Hamsters I have known — when growing up I wished to have a hamster, as I thought them cute and furry. And so over the course of about five years, from 1980 to 1985, I owned three hamsters in succession, the first two of which passed on peacefully and the third of which was given away prior to a move and the realization that I think my phase had passed. I still like the little buggers but I think I’m not patient enough to deal with all the cedar chips and odoriferousness and all that anymore.

Still, cheers for all three of them, each named Tory. I was going to name my first hamster Jon, stuck as I was for a name and thinking somehow of my uncle’s name as being a good choice. But the hamster turned out to be female and so my aunt’s name was substituted, happily she didn’t mind and met her first namesake once in 1981 or so. Tory I (so named in retrospect) was short-haired, multicolored and a touch wild when I first got her, but she calmed down a bit and was a sweetie. When she passed I was extremely bereft, and still remember with sorrow reaching into her cage to check on her and realizing she was cold and dead. Not a pleasant situation for an eleven year old.

The third one was a shorthair as well, all brown, and I didn’t feel much of an emotional connection though she did provide a great story when I woke up one morning to find her happily sitting on my pillow, having apparently escaped the cage in the night. The second was my favorite in the end, a ‘teddy bear’ hamster with long tufts of fur. Hamsters don’t do much in terms of entertainment value, perhaps, but Tory II had a certain way about her rodent-scaled self, looking as soft and pettable as she indeed was, and very unafraid of humans.

I suppose hamster cages these days are extremely involved affairs, and that hamster chow and chew sticks are still manifold in pet stores. So long as there are tons of the critters out there still, that’s all that matters.