Pet of the Day

January 5, 2003

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Ashley, the Pet of the Day
Name: Ashley
Age: Deceased
Gender: Female
Kind: Syrian Hamster
Home: Singapore
   This is my pet hamster, Ashley, when she was six months old. She was a syrian hamster, sable in color. We live--she lived--in Singapore. Ashley was my first love. I did not think much about hamsters. But Ashley - she won my heart. She was the gentlest creature I have ever seen, even up till today. I spotted her at the pet shop I frequent very often. That one evening, I strolled towards the hamster section, towards her tank. The hamsters were just waking up from their sleep. I spotted a little brown furry creature walking ever so gently, as if she was walking on clouds, raising each of her white paws as though tip-toeing. There she was! In mid-walk, she yawned. It was such a gentle, and small yawn. My heart stirred. I stood watching, frozen to the ground, intrigued by her small, genteel, movements. While her playmates were tumbling and rumbling all over the tank, or gobbling up food, she was exploring her surroundings, in her gentlest possible ways. I knew I was hooked. Hooked onto her tiny white paws and the white rings around her eyes. Hooked onto her. Period. She came home with me.

    Oh, the fresh scent of shavings in my room never smelt any fresher! I can remember the fresh scent of woods shavings in my room--she was so precious I had to keep her near. She lived in a huge cage under my table. When I come home from work, she was the first thing I greeted. "Ashley," I would gently call. She would rouse from her sleep, peeped out of her plastic nest, sniffed the air, immediately knew the voice, and crawled out of it, knowing she would be given her favorite treat. Ashley was not greedy. After one or two seeds, she would crawl contentedly--and sleepily--back into her nest. I would settle into the evening with my chores, knowing she would awake to greet me in a few hours' time, and I would be able to stroke her, as she had the run of (part of) the room. I was one privileged and lucky hamster lover. Lucky because I had the hamster of my dreams. Privileged because I had the love of a gentle hamster. She knew me. She trusted me. Once she got stuck in the corner of my room, unable to bail herself out--not knowing which way to go. I discovered her in her dire situation, called out to her anxiously. She did the most amazing thing. She turned around upon hearing my voice and scrambled towards me, into the exercise ball I held out before her. I thought I saw relief spread across her face, and a smile of content, being back in my fold.

    Today I honor her. Ashley is deeply missed as my furry companion every day of my life. She knew and was known. She loved and was loved.

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