Several years ago, I went through a short phase of wanting a hamster named Elizabeth, so I could call her “Sissy” and put her in my pocket.
This Christmas, that dream became reality and I became the surprised and sudden new papa to a dwarf hamster named Elizabeth.
In the eight months since Christmas, Elizabeth has become middle-aged. She no longer runs on her wheel all night, but instead takes short naps or cracks seeds between jaunts on it. About two months ago, it seemed that she was peeing a bit more and often up in the daytime drinking. Now, it’s a torrent of piss and she’s on a jag for her water bottle. It’s not likely we could leave her for three days without her running out of water. She is also a moody bitch and much more likely to bite you than do other hamsterish-things like wriggle about to escape your grasp.
Still reeling from the Pops vet episode, I turned to the Internets for wisdom. Turns out she has all the classic signs for diabetes which is common in these Campbell River Russian hamsters. The other day, I was biking by the small animal vet and stopped in for a quick chat. While they recommended I bring her in and get her tested (that would cost about $100), they did give me a bit of plan to get her into old age, maybe three or four months from now!
These dwarf hamsters are very cute, but they are also nocturnally busy animals, quite smelly, and not particularly nice since they are more wild than domestic. Throw in a predisposition to a disease that makes them even more smelly and moody and I can’t recommend these as pets. It’s just too sad to already be thinking of (and even a bit hopeful for) the day when I come into the office and find that I need to make a little coffin and plan a funeral in the garden.