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Checkers (January 2006 - March 2007)

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checkers 1
See my tummy
checkers 2
Inside a Quaker Oat box
checkers 3
Like my back side?
checkers 4
Peeking out of a tunnel
checkers 5
Bath time
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In the loft
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Hey, there!
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Am I fuzzy enough?
checkers 9
Peeking at you
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Close up
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My snuggly bed
checkers 12
Out of the box
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checkers 14
Ooh...a treasure!
checkers 15

More than six weeks went by after we lost our dear Cammie before I found just the perfect little guy to fill our empty hamster cage.

Checkers was squished back in a little wooden house in the pet store, but even a small glimpse of him through the aquarium glass told me he was the one for me. I liked his unique coloring and high fuzziness factor. From the start, he seemed like a friendly little guy. He didn't snap at the pet store employee who wasn't totally at ease handling him. Instead, as scared as he was, Checkers just let the guy pick him up and put him in my small pet carrier that I had brought with me.

Checkers was the name suggested by my oldest son, after I mentioned that our new hamster was black and white, like a chessboard, but that we had already used all the chess names for past hamsters.

Checkers really enjoys his spacious hamster home, made of 3 cages connected by dozens of tunnels. He enjoys running in any of his several wheels and gladly accepts treats from my hand, allowing me to pet him after giving him the treat. He seems pretty friendly, but it will take some time before he is fully comfortable being picked up and held, especially since I work long hours and don't have much time to spend training him.

Interestingly, from the beginning, Checkers started sleeping in the cozy cup bed that Cammie had once used. He, of course, stuffs all nearby tunnels for safety. Since he has nice long fur, he spends quite a bit of his free time grooming himself.

I like the mixture of dark gray and white on Checkers' fur. His tummy has some black, as well, which seems a bit unusual to me. I may be biased, but I think he's a handsome little guy.

July 06 Update: Checkers is very friendly and never snaps or bites. He doesn't sleep in his snuggly bed, but under and behind it. He made a hole in one side, so he can squeeze part of his body under/inside it, where he feels safe and warm. He LOVES running in his wheel, never bites any tunnels and never tries to escape. Once or twice a tunnel came loose and he escaped, but he seemed very glad to go home. Even a taste of freedom didn't make him try to escape afterwards. He's a content little guy.

March 07: Sadly, Checkers passed away, after a few weeks of illness. The vet diagnosed him with dermodex, a form of skin mites, but she said that is usually secondary to a systemic problem, and gave him 1-2 months to live. He died 3 weeks later. We will always remember Checkers as the hamster most content to live in his mansion, without biting the cage or trying to escape. What a sweet, gorgeous furry guy he was!


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