seen anything like this before. Like they'd never been held, like they'd never been out of the cage. It was all a foreign experience.
What it really reminded me of was a puppy mill dog, which lead to the question - are there hamster mills? Well, yes, of course there are. There are mills for every kind of pet. Was that where these guys came from? Had they been bred in some sort of horrible place where no one ever touched them and they never left the cage? It would certainly explain a lot.
Of course, there's no way of knowing for sure. But I have to think of it as a strong possibility, because I don't know any other way of explaining such bizarre behaviour.
Maelle and I, I think we reached an understanding last night. She gained a little confidence (even let me touch her on the head!) and I gained a little more patience. If she keeps this up, she might even end up like a normal hamster, some kid's beloved pet. We'll see.
Sadly, Nicky the little orphan hamster died yesterday. She was one of the three orphans we put in with Molly, way back in November. Her sisters were adopted out together, but Nicky stayed with us. Firstly because she was bonded with Molly, and secondly because she was always the smallest and sickliest of the three. As such, it was always kind of a surprise that she survived in the first place, and not so much of a surprise when she got sick this week. I hesitated to take her to the vet, because usually there's not much they can do for hamsters, and she had never really 'thrived'. However, she didn't seem to be getting worse or better, and so I was about to give in to a guilt-induced vet trip when I found her last night. She was a lovely hamster, and I hope we gave her the best life possible. Rest in peace, sweetheart.