You know how one thing leads to another? Well. Last night my girlfriend, Jeannie, and I were watching “Shahs of Sunset”. She was watching “The Shahs” from her apartment in Manhattan and I was watching it here at home in Phoenixville. We were texting each other during the show.
It’s more fun to watch with a friend–even if you have to text each other!
Anyway, she texted that “MJ, putting her dead dog’s body in the freezer is batshit crazy!!
Yes it was! MJ’s dog died. Before she has him stuffed, she needed to freeze him!
One of these dogs is now a “pup”sicle!
Um….I had to stop for pause and remind Jeannie that years ago I also almost placed a “dead” animal in the freezer. Jeannie completely ignored my statement. I think I scared her!
Flashback to mid 1990’s
We moved from NYC to New Jersey. The development we moved to was named “Brandon Farms” –a new housing development in Pennington.
Brandon Farms–home to many of our greatest neighbors and friends!
The street we lived on was “Navesink Drive” and we had the greatest suburban neighbors of all time. Mostly everyone on our end of the street was from New York or Long Island. In fact, I actually grew up with one of my neighbors.
First day of school. September 1996. Some of the Navesink gang waiting for the bus. We had “first day of school” parties from grammar through high school! They attended “Bear Tavern” school. Is that the greatest name for a school or what??
During the summer months, we adults would get our lawn chairs out and hang out on the driveways or each other’s back yards. The kids, and there were many, could be found playing “Capture the Flag” till midnight. It really was a very idyllic setting.
We trusted each other like family. So much, in fact, that when my neighbor Nancy and her family went away one summer for vacation, she asked me to “baby sit” for her newly acquired and very rare Russian Hamster (I believe it was a Djungarian Hamster).
This is what Nancy’s Rare Russian Djungarian hamster looked like.
I had no issue with this. After all, our lab, Ruby and our Bassett hound, Dorothy, would welcome a playmate!
Dorothy looking lovingly at Ruby. Actually Dorothy was most likely daydreaming about her beloved sofa pillows!
Nancy dropped off her hamster (I can’t remember his name) and entrusted me with his life.
My oldest son, Jake, in his pragmatic way, suggested I take the hamster’s cage and put it in his bedroom for safekeeping. Jake was concerned that one of the dogs would harm the hamster by mistake.
I laughed Jake off and reminded him that Ruby, although, large, wouldn’t harm an ant (but she did surprise me one day with a bird that she caught!) and Dorothy, our rescued Basset was only interested in humping the pillows from the sofa and random legs. (Dorothy had some strange habits).
Dorothy humped pillows with such intensity–I swear she invented “twerking”!
My son, Roman, and his friends would egg Dorothy on many times by placing pillows in front of her. I do believe that my Dorothy was the first living being to twerk!
Ignoring Jake’s concern, I placed the small cage, which had no covering on top, above Ruby’s crate in my kitchen.
Picture a cage similar to this–without a top! Yes. I placed it on top of my lab’s crate!
Oftentimes during the nice weather, I would leave the back door of the house opened. This way Ruby and Dorothy could go in and out of the yard at their leisure. On this one particularly sunny and warm day, I opened the back door to the yard, and went about my business—cleaning the three bathrooms, vacuuming the upstairs and downstairs, dusting, doing laundry—the basics.
When I entered the kitchen, I glanced admirably at Ruby and Dorothy, lazing in the backyard and looking content.
Ruby and Dorothy chillin’ in the yard. They were probably having a conversation about what an idiot I was to leave such a small critter within their reach!
Then I went over to clean the hamster’s cage. The rare, Russian hamster was gone.
“Oh shit”, I thought “Where could that little critter be?” I thought perhaps he escaped.
I went outside—as if to ask both Ruby and Dorothy if they saw the hamster. And as if they were going to answer me with “No. We haven’t seen him. OK?” “Can you go back inside?”
Then I spotted something odd. It looked like Ruby had something hanging out of her mouth. I called her over.
Ruby, with tail wagging in happiness, ran up to me and dropped an object at my feet. It was the hamster! Upon closer inspection, a toe—or claw, whatever it was, was missing! He was also stiff as a board and did not appear to be breathing either.
I must’ve looked like a crazed lunatic! I was speed walking in circles thinking out loud, screeching, “Oh my God. Oh my God. Nancy left her hamster in my care and Ruby tried to eat him”
It was awful. At some point, I would have to call Nancy and she would never trust me again. It was just as bad explaining to my son, Jake, that I should have listened to him. I was dreading the kids return from school later on in the afternoon.
I quickly got a plastic grocery bag, scooped up the murdered, innocent rodent and placed him in the trash—I don’t even remember saying a prayer to the dead for him!
I still get upset at the thought that I actually threw a dead little rare Russian hamster in the trash!
My brain was in high gear! I had an idea! I had a GREAT idea!
A GREAT idea!
I figured I would go to the pet store where Nancy purchased this rare little critter and get a dupe. Nobody would ever know!
My idea was genius! Yes. I would quickly go back to the trash, get the bag out, and place the hamster in the freezer in the garage.
I likened the freezer to a morgue for small critters!
When he was good and solid, I would drive to the pet store, have the owner take a good look at the little stiff and give me a perfect match. I would take the replacement hamster home and nobody would know the difference.
I know, I know. It isn’t ethical, but I don’t think it’s a mortal sin! Maybe venial, but not mortal.
Off I went to the edge of my driveway to get the hamster out of the trash and place him into the freezer. My garage would be a make-shift morgue, if only for a few hours!
Just in the nick of time too. The sanitation truck was two houses down! Could you imagine me going to the pet store with only a description and no “sample” of what was needed?
Trust me–you have NO idea how thrilled I was to make it to the trash bin before these guys did!
With a big “Whew” and a sigh, I was able to grab the bag before the sanitation men arrived.
When I removed the bag from the trash, the oddest thing happened!
The bag moved. It squirmed and wiggled and popped. And freaked the living hell out of me!
This rare Russian Djungarian(?) hamster was alive!!! I guess he was just playing “possum” and faking his own death to get Ruby from eating the rest of his digits!
Now I’m not a “rodent” kind of person. I’m not even a cat person! My domestic pet choice is a dog. Well, we did have a guinea pig named “Red” for a while. He caught a draft, got sick and passed on. We even had a funeral for him.
However, I was so thrilled that this little hamster was alive! Even if one of his toes was missing, at least the other 95% of him was still intact!
Naturally, I had to fess up—just in case the missing body part was noticed when Nancy and family arrived home. There was no way I could shrug and say “I dunno what happened”.
Jake was upset with me after learning what happened. He took the hamster and moved him into his bedroom.
I called Nancy at her vacation spot and tried to make a joke out of it. You know. “Hi Nancy—It’s Cathe. You will NEVER guess what happened. It was so funny!!!”
I don’t’ think Nancy got really mad at me. Stuff like that happens when pets are involved. However, she never asked me to babysit for any of her pets again. Trust me—she had a number of them. Including a rare frog that I always found to be intriguing……
Lessons learned—make sure all small critters in the house have a cover on their cage. Listen to your kids more. Had I listened to Jake, the rare, Russian Djungarian(?) hamster would still have 100% of his body!
Well, I think you have a good idea of what today’s little video will be–THE HAMSTER DANCE!!!! (And don’t judge me!)