I have never told you about Charlie. I don’t know why. Did I mention the rats? We have nine rats altogether. six big boy rats and three smaller girly rats. I know they are rats but I kind of love them….they are smart and they…well they smell of….biscuits or maybe I have just been on the Atkins diet too long.
Charlie though…he is different…Charlie I love just because he is Charlie.
We had another hamster before Charlie. Elmo was a tiny creature who was friendly enough but rather scared and bit Small Child on several occasions. Small Child in return continued to love Elmo but not to want to play with him much. When Elmo became ill I nursed him. Under strict instructions from the vet I mushed babyfood and injected it into his tiny mouth. I soaked cotten buds in water and cleaned around his tiny bottom and continually wiped his mucus clogged eyes (using seperate buds of course – just call me Nurse Birdee!) I massaged his tiny body and kept him in the airing cupboard for nearly a week, popping home from work when I could to check on him. He died of course the poor little mite and we buried him in the garden in a special box decorated by Small Child’s loving hands and filled with beautiful flower petals she had gathered for him from around the garden. Did we cry? We howled. She howled when I gave her the news. I howled when someone upset me at work the next week…but I was really crying for Small Child and her loss and my own powerlessness to save the tiny boy she had been so desperate to befriend.
And then, a few weeks later I decided to replace Elmo and hours later we returned with Charlie. Now where Elmo was small Charlie is a bruiser of a hamster. In fact I dont think Charlie thinks he is a hamster at all. He really shouldn’t be here at all by now, given the amount of near misses he has had. In fact, were he a cat I would be talking of him in terms of nine lives.
Last summer having left him rolling around the bedroom in his ball I heard Small Child scream and went running downstairs. Charlie had left the bedroom and bounced his way down the stairs still inside the ball. This split open on impact with the dining room floor and Charlie quietly busied himself inside my slipper until unwittingly small child opened the back door and let the dog in….
Dog is Jack Russell Terrorist
As I reached the bottom of the stairs I spied body parts of hamster hanging from drooling mouth of dog as he shook his kill. He shook Charlie and in a moment of panic I shook him. When he dropped Charlie on the floor I scooped him up and put him on the worktop. Clearly the sensation of prey in the jaws causes dogs (well dogs like mine) to salivate excessively and Charlie looked as though he had just showered. I half expected him to ask me for a towel! He stood shuddering slightly on the worktop for a moment before shaking himself and, I swear the little bugger swaggered, not staggered around the breadboard. If he could have talked I have no doubt he’d have said “bring it on dog!”
About three weeks ago he escaped from the cage which is on top of the fridge on account of Dog’s unending interest in contents of cage. There he was busy rummaging through an open bag of…..arrrgh! Dog biscuits and as I struggled to get him back in the cage I realised why – in his mouth was a small bone shaped biscuit that was hitting both sides of the opening through which I was trying to shove his fat little cheeks…this little guy truly wants a war!
Last week at five a.m. I woke to the sound of dog whining from downstairs. Now dog never whines for food or water or walks or to go out to pee. Dog only ever whines when tormented by small creatures, birds but more often squirrels. I knew instantly it had to be Charlie and down I went on my five a.m. feet wobbling towards the cage and yes he was gone! Didn’t need to hunt for him as Dog was sat before the computer desk whining, salivating and dribbling onto the floor. When eventually I located Charlie he simply looked at me like he was surprised to see me up so early!
Today I took Charlie to the vet. He has loose stools and looks skinny to me. Now this was the beginning of the end for Elmo and I had always suffered pangs of “did I leave it too late, could he have been saved….am I a….BAD MOTHER!!!!! So off we went to the vet an upbeat me and a very worried Small Child. Half an hour later we emerged…me twenty quid poorer but armed with syringe and liquid antibiotics….Nurse? I am virtually surgeon!
And so far? Charlie is holding his own….will keep you posted!