28 March 2016

Goodbye, CB


Farewell, my little one. No one knew this, but CB played an important role in my decision to change my life around. 

I am a workaholic. I am addicted to work. Family and friends worry that I may get bored since Hubby works 'weird' hours as an insurance agent. When I am free on the weekends, he would be busy meeting clients. But I wasn't bored. My introvert character means I enjoyed being alone. I get myself busy. Be it with beading or reading. And most of the time, I was at work. And when I am home, my mind would still be on work.

When I joined my last workplace, most of my closer colleagues own pets. And it made me missed my childhood days when we kept hamsters. Mum didn't like hamsters as the mother would eat up the babies when disturbed. Perhaps this resistance made me more fond of the times with my first hamster, a multi-colored brown/black Syrian. I changed my work laptop wallpaper to a hamster image I found online, closest lookalike from my memory.

Mum and Sam rescued Grey Grey and Brown Brown in February last year. It was like a wish coming true. Soon there were much talks about how my parents would missed these 2 hamsters after Hubby and I move out to our new home while Sam returns to Brisbane to continue his Masters. It was perhaps fate that brought me to spot a Carousell listing, of someone giving away his four winter white hamsters. I would bring home two, I thought.

I messaged the 'seller' saying I could come down that day after work. 6pm sharp, I made a mad dash from Novena to Aljunied and walked a good 30 minutes to a never-been-before-place-in-Singapore quiet private housing estate. I rung the door bell of a quiet house and waited... mostly in fear as the skies were darkening and there was no cab in sight in the quiet lane.

The 'seller' and I chatted for a while at the gates while I tried to book a cab. When he asked if I would like to bring home two or four, I didn't know why I answered so, but perhaps I was thinking the more the merrier. And so, I brought home four, and made some leaky-water-bottle-mess on the poor cabbie's back seat. I messaged Hubby who was on his way home, to wait for me at the carpark. I bet he was shocked when he saw the four furkids I just adopted. 

One of the earliest photos of CB. She's so adorable.

CB earned her namesake with her cheebye attitude. As you might have learnt from my earlier posts, I named my hamsters after their characteristics or personality. She was the most active among four. She would climb to the top of her cage, do the monkey bar and start chewing on the metal frame. She escaped multiple times, once dragging out the dust balls from underneath the kitchen cabinet. We had a great laugh. 

When paired with Macho, she subdued this fierce one. She could climb and sleep on top of Macho in the hamster wheel. And Macho would let her have the first bite of any treats or feed put into the cage. She tamed him to become a gentleman. 

CB and Macho on a rainy afternoon. He lets her have the hamhead house.

30 April 2015, Sam and I came home from lunch and saw the helpless mother scrambling around the bin cage with Macho. 'What am I supposed to do?' she thought frantically. She just gave birth to 4 babies, hiding each at different areas and leaving blood here and there. I read that most hamster births are 'clean' where the mother would lick away any blood to prevent predators. She was lost. And it was the last day she spent with Macho as we had to separate the male hamster from the babies. And per online advice on hamster pregnancies and births, we left CB and her babies alone.

The next day, I realized one of the babies have passed away. CB pulled three hamster babies close to her for nursing, and had forgotten about this one left in another corner. I used a plastic spoon to scoop the dead one out. And from that point onwards, I decided to play an active part in her nursing. Every time one of the three remaining babies wander far from her, I would use another plastic spoon to scoop it towards her. She soon transformed from a helpless mother to a breastfeeding machine with her babies scrambling to find her each time she hides away to rest. 

CB breastfeeding Jimmy and the other white baby.
I've given away the other one for adoption to an ex-colleague's friend.
I can't recall if he/she was named Waffles or Pancake.

CB sitting with her only blackish baby, Peanut. Smallest of the three babies.
Sadly passed away last October when we returned from our last Taiwan trip.

When her babies were old enough to be separated from their mother, and I wasn't ready for CB to be impregnated another time... CB became yet another prisoner of a toyogo-box bin cage... Wake up, eat, sleep, make my owner laugh, pee, poo, make my owner clean my cage... etc. 

I looked at CB and my mind began to wander. What is the purpose of your life, my little one? You've became a mother but you can't live with your child. Nor can I put you with your husband lest you have to give birth to another brood and be tired out again. Is your life destined for solitude confinement? 

Taken during CB's last hour today. 28 March 2016

Perhaps similar to CB's situation, I was trapped in a work cubicle. While I'm allowed to leave the cubicle after the official hours, I felt imprisoned by the responsibilities. The worst, most of these were not responsibilities assigned to me. But responsibilities that have somehow became mine because I was being responsible and responsive. For this, I hate myself at times for being the best I could be at the workplace.

My wandering mind started toying with various ideas. I wasn't confident of making a livelihood out of my handmaking skills into a trade, lest not in Singapore. I wasn't confident of transforming my online income from small drops of water into the vast ocean. And like CB, I felt very alone. Or rather, lonely. But at least I have her and the other hamsters then giving me a reason to wake up each day, to feed them, to clean them.


This active one continued to make me smile despite her multiple tumors. Sometimes she waits for us in a corner to pamper her with crispy mealworm treats. Sometimes all she want is the human touch, for our fingers to stroke her back continuously and gently.

As I watched CB gasped for air in her final moments this afternoon, I was greatly saddened. But I don't know how to show my sadness in front of my parents who were with me then. At least we still have Jimmy, her son.

When my brother and I were younger, family used to have many different pets - dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, koi fishes and hamsters, of course. When the pets passed away, Dad or Mum were the 'coroners' and sometimes the pets were replaced. 

Now that I am older, I cherish the moments I spend with my pets. The times they make us laugh with their silly antics like stuffing their cheek pouches. The times they make us pissed when they decided to 'taste' our fingers with a quick nasty bite. 

To the folks who abandoned their pets like nobody's business, they may think I am foolish to write eulogies for my dead hamsters. But each and every one of them are life's presents which have brought joy to you at one time. It saddens me when I read about abandoned pets in Save Our Street Dogs SOSD and Voices for Animals VFA Facebook pages. And when family and friends shop for a life at the pet shop, I don't know what to say but images of forced breeding do flood my mind. Maybe I am being silly.

Adopt, if you can. 
Save an otherwise helpless creature and give him/her a home.

p/s: CB, you are deeply missed.




* KISS *