"The Muffled Cries For Help From a Daddy of Four Beautiful Little Girls"

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Unpaid Promo For PetCo and Hamsters that WON'T Eat Your Children

I’m sure that most of you who have dogs, cats, pot-bellied pigs and other such larger pets may care very little to hear about the goings-ons of those of us relegated to the status of “small pet owner.”

But I shall bore you with the details nonetheless.

First of all, it was brought to my attention yesterday that our previous hamster Pepper—may she rest in peace—is still entombed in the freezer in the garage. We’re debating over whether to bury her or throw her away. I’m a little nervous about burying her out back. It is not uncommon for the roaming neighborhood cats to leave the remains of moles and shrews on the patio or deck. The last thing we need around here is to see bits and pieces of our beloved Pepper—may she rest in peace—strewn across the deck as we look out from the dinner table. But just throwing her body into the dumpster seems disrespectful. Leaving her body in the freezer indefinitely is not an option; besides the fact that food and dead bodies probably shouldn’t share a freezer (at least she has her own shelf AND she’s double-bagged), there is the matter of us getting tired of crossing ourselves every time we retrieve a frozen pizza.

Two days ago, we went to Petsmart to buy a hamster. This is where all three of the previous rodents had been purchased, and we’d been pleased with the last two. The first one four or five years ago, Chubby, had been a dwarf hamster. Did you notice that I didn’t say “may she rest in peace” for Chubby? There is a reason. She bit. All the time. It’s a wonder we ever even bothered to buy another hamster after her. No one had ever held Chubby. We tried; the girls seriously would wear gloves and other protective gear, and we never ever ever figured out how to make Chubby like us. She is not buried. She went out with the trash when she finally died. Thank GOODNESS hamsters have a short life span.

For some reason, the kids wanted another hamster after this horrific first foray into the world of pet ownership. We told the kind people at Petsmart that our dwarf hamster had just died and we wouldn’t mind having another one that looked just like her because apart from being as mean as sin, she at least LOOKED pretty stinkin’ cute.

“Wow,” said the helpful employee. “I’m impressed that you all managed a dwarf hamster. They’re usually pretty mean and not good with children.”

Are you kidding me?! Why in the world would they even sell spiteful pets like these? Now, I could understand if this had been a pet store wedged in between a biker bar and a gun shop, but this was Petsmart, and all the giant pictures of hamsters led you to believe that hamster ownership was all rainbows, lollipops, glitter and joy.

Evidently, while dwarf hamsters were indeed cuter, we would be much happier with the regular hamsters.
Ever since then, we’ve only bought the full-sized versions: Caramel and then Pepper.

When we got to Petsmart on Monday, we discovered that all they were carrying were the dreaded dwarf hamsters (a.k.a "child eaters"). At least the signs said, “recommended for children 14 and older” so that parents who love their children would know to shop elsewhere. I didn’t ask if there was some reason why they currently only sold the spawn of Satan, because it really didn’t matter if they were getting regular, non-flesh-eating hamsters later in the week; my children needed a new hamster NOW.

We had to wait until yesterday to go to Petco. They are now my pet store of choice, because they clearly care about the well-being of my children. They carried no fewer than 8 or 9 varieties of hamsters, none of which sought to kill my children when brought out of their residences.

We finally settled on a short-haired hamster with beautiful golden brown fur. We instantly agreed on the name “Shorty.”
However, because it can be difficult to determine the ethnicity of a hamster, we’re debating on the following last names:

Shorty McShorterson
Shorty Hairoshima
Shorty VonDershortenberger
Shorty Durshortsky
Shorty Emilio Valenzuela Gomez
Shorty O’Hair (most likely to be selected since she was bought the day after St. Patrick’s.)
You're welcome to suggest other names if you're good at this kind of thing.

Oh, and if you were wondering about where Shorty is registered or if we’re having a shower, don’t worry about it. We pretty much have everything we need…
…except for a casket for Pepper—may she rest in peace.


rthling said...

Love the Shorty O'Hare. Sounds almost like she's from Chicago. Hee hee! So long Pepper ~ may she rest in peace!

Richard J said...

I'm really enjoying your blog, BTW. When our our beloved bird Speckles went to her eternal reward, our kids wanted to bury her in the back yard. But I waited until they were sleeping, then put her (him?) in the dumpster.

When they asked what I did with her (him?), I told them that I had buried him somewhere special. I never have told them that Speckles' final resting place was the local dump. Does that make me a bad parent? Probably...

Bye Pepper--may she rest in peace!

Cindy Swanson said...

Hey! I just wanted to let you know that I gave you an award today on my blog. You are under NO obligation to pass it on---just smile and enjoy it if you wish!

Marmee said...

I vote for Shorty McShort or Shorty O'Hair.....very cute! Whatever s/he may be called, may they live a long and happy hamster life.

I'm assuming you know what the Hampster Dance Song is all about??? If not, check it out on iTunes. There are whole albums devoted to hampsters singing cutish songs that drive parents like me out of their minds!

Mr. E said...

Maybe you could use an old tool box or a school crayon box as a coffin for Pepper "may she rest in peace".

At least you get to Pepper. About 4 1/2 years ago we had a pet Cockatil (? spelling) named Bonkers. Even though he was supposed to be the kids' pet, that bird loved me. One evening we came home from church to find our garage door slightly ajar. Since we had outdoor cats, I told the wife to keep the kids in the car for a moment. I'm glad I did. Apparently the bird's cage was open as well (oopp! I think that was my fault). The cats had murdered our little bird friend. All we found was feathers and a blood smear. We knew the cats did it because a few minutes later the female cat came back to the house with a feather stuck to her nose.

We never even got to say good-bye to poor Bonkers.

Tammy said...

I'm thinking Shorty E.Coli in honor of your fabulous vacation!

BTW, I've got some biohazard bags at work if you'd like me to get one for Pepper--may she rest in peace-- so there'd be no confusion in the freezer.

THEhooahwife said...

My oh my, your blog is funny! Especially when you have kids!

My vote, even though it is not a voting matter, is for Shorty O'Hair! That way the kids in the following years will remember when they got the hamster. That was always important to us, when we were kids. We would have "birthdays" for our pets, haha!

BTW, I'm sorry you had bad experiences with Dwarfs. My first beloved Hampster, "Spunky", was a Russian Dwarf. He never bit me, ever, and literally came when called. He was a sweetie! Thanks for your post helping bringing up memories of such a special pet. =)

mom huebert said...

I love the name "VonDershortenberger." Has quite a dignified ring to it, don't you think?

Gayle said...

Oh Scott, that was some of your finest work yet. I even printed it out so it could have the honored spot on top of the basket of reading material in the bathroom.

(There will be bellows of laughter coming from behind the locked door for at least a week!)

Oh, and get that dang dead hamster out of your freezer. Double bagged or not, that's just gross. What if you have company over and they open your fridge??? I'd love to read the blog about that!

javamamma said...

So, yeah, get poor Pepper's body removed from the freezer already. Now that he's been replaced an' all.

Congratulations on your new arrival though! I was going to send a gift card but couldn't find an appropriate card to send it in.

Iris Flavia said...

Very good story, I loved it! I once had a jerboa. Sadly the petshop-people sold her as single. So, she had just me - she used to climb on my shoulder, stand up and whisper in my ear - isn´t it amazing she knew what and where my ear is, depite it´s (luckily) not hairy and doesn´t sit on top of my head?

Hope you have fun with the new hamster - and find a solution for Pepper - may she rest in peace - soon!

Julee Ann said...

Found you alongside some other amazing blogs at "Notes In The Key Of Life" This and "Still His Girl" look like interesting reads! When someone takes a slice of life and makes turns it into a creative read, I'll stick them in my favorites faster than you can say Shorty VonDershortenberger. Although my vote would be Shorty O'Hair. Nice to meet ya.

Anonymous said...

You know, after chuckling through your post, I kept waiting to hear that you had decided to dissect Pepper for a homeschool science lesson. Glad you're not THAT family! I'm thinking a shoe box, a shovel and a nice arrangement of artificial flowers from StuffMart would be an appropriate rest for Pepper.

We just adopted 3 goldfish to go along with the assortment of cats and dogs at our house. Our church had a picnic last week and had goldfish races for the kids. Guess what you got if you won? Yippee!!! More critters to care for.
Honestly, it's all I can do to keep the kids alive.
Love your blog. Thanks for being a dad who blogs!

mrshoppes said...

When you are ready to move on to slightly bigger animals, wanna come help with a potbellied pig?

As for the hamster in the freezer, well, we have stranger things. coughplacentacough

Might I suggest double ziplock bag, shoe box, deep hole, brick, cinder block, or other large rock over box, then fill in with dirt.

That will help discourage wild predatory digging.

Farm gal experience here. Don't ask for details. At least you don't have to wear ob gloves up to yor armpits if your hamster has babies.