Lynn's Comments: This scenario wasn't part of our family history. I took this idea from another mom whose household was constantly augmented by other people's pets--as well as the occasional school mascot needing a temporary roost. Sallie and Frank had two dogs, a cat , and a parakeet, so folks needing kennel space often asked these kind folks to take in another jowl to feed.
Lynn's Comments: As kids, we were allowed to have a pet if it was very small, didn't require too much upkeep, and had a short lifespan. At first, my brother and I were host to chameleons--tiny little lizards which came from the pet shop with chains attached around their necks and a pin so you could attach them to your shirt! I don't remember them changing colour at all, but they did eat live mealworms, which was a cool thing to watch. Perhaps we overfed them or maybe we played with them too much, because they never lived very long. Fortunately, this rather barbaric way of packaging creatures is no longer permitted.
Lynn's Comments: Naming a pet or a person in a comic strip requires about the same amount of thought as naming something or someone for real. I tried to imagine what I would call a hamster--and a name beginning with "H" seemed like a good idea. "Humphrey" appealed to me both because it's not a name commonly heard, and because I liked the "Humph" sound at the beginning.... it's sort of a British "snort," an expression of contempt or dissatisfaction. You never actually hear a "humph," it is most commonly seen in print. I think in the US one might say, "harrumph!"--but this has a slightly different connotation. Ahhhh... the semantics of sound.
Lynn's Comments: After the chameleons, we were allowed turtles and frogs, and when our charges could survive our "care and feeding," Mom let us have a budgie. This came about when I found a blue budgie on our back lawn. Mom borrowed a cage and tried to find the owner. She put an ad in the newspaper and called the radio station, but no luck. By this time, we had bought seed and a mirror and the bird was ours. We called him Robbie and he was great fun. He made a lot of noise during the day, but unlike the hamster in the strip, he was very quiet at night.
Lynn's Comments: Back to my friend, Sallie. She kept the school hamster in her kitchen--the best place, she said, because she was always there, so it was safer for something so small and edible! (Her cat was always hoping for a chance to pounce on him.) I remember thinking how cute he was, but he sure could make a mess. I wouldn't have wanted the little guy in MY kitchen!
Lynn's Comments: Going back to my friend with the big heart and too many animals: The hamster had one of those transparent exercise balls, which the kids found fascinating--as did the family cat. When the hamster was not inclined to run for his pleasure, the kids encouraged him by rolling the ball themselves. I remember them saying that they wished they could ride in a ball like that, and putting myself in place of the dizzy, disoriented hamster, I thought... yeah... maybe not!
Lynn's Comments: Sallie's guest did not get away like this, but a reader told me about their hamster's disappearance. It was eventually discovered months later in a nest he had made for himself inside their couch. A rodent is a rodent after all!
Lynn's Comments: I had so much fun with this drawing. Imagining John hiding behind a door, waiting for a hamster to follow a trail of crumbs made me laugh out loud.
Lynn's Comments: My friend Beth's daughter, Ellie, keeps several tarantulas in her room. These eerie creatures inhabit a large glass terrarium, and every so often, Ellie will carefully take them out and handle them. Beth said they didn't bother her at all because they're quiet--but the crickets they eat chirp all night long! Ellie apparently can sleep through the racket.
Lynn's Comments: Now that I have a granddaughter to chase about, I have all the paraphernalia; including crib and highchair. Laura is just learning how to feed herself, so the above illustration says it all. Allowing for leaks, spills, and the occasional avalanche, I sometimes wish we still had our dog.... to help wash the floor beneath her.
Lynn's Comments: After a week of sawdust, nocturnal scuffling, fights over him, and the omnipresent rodent smell, Sallie was pleased to return the school hamster to his rightful home--happy in the knowledge that she would never buy one for her kids!