It is with sorrow that I report the passage from all earthly cares of Arthur, our hamster, who was formerly Jim Macdonald’s hamster. Among his other distinctions, Arthur was the only cavy to have ever attended the annual Viable Paradise writers’ workshop in Martha’s Vineyard.
He was a Teddy Bear hamster, which is a long-haired variant of the Syrian Golden. He was also the biggest hamster I’ve ever seen. The first thing Elise Matthesen said when she met him was, “Looks like there was a guinea pig in the woodpile.” We had to give up his Habitrail-type cage when he got too big to fit through the passageway tubes.
His palatial second cage is only a couple of feet away from where I sit when I’m writing.
Arthur lived a happy life—sleeping, grooming, gnawing on the bars of his cage, getting petted, wheedling snacks (especially green peas, avocado bits, salt-free corn chips, mesclun salad mix, and leftover Chinese takeout rice), plotting escapes, running on his wheel, arranging everything in his cage just so, rummaging through his food dish to find all the best bits so he could carry them off to stash in his little plastic igloo, dashing around the apartment in his hamsterball (I’ve seen him do five or six circuits of the dining table at top speed), and having random spells of passionate digging and berm-formation that left bits of cage litter scattered for several feet in all directions. He pursued all these activities with heartfelt diligence.
He will be much missed.