Monday, September 30, 2013

RIP Princess Gypsy 2.0

This is a tribute to one of the neatest creatures we have ever had the pleasure of knowing in the Shoup House.  Princess Gypsy 2.0.

Our first Princess Gypsy, met an untimely demise, so we did what any parents would do.  We eased the sting by getting another Princess Gypsy!  While the original PG taught us what NOT to do and what to look for, she wasn't the nicest critter.  I don't think she had a great start and was saddled with newbie little critter parents in her golden years.  The newer addition was the size of a rat, minus the tail, and so super cute and sweet!  And very tolerant of a little girl continuing to poke her face into PG's cage.

We learned a lot with PG 2.0, especially the need that hamsters have to climb.  We learned that PG 2.0 was bored in her tank as she didn't have many climbing opportunities.  My favorite story with PG 2.0 happens to deal with our habitat transition.

Once I figured out PG was bored, we went to several stores trying to find a habitat suitable for a Siberian hamster.  SHOCKINGLY, there is no hamster specialty store and the workers in various big box pet super stores were less than knowledgeable.  I found this crazy pod looking thing that promised to provide her with tons of climbing opportunities (it did not) and would be spacious enough for our precious PG 2.0(it was not).  We got it in the mail and NannyK and KIC set about putting it together.  None of use had this sense of security about it as the whole construction part was extremely nebulous.  It just didn't seem all that secure and we dumb humans couldn't seem to get it right.  We had moved PG downstairs as she was keeping KIC up at night, but I felt something would go amiss in this new pod.  I moved her into the dining room figuring, if anything went wrong, she wouldn't have to deal with the dogs.  We had to leave for about an hour that evening so it wasn't like constant monitoring was an option.  We loaded the pod with treats to entice her to explore.  Was it my imagination or was she uneasy about her new place too?  Rest assured, there was no dilly dallying that night.

You can imagine my grim satisfaction when we came home and notice the clever PG 2.0 had managed to open her pod and escape.  I think they should advertise this habitat as an escape pod.  We immediately started scouring the dining room for PG 2.0 with KIC's hysterics increasing in volume as each minute passed.  Incredibly, during a panicked call to NannyK about the lost hamster, she was located within 5 minutes of our search.  The wily hamster had managed to jump about 3 feet down from the dining room table and evade  not one, but two, curious felines.  They have since been relieved of their rodent catching duties. 

To my relief, PG 2.0 seemed none worse for the wear.  Except...oh crap!!!  She had blood streaming from her mouth!  Frantically, I'm going through my veterinary rolodex wondering which was the closest to treat an injured hamster and omigod, could they save her?!?!?!?!?!  Wait a minute.  PG is looking at me bright and alert like "what in the world are you raising a fuss about?!?"  But ... there's blood...  Suddenly, sanity set in.  The enticement to explore her habitat?  They were strawberry yogurt bites.  Knowing she was going on the lam, she must have stuffed her cheeks with the yogurt bites and while on the run they melted.  Further inspection showed melted strawberry yogurt bites EVERYWHERE!  Belly, paws, face, with PG 2.0 none worse for the wear.  A presentment of the hamster ball and PG was scooped up and put in the old habitat.  We were back to square one, but the excitement of the escape was enough to last PG for a while until we could find a new habitat.  One that did not act as an escape pod!

In the end, PG 2.0, in her golden months, got a rather sizeable tumor that prevented her from doing much other than sleeping.  We fed her sugar water, which she loved, while we figured out what was wrong with her.  When the official diagnosis came back from the vet, we knew it was time to let her go.  This is definitely not a new topic for KIC, but we were all pretty devastated. 

We have since welcomed Hercules into our crazy Shoup zoo.  True to Shoup humanity form, KIC picked a very sweet, very nice little guy who is losing his fur like crazy due to some mite infestation.  He's a happy little guy, though not our first choice.  Our first choice, much like Princess Gypsy in size and color, was adopted before we could get to the shelter.  Fostering is not all roses for any of the Shoups, and sometimes giving up one of our fosters is gut wrenching.  But, I was grateful that when I told KIC that someone else had adopted Susie, it meant she could rejoice and not be sad.  Whether the hamster is a necessity or not, they continue to teach us more than we could have expected.  And for that, we will continue to be happy to give them a crazy, loving home, melted yogurt bites and all.

RIP PG 2.0.  Thank you for the happiness you gave us all.!/photo.php?fbid=3911642745484&set=a.1064226681862.10525.1111836727&type=3&theater