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So Long Spy

Last Friday, our beloved Spy went to the giant hamster wheel in the sky. She was almost 2, which in hamster years is like 87. Last Wednesday, we were playing with her in her cage and noticed she was having trouble moving around. Her left hip was HUGE! She was still happy and eating and all that jazz, so we just played with her and left her alone to see what would happen.

On Thursday, we noticed it wasn’t any better. Princess stayed home from school because she wasn’t feeling well. She put Spy in her ball and she ran around all happy, but her hip was even bigger. So Princess and I got online and started reading about hamsters with sudden giant hips. It didn’t look good – apparently small animals are prone to tumors when they get “old.”

So Friday, I took her to PetSmart to the vet area because they do small animals. Why did I take a $15 hamster to the vet rather than just “taking care” of her? Because I couldn’t lie to Princess and say I did if I didn’t. I figured I wouldn’t be bringing her home. The vet confirmed that yes, it was a tumor and because it had grown so quickly, it was probably malignant. She said they could do surgery to remove it . . . um what?! I love her to death, but she’s a HAMSTER! Besides, I just spent $3000 repairing my dog’s ACL!

She said she had to give me the option – which was $247 and I would end up with a 3-legged hamster (they’d have to lop her whole leg off) that would most likely get another tumor within a month.

Um. No.

She then proceeded to tell me that I could take her home and as long as she was happy and eating and drinking she’d be fine. If she stopped eating and drinking, we could bring her back and she’d euthenize Spy. Most likely, we’d probably wake up one day and she’d just be dead in her cage.

I asked how many days that would be, and she said 2-10.

Um. No.

Then I asked if we could just take care of it right then. She said of course.

So I said goodbye, and yes even cried about a hamster, and went on my way.

I was SOOOOOO dreading telling Princess. I thought she’d be really sad. She had read everything with me on Thursday and knew everything I did about Spy’s current condition. But when she got home from school and found out Spy was gone – nothing. A simple pause and then “Can we get another one?”

Um. No.

Meet Spy

After months of saving, shopping for the perfect cage setup, waiting for us to be done with holiday travel, and waiting for Hubby to be home for a couple weeks, we got Spy!

We went to the pet store and Dude and Princess immediately knew which one they wanted – the one on the wheel. Thankfully they both agreed on the same one without discussion! So Dude found a sales lady and we brought this home…


Surprisingly, neither Tonks or Duma cared that we had a box with a little rodent in it . . . they went about their usual napping (Tonks) and rolling around on the floor making weird noises (Duma) while Hubby put Spy in her new home.

Spy was quite happy to get out of that box and immediately started exploring her cage. She kept going to the corners – I’m sure she just wanted out, not caring that there was a cat and a giant dog out there waiting to eat her!


I must admit, she really is a cute little baby hamster J


The kids can’t handle her for a couple days until she gets a little settled. Then they get to sit in an empty bathtub (drain closed of course) and let Spy run around on them and get used to them.

They were quite bummed that she wouldn’t go up her tubes and run around . . . she spent most of her time sitting in her food bowl and burrowing underneath the bedding in the bottom of her cage, making a nice little bed at the bottom of the tube that leads to the rest of her cage setup. We were all quite bummed she wouldn’t go up the tube and explore, but I’m sure the kids will have lots of stories to tell me when I call today J

We can never forget our first 4-legged child . . . she finally wandered over and started to explore the box Spy came home in.


It took her about 5 seconds to determine that 1) there was no rodent in the box anymore and 2) she does not particularly like the tiny pellets of hamster food they had put in there for Spy.

I can’t wait until Spy starts running around in her tubes and can get in the ball and check out the rest of the living room – even more so, I can’t wait to see what Tonks and Duma do when that happens!

A Home Fit For A Spy

Today, I helped my kids purchase the rest of the stuff they needed for Spy and design Spy’s home.




No clue why I was completely incapable of taking an unblurry photo of the top view of Spy’s home.

I’m sure you’ve figured out that Spy is a hamster . . . a hamster we do not yet own. The kiddos are required to finish reading the hamster book they bought before they can actually purchase Spy.

Raise your hand if you think Tonks is going to try to eat Spy.

Hubby is not so thrilled with the idea of Spy. I, on the other hand, had a gerbil when I was in 2nd grade – my cousin gave it to me – with the cage and everything – what a deal! Sure my parents made me convince Mrs. Koehnke to let me keep Sammy White at school as our little mascot, but I still had a hamster. And the memories of the entire class spending about an hour each month trying to find Sammy when he escaped from his cage. And the memories of Mrs. Koehnke not-so-quietly getting on the PA system at my tiny school to tell them that while we are frantically looking for Sammy, it’s quite possible he may have left the room and that the others in the school should please NOT stomp on him should he run into their classroom because he is a pet, not a mouse. And the memories of me and my best chosen friend having to clean up the shreds of paper Sammy left in the classroom as he had his way all night.

And the memories of finding a dead Sammy in his cage when I went into the room to check on him the night of the Christmas concert.

Raise your hand if you had a real live actual CHRISTMAS program at school – complete with a Santa!

And the memories of riding home in the car and hearing my brother say “I threw him in the dumpster out back” when my Dad asked him what he did with Sammy.

Wait – where was I? Oh yes – Spy – the hamster we don’t own. The kiddos spent all their money on supplies today, so have to save up another $17 to purchase Spy . . . it’s amazing how helpful they can be around the house when they want to earn some money :-) For now, they’ll just have to put one of Princess’ Zhu Zhu Pets in the cage and pretend it’s a real live hamster.