On a lighter note, here's a little story with a happy ending.
On our second morning in Texas, I got a call from my mother. She'd been babysitting the dog, the fish, and the hamster, and when I heard her voice, my heart sank. Turns out darling Dr. Frizzle the hamster had gotten out of his penthouse, and was gone. Nowhere to be found. My poor mom was in a guilty panic, turning the house upside down looking, but to no avail.
Anyway, Dr. Frizzle didn't turn up, although my mom put out food and water for him and dutifully kept searching. This wasn't the first time the Friz had escaped, and once Pippin even sniffed him out. He'd never gone missing this long, though, and I prepared Hedgehog for the fact that he might not return.
We arrived back in Brooklyn to his sad and empty cage. I slept on the couch the first night to try and hear any sign of gnawing or scampering; no luck. Sgt. Pepper, however, claimed that in the early hours of the morning, a little shadow passed by our bed, moving more slowly than a mouse. I didn't believe him. Then, last night, I woke at 3 a.m. to Sarge shouting "He's here! He's here!" I ran downstairs, and Sarge was poking around under the radiator; he'd been unable to catch Friz, or maybe unwilling--he's a little unnerved by the rodent to begin with, and now that the rodent had reverted to a possibly feral state, the fear was greater--still, Sarge was intensely invested in the rescue. And in another moment, sure enough, there was Friz, trundling across the bedroom floor, a little dusty but without a care in the world.
Thus Dr. Frizzle was "rescued" (although I'm not sure how psyched he was about this), none the worse for wear--not dehydrated, seemingly well-fed. So, I ask, what was the free-ranging hamster doing for nearly two weeks out on his own?