Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Fabulous Phoebe

I’ve mentioned her occasionally, but really : she deserves a posting all to herself. I’m talking about her little Siberian dwarf hamster Phoebe, who is joining us in this MBA-adventure in France. She has conquered a central place in our Barbizon apartment, and has become one of the main attractions of Le Jardin des Arts. Visitors pay her ridiculous amounts of attention, and she adores it, showing off while we are trying to have a civilized dinner.

It’s amazing how such little animals can have a real « personality ». She’s our third dwarf hamster, so we have some comparison-material. First there was Frits, a light grey male. Super placid, quiet, cute, loved to walk on your arms, back and neck, but only if you were wearing a woolen sweater. Loved carrots. Then came Clio, a brownish female. Vivid, in love with P, and jealously demanding attention each time she saw us cuddle on the couch. Also quite culinary interested, with an outspoken taste for everything Italian (pasta, olives, parmesan cheese, tomato sauce, pizza, ..). And then arrived Phoebe. Hmmm, how to get started ? She looks adorable, cute, almost like a cartoon character. She likes to climb the sides and ceiling of her cage, Rambo-style. She’s currently working on a tunnel, digging and actually biting her way through the bottom of her cage. She has very sharp teeth and wants everybody to know. And breakfast cereals are her number one food (she even recognizes the sound of the bag).

Most important of all, she is our first « shared » pet. Although P tends to talk in terms of « your hamster » whenever she behaves badly. I clean the cage, while P plays with her. I give her the healthy stuff which she ignores, P gives her the cookies she adores. I try to discourage inappropriate behavior such as biting, P makes up excuses why she does it, and says she too cute to be angry at. Is Phoebe a foreboding of the future…?

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