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.