Indiana Hamster (AKA Indie)

Because both Terry and I have allergies to most animals, we never had pets while the kids were growing up. However, when Josh was about 10, he talked us into getting him a hamster as we were told they weren’t particularly allergenic. I learned that hamsters have different personalities like most pets; so, at the pet store, we let Josh play with a bunch of hamsters. One in particular kept coming over to him and they soon bonded.

We bought all the accoutrements including cage with a running wheel, clear plastic ball a bit smaller than a soccer ball. You’d open the top of the ball, insert hamster and he’d run around the whole house. Indiana Hamster, henceforth called Indie, often while rolling around the second floor, he'd bounce down 3 flights of stairs, and, when he reached the bottom, would crash into walls and anything else that got into his way. It never seemed to do any damage. Another game Josh played involved a 3 foot cardboard tube that had been used for Christmas wrapping paper. On the carpet in the den, he’d place Indie in one end of the tube, spin it around slowly at 360° and Indie would come out at the same place completely confused. We always limited this activity for fear of making Indie dizzy.

Josh took care of Indie religiously, cleaning out the cage on a regular basis, and feeding him (at least we think it was a he) the proper diet.

Now I realize hamsters have a very short life span, more than often less than a year. But Indie lasted well over 2 years, probably a record.

One day, someone put a fibrous piece of vegetable into his cage. Unfortunately, it bound him up to the point where his intestines started to fall out. I was going to euthanize him with a hammer blow while Josh was in school but I couldn’t go through with it.

I took Indie in a shoe box to the Animal Rescue League in Salem, thinking I could bring him home after and we could give Indie a proper burial in the backyard. However, I ran afoul of Massachusetts state law that states euthanasia and consequent cremation take place on site and the pet can’t be released back to the pet’s owners.

I was a mess when I got home and dreaded Josh’s coming home from school. When he did, I explained what happened, Terry, Josh, & I hugged and cried for about 15 minutes. It never ceases to amaze me how you can become so attached to a rodent albeit a pet.

We then had a succession of hamsters after Indie and they either died quickly or were so aggressive we had to get rid of them.

Josh and some of his friends once buried one of the hamsters and tried to dig it up a year later. But by then, it was ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

Oh Well!