Before I started at the shelter, I wasn't a big hamster fan. I thought they were not too swift, often grumpy little weirdos who lacked any common sense. I still think that. The only difference is that now there are six of them living in my house.
See, it all started with this. Somebody surrendered a momma dwarf hamster with seven babies, and we ended up fostering them (our first foster litter!). Our last rodent had just passed away, so we decided we'd keep one of the babies. Except dwarf hamsters are social, so we decided to keep a pair. And then somehow that became a trio.
And they became our Boys - Jamie (grey), Al (red eyes) and Ollie (brown). And they're awesome. They're the sweetest, gentlest, easiest to handle hamsters, and they share a cage and they're no trouble at all. They often came to visit the camp where I worked this summer, getting manhandled by small children and loving every minute of it.
Then we decided to keep the mom of the litter, because she bit everyone and was weird-looking and we didn't think anyone would want her. I stand by that decision - despite our best efforts, she still bites everyone. Molly is getting pretty old by dwarf hamster standards, but despite her crankiness, she's a big favourite in our home.
So that was all fine, until a few months ago.
Remember Pegleg, the dwarf hamster with no hind legs? We took her because I felt bad for her, and to see if she'd get along with Molly. She didn't, and yet...she's still here!
Peggy's such a little weirdo, lurching along on her front legs. If you didn't know she was missing those legs, you wouldn't really notice. She is full of energy, squeals in her sleep and is super, super tiny - she's half of Molly's size (which may be why they didn't get along). Weirdest hamster I've ever met - but lovable!
And then the hoarding situation happened. Remember Romana, the daughter-maybe-son of Sarah Jane the escape artist? No? Don't blame you, there were a lot of hamsters. But anyway, Romana turned out to be a guy, and also too lovable to resist.
Captain Jack's his name, and getting attention is his game. I have never seen a hamster so intent on getting attention, all the time. Holy cow. Also, he's incredibly poofy (teddy bear!). So now we have four hamster cages - five dwarves and one Syrian. And I am a crazy hamster lady.
Look, a literal pocket pet!
I guess there are worse things to be.
Also, we still have two fosters - but soon, those will be gone! And we'll be back down to the totally rational, not-at-all-crazy number of six. Yeah.
Kidding aside, however, it's not completely insane. Molly is an old girl now and probably won't be around too much longer. Dwarves don't live very long unfortunately, and though I hate to admit it, our Boys are also entering their senior time. So we've got two babies and four seniors, and even though the number itself sounds nuts, it's pretty balanced. That's the good thing about hamsters - it's easy to make a lifetime commitment. They're not too hard to figure out.
Not that I'm trying to make a point about the stupidity of people abandoning hamsters or anything.