Last January a co-worker of mine asked if we’d be interested in a “free” hamster. Her daughter had gotten a couple hamsters for Christmas and a couple weeks later they had a batch of babies. After discussing it with my husband, we decided that it would be nice for our 3 1/2 year old to get a hamster. (It’s not a good idea…..really really not a good idea.)

We took Carter to the pet store to pick up supplies for our “free” hamster. The nice lady at the pet store highly recommended a wire cage (NOT a good idea), we picked up what we’ve now learned is about a lifetime supply of food for about four hamsters. Carter picked out a nice little igloo looking house for him, we picked up a couple food dishes and a water bottle, and a few packages of bedding. A $100 later, we had all the supplies for our “free” hamster and were ready to pick him up.

Tim and Carter went to pick out his new hamster. Carter picked out a really cute light grey hamster. And he even got to name him…..Noey. I’m not sure where he came up with that name, but it fits. We’re not really sure if Noey is a boy or a girl, but I kinda think he’s a boy. I have a hubby, two sons, and a boy cat….so chances are pretty good that my son picked out a boy hamster.

At first we were going to keep the hamster in Carter’s room, but within a couple hours of having him, the cat knocked the cage over in an attempt to eat the hamster. So now Noey lives downstairs. Mr. Stan goes down there occasionally, but hasn’t tried to push the cage off the counter. He’ll often times sits next to the cage to stare at his lunch….I mean Noey….but hasn’t tried to eat him again.

Things were going pretty good with Noey, Tim usually remembers to feed him, Carter will remember that he has a hamster every few days and will ask to play with him, and I’ll remind Tim a few times a month to go and clean the cage (even though I said that I would do it during our discussion about getting the hamster). Things were going pretty good…..until December.

I was working late one night and I got a call from Tim. The boys had gone to bed and he was changing Noey’s cage and his back leg was INCREDIBLY swollen. I’m not really sure what Tim expected me to do from work (I love when he calls for things like this), but he called none the less. Since it was around 10pm when he called, and the vet was closed, and I very well wasn’t going to have him take the hamster to the emergency pet hospital in the middle of the night with two little kids….I told him to Google it.

When I got home I went down to check on him, and it was obviously that he had done something to his leg. After looking online, I came to the conclusion that he had probably broken it. Not knowing exactly what I should do to help, I ended up taking Noey to the vet the next day. It turns out that he did break his leg. Remember that lovely wire cage that the pet store worker highly recommended….turns out it’s not so highly recommended by vets. The doctor told us that a hamster’s leg can get caught in the cage when they are climbing and when the fall they break their legs. He sees several cases of this every year (which made me feel a little better….at least I wasn’t the only idiot bringing a hamster to the vet, a “free” hamster none the less!)

The doctor gave us a prescription for antibiodics to give to the hamster. He told us that if the leg didn’t get better we may have to put him down and not to be surprised if Noey gnawed his leg off if it didn’t get better. So after paying for the vet visit and the medicine we took our “free” hamster home. (I don’t remember exactly how much this visit to the vet cost, but I know that I could have purchased Carter at least two new hamsters with four good legs).

So we brought Noey home and I tried to give that stupid hamster his medicine for about two days. He needed to take .01 ml of medicine, which is about a half of a drop of medicine (if that) and it’s incredibly difficult to give a hamster medication. You need to hold them on their backs rather tightly while using your other hand to make them smile, and then need another person to give them the medicine, and in Noey’s case also being very careful not to further injure his leg. I think he may have gotten about a dose of his medicine during my four attempts and I gave up.

Every morning I went downstairs expecting poor little Noey to be dead. And I was fully prepared to make an emergency run to every pet store in the Milwaukee area until I found a replacement light grey hamster if needed. I couldn’t let Carter know if his hamster died, it was a couple weeks before Christmas and little Noey had a Christmas present from Carter underneath the tree.

Well Noey didn’t die…..he just gnawed off his injured leg, which I have to say FREAKS ME OUT!!! It doesn’t so much freak me out that he only has 3 legs. But the fact that he gnawed it off, and possible ate it since Tim never found it….grosses me out.

And that’s the story of how Noey the hamster lost a leg.

And if anyone asks you if you’d like a “free” hamster….just say no. There is no such thing as a “free” hamster! 🙂

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