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Critter Camp #SpringBreak #PetSitting #GoldenDoodles #Hamsters #Photos » Jolana Malkston
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Apr 112018

Spring Break time came around and we got the usual call. Would MG and I pet sit Buddy the Golden Doodle for two weeks while our Second Son and his family went to Florida? Sure we would. We’re dog people, and Buddy is adorable. We love having him visit Grandma’s Pet Camp.

Then we got the text. Not a call, a text. Would we also be willing to critter sit Oliver, the Princess’s cute little pet hamster?

Oh. Um. Critter sit a little, uh, rodent? In our nice, clean, vermin-free house? Oh, boy. Well now, how could we possibly refuse to take care of our elder granddaughter’s cute little hamster? So, okay, sure. We’d. Love. To.

Taking care of Oliver fell to me, of course. Why was I not surprised at that?

Second Son arrived with both pets on Palm Sunday after church. When we opened the door, Buddy rushed in first, tail wagging, obviously excited and happy to see us. After running around the house to check everything out, he proceeded to chew on his toy pork chop. He hadn’t yet figured out he wasn’t going to sunny Florida with the family. Soon he would realize he was staying in frigid Michigan with Grandma and Grandpa where he would be spoiled rotten. As the grandpuppy, being spoiled rotten was his natural right.

Following Buddy’s entrance, Second Son carried Oliver’s cage into the house and ensconced it in my laundry room on the counter I use for pre-spotting and folding clothes. Fortunately, MG set a boot tray down first to protect the counter. So far, so good, because the cage was a mess. Oliver’s burrowing made large piles of the white shredded lining in the cage. The evidence of the bodily waste he eliminated stood out clearly against it. Eww.

Oliver was nowhere to be seen during the day. Of course not. Hamsters are nocturnal critters. That much I knew. Second son teased me about taking good care of Oliver. It would look bad if Oliver died on my watch. The Princess might never forgive me. Gee, thanks, Son.

The grandkids requested frequent updates on the pets with photos because they missed them. It is easy enough to capture photos of Buddy to send. He is awake when we are.

Oliver is another story. He comes out at night while the rest of us sleep. His food is always gone in the morning. One night, I was in the creative zone and was still writing after bedtime. I heard a squeaking noise coming from the laundry and I investigated. When I flicked the light switch on, Oliver deserted his exercise wheel and scurried back into one of his little houses. Mystery solved.

I noticed his food dish was almost empty so I opened the cage top, refilled the dish and replaced it. Miraculously, Oliver appeared, climbed up the tube nearest his dish, and he proceeded to pig out right in front of me. He didn’t try to hide again. I snapped a pic with my IPhone and sent it to the Princess in the morning. She loved it.

MG and I were up late a couple of nights ago when we heard Oliver’s exercise wheel begin to squeak. I was determined to get a photo of Oliver running in the wheel to send to the Princess. I knew I’d have to be quick. I turned on the light and clicked away. I got the shot. I thought Oliver would peel out and hide immediately but he didn’t. He kept on running in the wheel and getting nowhere. I switched to video and recorded a short video of Oliver scampering in his wheel. I sent it to the Princess the next day. It was a big hit.



Maybe Oliver has gotten used to my presence. He may even like me. After all, I’m the one who feeds him. Having him around hasn’t been all that yucky. He’s no bother at all, actually, and he is kind of cute for a rodent.

I wonder if he’ll miss me when he goes home on Sunday.

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