Thursday, April 28, 2011

Saving Hamster Flucy

The locals call her the “hamster whisperer.”

The girl who can converse with small furry creatures.

A modern-day Doctor Doolittle…at least as far as hamsters are concerned.

For the past seven years, I have known her as Hailey, one of my daughter Emma's closest friends and a regular at our house since the girls were first-graders.

We knew she was special. But her unique gift was a mystery to all of us, until Tuesday night, when the hamster whisperer saved the life of plumpster Flucy.

Hailey was the one who informed us that Flucy was ill. That she had a condition known as “wet tail” – a phrase I had never heard nor expected to.

Wet tail, according to Doctors Foster and Smith, is contracted when the hamster comes in contact with food or water contaminated with poop carrying the Lawsonia intracellularis bacteria.

In a hamster environment, one would guess that poop in the food or water is a common occurrence. The key factor, apparently, is the bacteria.

Another factor that makes hamsters susceptible to wet tail is stress.
What makes the disease so dangerous is its deadliness – a fact Missy relayed to me in a voicemail as she scurried Flucy, our three children and Hailey to the Augusta PetSmart for prompt medical attention.

It can kill a hamster in days – a situation that would have required years of therapy for Grace, particularly since Flucy hadn’t yet had worn some of her flashy outfits.

Or gotten an exercise wheel or accessories to trick out her hamster pad.

Perhaps Flucy’s relocation from PetSmart to our Chelsea home was a bit too traumatic.

My guess is that her stress came from her unexpected introduction into our very loud, very active family.

If I was a hamster adopted by my family, I’d probably have wet tail too.

Thankfully, Hailey's conversation with Flucy led to quick treatment – a dosing of some type of medication administered by the crew at PetSmart where, God willing, Flucy will be discharged from tomorrow.

There will be much to celebrate as our family will once again be complete.

Grace even made Flucy’s bed and plans to clean her cage tonight in anticipation of her triumphant return.

And we have Hailey to thank for it.

Now that I’m aware of her special talent, maybe I can get her to convince our resident field mice that our neighbor Brent’s house is a much better locale for them.

That will be a true display of her gift.

1 comment:

  1. I am sad to report that Flucy passed away last night. Condolences may be sent to Grace c/o chelseawriter@gmail.com.

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