This post was inspired by a visit to MoonDoggie.
While most kids were busy begging their folks for a dog or cat. What did I long for? A frigging hamster. Yup, a furry rodent that would feast on hardened kernels of corn or sunflower seeds and sleep amongst a pile of wood shavings. That was my dream pet.
Around age 10, I remember wanting a hamster more than anything. I would draw pictures of hamsters with my Crayola Markers and come up with names for them until finally my parents gave in. They made me promise to take care of it and I did. I never once needed their help other than to help me fetch hamster food, and bedding from the pet store.
My dad knew of a pet store in the Baldwin, Long Island area so one spring day the family set out to find my new furry buddy. I remember how excited I was to bring him home. He was the color of light chocolate so I named him Cocoa.
I remember how his little warm body would squirm when I gently held him to my chest. His head was in constant motion, almost as if he was always on alert. His whiskers would tickle me when I gave his tiny face soft, delicate kisses. His fur smelled like the colored wood chips and shavings I'd leave in his cage.
That year, my dad set up his childhood Lionel train set in our basement. Silly kid that I was, I put Cocoa in one of the open train cars and then activated the train. It worked as well as the time I tried putting my mother's cat in my doll carriage when I was five.
I loved how finishing up a roll of toilet paper and placing it in his hamster cage. I would watch Cocoa attempt to squeeze through it. I could watch "Cocoa Puff"--as I sometimes called him--for hours in his little safe haven. The sound of him roaming the yellow and orange transparent tubes or burning calories on his little wheel would lull me to sleep every night.
I swear, if we didn't have a cat, I think I might actually buy another hamster.