Sunday, September 05, 2004


Those who know me will understand that I am doing back flips along with my girls to announce that we have a new pet in the Dragon Dreams household! It is a tiny dwarf hamster named Nipper!! It is SO silly to be this excited over something so small and furry... but, next to dragons, I have always loved small mouse like creatures with a passion. Mousie was my nickname growing up and I have quite the collection of small mouse figurines. I owned gerbils at two different points in my life and adored them until twice someone gave us cats!

You have to understand that very few of my adult friends, and most especially my dear husband, do NOT feel the same way about small things that scurry. We have also put off having a pet since the disastrous rainbow guppy Aqua Babies incident a few years ago with Erin that involved far too many fish headstones in our backyard and over 80 dollars to try and get a fish ecosystem that would keep something alive. Knowing that we like to travel also made it easy to tell the girls that a pet was impossible for the time being.

Then, Erin was asked to help look after the neighbour’s cat between our own holidays this summer. That started the longing for something of her own to take care of. We stood firm and marched off on our own second adventure for the summer. But then we went to Prince Edward Island again on Friday to visit other friends of ours. They live in rural PEI and not only had two bunnies, but two tiny barn kittens!! Erin and Bethany both bear the marks of playing with tiny, clawed kitty tornadoes. That day we also went to the petting zoo right near their house where they were selling off miniature Rex bunnies and beagle puppies. We got to pick up cats, puppies and bunnies galore, including one tiny grey rabbit that kept snuggling into me and trying to nibble my green sweater.

Perhaps, in a warped way, it has something to do with the fact that my “baby” is heading off to school this year... but I could feel my defenses beginning to crumble, especially as Erin and Bethany kept doing the Puss In Boots eyes while holding small, cute furry things!

We drove home late on Friday night and when both girls conked out in the car, Nick and I had a chance to discuss our approach to pet ownership again without the girls overhearing us. He’d managed to convince me that the 10 dollar bunny would turn into a much more expensive proposition than I had planned, but Saturday morning when we needed to do groceries, he was the one who suggested we have a peek at the pet store nearby.

In we went and peeked at all the animals that had just arrived including adorable $500 siamese kittens, bunny cages that cost $149 and then as we rounded the corner to the rodents, there was one of the Dwarf Hamsters doing a little scratchy dance against the glass! My girls were lost in fits of “ohhh how cute!!!” and this time Nick just said “You have to have a plan in place before we buy any pet!” It became a math lesson as we walked around the store to figure out with Erin and Bethany that the eight dollar hamster would end up costing over 100 dollars in accessories!

We went on to do our groceries and “think about it” as the girls began to put a plan in place for where the cage might go and how we could take care of the little dancing critter. By the time we got home, we had agreed to tidy the whole basement up to see if there would be room in the family room for a cage. I have never seen my girls so eager to TIDY! We also called the pet store back to ask more questions about owning a Dwarf Hamster. The shop owner did refer to them as “evil incarnate” but the three of us were determined to tame one eventually or just sit back and enjoy watching it from a safe distance.

After lunch, we went out and bought everything we needed to make Nipper feel welcome at our house.... well... almost everything. I broke down and went back to the pet store this afternoon for a little balcony, a smaller wheel since she didn’t have enough body weight to make the one we’d bought move... and some hamster treats. I am hooked!!!!

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