Zoe the Hamster with Bipolar Foils Death Yet Again!

Okay, well Zoe doesn’t have a bona fide DSM-5 bipolar diagnosis, but I had to rope you in somehow! imgres

(She does seem to have rather mercurial states of mind.)   

To tell you the truth, I find it interesting that the first topic I wanted to write about today wasn’t bipolar-related. That’s a novelty. I think about bipolar disorder so constantly that it feels like a part-time job. While a hamster on the lam may not be quite as fascinating a subject as bipolar disorder, it feels good to focus on the critter and give my weary brain a break. 

Actually, I do bring up bipolar disorder at the close of this post, so please bear with me and don’t scamper off! 😉  Prepare yourself for some rodent-related high drama!

My brain is not feeling too fresh today because I awoke with a head cold. I become a big baby when I’m sick, even if it’s a mild bug. I felt the creeping crud coming on yesterday afternoon while I whizzed around doing too many errands. I think that hectic pace made me vulnerable to a germ which has been making the rounds. Sneezing, weakness, and the grumpies have been my only symptoms.  

Anyway, I noticed this morning it was very quiet. Preternaturally quiet. There were no sounds of Zoe frenetically running on her “Critter Trail” wheel. I walked over to her abode holding my breath.

Ahhhhhhhhhh! My worst suspicions were confirmed.

No Zoe!

During the night she bit through layers of duct tape used as a temporary measure to cover a hole in her cage. (Before you critique me, please know it wasn’t my idea to use duct tape!) Meanwhile, our dog Lucy ran excitedly from room to room. After checking the bathroom for signs of Zoe, I sequestered Lucy there. 

Next, Rilla and I went on a hamster hunt. All the while, I fervently prayed that Lucy didn’t have Zoe in her digestive system!  

I don’t want to sound like we’re negligent hamster owners, but these things do happen. We’ve had Zoe escape once before…


I worried that it was highly unlikely for us to have another happy ending.  

I ran around the house with Rilla, snot running down my face in the mayhem. I peered into every nook and cranny for the wily brown furball. I looked down over the edge of Marilla’s bunk bed that pressed up against the wall, where there were a few inches of space between bed and wall. To my shock, Zoe’s head popped out from underneath the lower bunk.  Hallelujah! After coaxing her out with hamster grub, Rilla grabbed her as gently as she could. Relief washed over me.  

I covered Zoe’s cage’s hole with a brick instead of duct tape. 

From now on, I’m calling her the Houdini Hamster. 

Now I’m tuckered out from all the commotion, so I’m off to be a banana slug. This hamster excitement took a lot out of me, but at least I don’t have a hysterical seven-year-old on my hands. Thank God I’m not making plans for a hamster funeral.

I’m also glad I had the energy to find Zoe. If this incident happened during my bipolar depression days, I would’ve hidden beneath my comforter, unable to deal with it. Finding Zoe was a small-yet-significant triumph.

Sending you all my sluggy love until late next week,


 Fascinating Banana Slug Fact:

Banana slugs can be found hanging out in our front yard. Fortunately Lucy doesn’t try to eat them – that would be gross, as they love to slither along things such as dog excrement.imgres-1imgres

46 thoughts on “Zoe the Hamster with Bipolar Foils Death Yet Again!

  1. Any time I think about getting a hamster, I’m going to have to remind myself of Houdini Hamster and give it a pass for now. *giggles*

  2. You could definitely handle one of these cuties, Raeyn!
    ‘Twas our faulty cage and fawlty brains each time, and I admire your brainpowe very much.

    There are also “Robo” (mini) hamsters – have you heard of them? I must say they’re adorable as well. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by; I love your comments!

  3. Whew! No hamster funerals to attend or send flowers for. 🙂 What type of funeral flowers would be appropriate for a hamster, anyway? I’m glad you found Zoe.

    • Tee hee heee – thank you! Not sure about the flower choice; I need to ponder that because guess what – did you know that hamsters only have a two-year-long lifespan? That sucks! (Yes, I use such evocative, sophisticated vocabulary in my writing!)

      p.s. I still intend to reply to that awesome, comment you wrote in response to my latest “Writing Rejection” post.

  4. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I SO needed this post. I pinned the hamster pic and the banana slug duo pic to my Pinterest Humor board. I needed some levity. We all do.

    • I’m beyond thrilled that my post brought some lightness into your day, dearest Special K! (Hey, I’m a poet and didn’t know it!) Yuk yuk yuk! We all need a steady dose of chuckles, especially when it has been such a hard week for so many of us.

      I was honored you pinned the pics to your Pinterest Humor board – I retweeted those links, of course, and I took a peek. (I still don’t “do” Pinterest – gasp! – but never say never!)

      It’s very upsetting to accidentally step on a banana slug; fortunately I’ve only done that once or twice since 1988. I don’t know much about them, and I’d like to know more since we live in such close company! (Luckily I’ve never had one slither into the house thank God. That would be gross.) XOXO

    • I’m so glad the post made you smile, Vic! God knows I’ve written enough grim material on this blog. I’ve noticed that the posts (here and elsewhere) with the most disturbing stuff usually gets the highest # of views. But we all need a bit of a break every now & then, eh? Stats be damned! 😉

  5. We once had a hamster get away from us into a closet. Our cat slipped past us as we started to pull stuff out and a few seconds later came out holding her by the scruff of her neck as if she were a kitten.

    • I shared this incident with my girls, Joel, and wow – they oooohed and ahhhhed over it. I wonder if your cat had mixed feeling about the hamster – did it consider it a kitty or a snack or both? In any case, it sounds like there was a happy ending there. I hope. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

      • Hard to say what she was thinking, but we grabbed her fast and got the hamster back in her cage, pronto. We weren’t taking any chances.

      • I’m sure they have feline shrinks who could tell what your cat was thinking – it seems like they have just about everything else in Santa Cruz County! 😉

  6. My daughter called our bunny Houdini Bunny, once. When we first rescued him, we had no supplies, so we had to improvise a cage for the night.
    I put him in a tall , empty, plastic laundry basket.
    The basket was open on the top and I could not figure out how to close it off, so he would not hop out.
    I placed a wicker basket , which had a lid, on top of the open basket.
    ( The reason for not putting him in the one with the lid was fear of him being scratched by the wicker sticking out in places)
    So he wad in the plastic basket with the other one on top of it.
    A little while later, my daughter called me in a panuc that he was missing. He was not in the basket but the wicker one was still ecactly on top, where I left it.
    My daughter then realized that he was inside of the wicker basket….trapped because the lud was down…
    To this day I have no idea how he got from the one underneath to the one on top…and then got himself stuck anyway …
    Houdini Bunny ….. and Houdini Hampster…..
    Must be a bipolar pet thing.. . Pets with delusions of grandeur. ..

    • How funny that your daughter called the bunny “Houdini”!!!
      And the mystery of how he got into the wicker basket is nothing short of hilarious! Those wily bunnies…
      Your last line: “Must be a bipolar pet thing…Pets with delusions of grandeur.”
      Love it!

      Thanks so much for giving me a giggle – I must share this tail, I mean tale,
      with my girls today – they’ll truly enjoy it.

  7. Banana slugs remind me of my eccentric grandmother… She used to have wooden banana slug magnets. My dad now keeps one as a reminder of his mother. Silly things of loved ones past. Anyways… Hamsters are notorious for escaping . We had three batches of two at a time and they all seemed to escape except for one. My brother sorta squeezed the life out of it. He was three and really excited over excited. He didn’t know better. We tease him about that still. They are sweet little pets. I loved my hamsters. Your girls probably love them too. 🙂 happy hunting!

    • Hey beautiful Adina! It seems super-easy to squeeze a hamster to oblivion, especially if you’re trying to catch it – my girl almost did the same thing as your poor brother when she grabbed it before it went back under the bunk bed.

      I love how your Dad still has the wooden magnet of the banana slug to remind him of his mother – that’s really sweet.

      I’m really hoping that we have a reprieve on missing hamsters for a good, long while. It’s so stressful. After the heartbreaking way my older daughter reacted to her deceased hermit crab (which, very unfortunately, happened on her birthday) I dread another pet death. I know it’s part of the circle of life and all that, but please God, I want a looooooooooooonnnnng break before I deal with any of that!!!! 😉

    • I has a cat who never trusted toddlers because of being choked by one when he was a kitten. My dog on the other hand will luck babies in strollers if I don’t watch him.

      • Awwww, your poor cat – that’s serious trauma and I don’t blame him for being scared of toddlers after what happened to him!

        On the other hand, what a friendly dog you have but I’m sure you need to keep a close eye on him when you’re around any baby!

        My Mom had a cat named Max who liked to drink from my baby bottle in my crib. Since she worried about my getting smothered, she had to find him another home. I know that’s a typical tail, I mean tale. 😉

  8. Ah, the good old escaped hamster days lol. Me and my sister had rats when we were younger and every time they escaped was a big panic fest. Me and her would cry and cry and for my parents the rat hunt was on! haha

    So glad that you could find Zoe. And thanks for the bonus banana slug pics! They look cool. Minus the thing about them sliding around in dog poo lol.

    • I’m getting such a kick out of these comments because so many of us bloggers have had memorable hamster and rat experiences. I neglected to write about my own lost hamster, Snowball. She (or perhaps he, I never knew!) was a beautiful, white fluffy hamster I had when I was little. Snowball and I would hang out together on my Pepto Bismol- pink vinyl bean bag. One day Snowball escaped and went underneath our house (there was a huge crawl space) and I was heartbroken. I gave up all hope of her return.

      Weeks later a skinny, sick looking hamster who vaguely resembled my plump Snowball showed up. While I was thrilled that Snowball returned, her death came calling soon. It was awful to see my hamster deteriorate like that, and I didn’t get a hamster after Snowball perished.

      I don’t look forward to either Zoe or Snowball (yep, my other girl named her Robo dwarf hamster Snowball) dying, but hopefully they’ll live out their supposed two years! Fingers and toes are tightly crossed on that one! 😉

      • Awww poor little Snowball! No matter how small a pet is it’s always so sad when they pass.

        Zoe and (other) Snowball might surprise you and live a very long time! 🙂

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Jay! Both hamsters are alive and well today. I’ve gotten a happy “beginning”, so to speak, which I’ll be blogging about real soon. Hope you swing by…take care. Dyane 🙂

    • Thanks so much for reading, Melissa! The brick was effective as a temp. measure – hurrah! Houdini Hamster did not get to pull another disappearing act.

      Take care and once again, I must tell you that I LOVED that latest photo of yours on your incredible blog! It brought me back to happy times…

      • Glad no Houdini again. Of course, that hamster may be pretty crafty yet. It seems ours always were growing up. Let’s hope not, though. 😉 Thanks about the image! That makes me smile. 🙂

  9. When I read, “I’m off to be a banana slug,” I felt almost as grossed out as if you had covered me with slugs. Then, when I saw the photo of your banana slugs, I really cringed. Our slugs are bland tan critters. Your look like something I might eat from our garden during a pepper harvest!

    I laughed about your hamster being a he or she. Years ago, my daughter asked for help identifying what hers was, so I found some websites for her to use. They looked convincing, but didn’t actually work for real, live hamsters. We’ll never know…

  10. This is totally a triumph. Considering how wee hamsters are, how unpredictable larger animals are, and how fragile a child is when it comes to losing an animal, you had every right to be a banana slug the rest of the day. 🙂
    Yeah, this is me avoiding the first week of “Professor how does school work???” type emails that I’ve been getting since term started last week. UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGH.
    So, hi! filling my tanks with coffee as I continue battling sons over the toilet and in-laws with the Christmas schedule. I’m hoping, REALLY hoping, we can survive the next couple weekends. It’s much easier to go with the flow where my in-laws are concerned, but they’re so quick to get upset over anything that I wish we could just have Christmas by ourselves this year. Still, that’s not fair to the kids, or the old in-laws that are nice–they just can’t cook, so I always get sick eating their food. Ugh, I’m complaining. Ok, bucking up to do school stuff. Big hugs, and stay healthy! (I’ve got a cold m’self–the skin under my nose is already raw and hates me. 😦 )

    • You can complain to me anytime! I mean it! And I won’t even bill you!

      You have so much going on, and if ***anyone**** can survive the next couple weekends, it’s you. All the challenges you mentioned sound extremely tough, but the food issue sounds VERY, VERY daunting.

      Is there any chance you could say your, ahem, new physician Dr. Dyane Harwood has advised you to be on a special diet where you need to bring your own food????? 😉 Just a (koo-koo) thought! If I was wealthy I’d send your family (the immediate family, that is) tickets to come have Christmas with us! How I wish. You and I would most likely get those high-tech “liquid” backpacks that backpacking folks usually use to drink water, but we’d fill them up full of coffee, ha ha! We’d take on the Monterey Peninsula by storm!

      Keep me posted on how goes it!
      Love you, my dear Lady J!

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