Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
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Online Since 1999
Ever since he has been old enough to walk, my
grandson has wanted a hamster. He is drawn to the hamster cages in
pet stores like a moth to the light. We have to pry him loose with
"When you are old enough to take care of it, you can have
The other day the topic of small animal pets came up again. I
don't remember why -- probably my brain is trying to block out the
memory. "When he is old enough..." I began. Then I
remembered that he is nearly eight years old now.
He is old enough.
Some preliminary checking on the Internet revealed that cages have
changed a lot since I was last in the hamster market. They are no
longer simple wire cages with exercise wheels. They are colorful
multi-level habitats with towers and tunnels for the hamster to
play in -- in other words, rodent condos.
We decided to let my grandson pick out the hamster he wanted. Of
course, he was thrilled when he got the news. We had to wait until
after dinner to tell him as we knew he wouldn't eat otherwise.
"I can have a hamster? For real?" he squealed.
"I've always wanted a hamster!"
We knew that.
I remember the first hamster we ever had for a pet, Squeaky.
Shortly after bringing it home, it had three babies. I will be
sure to get a male this time.
At the pet store there were dozens of hamsters. His mother
somewhat favored a small gray longhaired one. However, my grandson
wanted the very active, brown and white shorthair. I had forgotten
how much they look like rats. It was too late to back out now,
The Internet promised that hamsters are inexpensive pets after the
initial investment. My grandson chose a habitat. By the time we
add litter, food, an exercise wheel, an igloo to sleep in,
vitamins and chew sticks, the bill was more than I care to think
about, especially when buying a rodent.
Was it only last year that I was trying to trap mouse rodents in
the garage? Of course, I didn't mention that out loud.
"Besides, this is not a mouse," I keep telling myself.
I'm thankful that he didn't want a gerbil. Talk about looking like
a rat! At least hamsters don't have long creepy tails.
And so, we have a new member of the household now. The new
addition is named "Buddy." He seems to be adjusting well
to the new environment, climbing up and down the tunnels of his
habitat and running for hours in his exercise ball, which is about
all a hamster knows how to do. He loves lettuce and stuffs it in
his pouches like a squirrel.
I remember that hamsters are escape artists and can learn to open
a cage. One pet even learned to roll its plastic exercise ball
against the furniture until it would pop open.
Buddy has already cracked out of his habitat twice. I don't know
how he managed to unlock the door, but he apparently spent the
night in the heat vent and came out the next morning tired and
thirsty and rubbing his eyes. Just what I need, a rodent loose in
The second time he escaped, he was apprehended behind the living
room curtains. His doors are now securely taped shut. We may have
to add a barbed wire fence, alarms and spotlights.
"You have to remember to wash your hands after you play with
it," I told my grandson. "And keep its cage clean so it
doesn't get sick, and give it fresh water every day. And be gentle
with it so it doesn't bite. And..."
Oh, well, I might as well save my breath. He isn't listening
anyhow. It is good for a child to have a pet to care for and love.
At least that's what I keep telling myself.
I just wish it didn't look quite so much like a rat.
Copyright 2006 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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