Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Hammy Misadventure

Yes, usually it's me, McFluffersons, who gets into bunny misadventures.  But alas, this misadventure is a scary tale (tail?) of a not-so-wee hamster named Brie and her escape-artist ways.  As some of you may recall, Brie is our hammy friend who lives in the living room.  She is tough and hearty, handles well and has no fear.  She also has a penchant for chewing her way out of her exercise balls.  You see, when she is in them rolling around, she will chew off the little notches that twist and hold it shut.  Brie is 10 months old and is on her 10th ball.  That's right, she averages about one ball per month.

So last night she was out in her ball, rolling around and bumping into walls and chair legs and whatnot.  Mom was in the living room watching television.  Mom noticed that she didn't hear the ball any more - she wasn't too panicked as sometimes, Brie just sits for a rest or gets wedged someplace and mom has to go and rescue her.  Well, mom got up to find out where she was and there it was - her ball, on the floor, lid off, hamster gone. 

Mom was immediately on all fours calling out her name.  "Brie!  Brie where are you?"  Then she called for Dad to come upstairs to help look for her.  And then she saw it.  The air vent.  The ball was parked right next to it and the register was one of those old ones with an antique design, plenty of room for a hamster to get through.  Her heart sank... "Oh GOD!  She's in the VENT!!!!!!!!!!"

Mom and Dad made quick work of ripping the register off from the wall and used a flashlight and mirror to see what they could.  The vent reached about a foot under the cabinet and then dropped - to the furnace!  Dad spilled all the pots and pans out from the cupboard and ripped the floor of the cupboard out to get better access, but she was nowhere to be found.  Mom was completely hysterical.  Once Dad was able to get her to be quiet, they heard Brie.  She was scratching somewhere in the bowels of the furnace system.

While Dad tried to devise a plan, mom ran upstairs to the computer to find heating and air conditioning companies - she needed someone to come out ASAP!  She called every single one she could find.  It was 11:15 pm and virtually every one of them was nothing more than an answering machine so she tried desperately to hold back her tears and leave coherent messages for them to call back.  One company did answer but after mom explained the situation, that we had lost a hamster down a vent, he actually laughed at her.  "Sorry, we don't do hamsters."  Mommy's heart sunk a thousand depths.  The next place she called had an operator that put her in touch with a 24-hour on-call person.  She called and explained the situation.  He didn't think he could help but agreed to come out.  Mom thanked him profusely - finally, help was on the way.....

And then she heard Dad from the basement.

"I GOT HER!!!!!"

"WHAT?  Are you sure?!"  Mom screamed.  "YUP!  I've got her in my hands right now!"  Mom burst into tears.

She ran downstairs to find Dad holding one very dusty, dirty and aluminum-smelling hamster.  She scooped her in her hands and kissed her all over.  "How did you get her out?"

"I went to the furnace room and listened for her.  I followed the sound and started pulling metal tubes out from the furnace.  I found her at the bottom of one......"  Mom cried on Dad's shoulder as she gave him a big hug.  Daddy saved Brie's life.  Mommy called the heating guy back and told him that Brie was safe so he didn't need to make the trip.  All was well and she was safe.

Upon later inspection, Mom and Dad can't seem to figure out how Brie ended up where she did.  They followed the vent from below the kitchen counter and it led right to the top of the furnace.  Somehow, Brie managed to bypass dropping directly down into it and continued down another vent that later dropped another 6 feet to almost floor level.  And there she stayed until Dad rescued her.  Mom and Dad both believe a very special angel was watching over her last night.

The above picture was taken right after she was put back in her cage.  You can't quite tell but her nose, mouth and ear tips are all dirty.  She spent the night giving herself a good groom and is almost back to normal.

Mom and Dad are so thankful that she is safe and sound.  Little Brie, even though she is so small, is still a very big part of our family.  And that was one serious Hamster Misadventure.....



The Fab Furs said...

What a harrowing tale! Glad she is OK!!

d. moll, said...

That is one talented hammy!

Jade said...

Glad the story has a happy ending. A suggestion to avoid future mishaps and keep your ham-dini in her ball: Glue a velcro strip (or strips, if the ball isn't hinged)on the ball so that the fuzzy part sits along both edges and the grippy part can be placed across the ball after Brie is in it. That way, even if she chews through the notches, the velcro will keep the ball from opening. It might not roll as nicely, but at least she'll be safe.

Hef's Mom said...

WOW~ Glad Brie is ok! You never know with those sneaky ones.
I had an escape hamster too and one day I walked upstairs and there she was walking down the hall with the cat following behind! Goodness!

Lisa said...

Oh my goodness, that was almost too much. I'm SO glad Brie was OK!

(Lol) Kat said...

Oh my gosh! I read this from behind a cushion, I was so worried! What a wily little girl! And how lucky is she to have such wonderful parents :