This post does not have so much to do with policing as it does knowing when to laugh at oneself. 

In truth, there’s nothing in this post even remotely connected to policing, unless of course, you count the fact that our family does not have a pet hamster because my police dog would likely eat it.

Anyways, on with the story….

This summer our family went on one of our annual group camping trips.  At final count, there were 43 children, 15 sets of parents, 13 RV’s, 2 tents, 7 dogs and 1 hamster.

Yes, you read correctly – 1 hamster.

According to the hamster’s owners, whom I love dearly, no one was able to look after ‘Mimsi’ for the duration of the trip, so the little beige and white teddy bear hamster made it’s first road trip.  For all the kids around, Mimsi was a huge hit, particularly with the girls of middle school age, and she spent several days being carted around in various pairs of cupped hands, in pockets, and in the little clear sphere designed to give the little bugger some exercise.

There were several side bets on when Mimsi would make a break for the wilderness, never to be seen again.  But to give the kids credit, they were very watchful and very careful with their ward.  Mimsi never so much as touched the gravelly ground that made up our group campsite. 

A couple of days into our trip found me chatting with my friend Lisa inside her RV.  Mimsi was in ‘Hamster Haven’, a cage with an elaborate array of tubes, wheels and hidey-holes set up on the RV’s kitchen table.  Lisa rolled her eyes when I asked if Mimsi was going to be a regular camper from then on.

“Not a chance,” was Lisa’s response.

As Lisa busied herself at the counter, I sat at the table and peered in at the hamster.  Mimsi was curled up on her haunches, munching away on whatever it is hamsters eat.  Very cute.  I asked Lisa if I could pick the hamster up and I got an answer in the affirmative.

I should have known better.  Rodents and I do not get along.

After sliding open the door, I reached my hand in and stroked Mimsi’s back.  So soft.  Then, as gentle as I could, I slipped my fingers around her and lifted her into my hand.

What a mistake.

Maybe it was because I had just come from playing with Hondo, or maybe it was because I picked her up wrong, but Mimsi was none too impressed with me on that fine summer day.  She showed her displeasure by wrapping her tiny body around the end of my right index finger, clinging to it with all twenty tiny claws, and by sinking her two bottom incisors into the sensitive pad of my finger.

Mimsi had really long teeth.  I swear they hit bone.

Fire lit up my previously well functioning appendage and my jaw dropped as I looked at the minuscule stole now encasing my trigger finger.  I was tempted to flick my hand and send Mimsi into the nether world across the airspace that made up the interior of Lisa’s RV, but I feared the end of my finger would go flying off as well.  And, I thought, in times like this, it is best not to panic.

I placed my hand on the table, Mimsi still in an incredibly impossible Yoga pose with my finger as the main prop, and cleared my throat.

“Lisa,” I said.

“Yes?” she replied, her back to me as she mixed what I suspected was one of her killer margaritas.  I could have used one right about then.

“Um, Mimsi’s biting me.”

“What did you say?” she asked, turning to see if I was joking.

“Your hamster.  It’s biting me,” I said.  My GOD, it HURTS!!!!!!!

“Oh,” she said, realising what was happening, ‘OH!”

I gently applied the thumb and forefinger of my left hand to the teeny-tiny scruff of Mimsi’s neck and tried to pull her off me.  No such luck – the bloody hamster was as pliable as silly putty and she simply s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d out across the chasm between her teeth and my poor finger.  I let Mimsi’s scruff go, and she snapped back into place like a rubber band.

To add insult to injury, the hairs on the back of my neck were at full attention due to the completely unreal sound Mimsi was making, which sounded like a cross between a Star Wars Ewok and a killer whale.  No animal so small should be able to emit such a noise. 

I flattened my hand down on the table, forcing Mimsi into a pretzel which cause her to finally release her grip.  The hamster wandered back to her ‘Hamster Haven’ while I inspected the new indent to the center of my finger.  It’s not too bad, I thought, moments before the blood started to gush across the table.

Oh dear.  Who knew fingers could bleed so much.

Lisa hollered for her husband as I tried to stem the bleeding, a blush rising up from my collar.  You have GOT to be kidding me.  I didn’t just get bitten by a freaking hamster, did I?

Oh yes, I did.

A couple of band aids (and margaritas) later, I figured I was going to be fine.  I was up to date on my tetanus shot, and I had applied a liberal dose of antibacterial stuff beneath the bandage.  But the next morning, my finger was puffy and red with it’s own pulse.  Not good.

The local medical clinic was full to capacity, so off we went to the next town as they had the closest hospital.  The triage nurse did a double take when I said I was there for a hamster bite, and she let loose with a hearty guffaw when I told her it was okay to laugh. Even the Doctor had to look up ‘animal bites’, confessing he had never seen anyone for an actual a hamster bite. 

How embarrassing. 

And the Doctor was young and really good looking too…just how I want to be remembered – the 30-something mom in for a hamster bite sustained while camping with the family. 

Yeah.  That’s cool.

Anyways, a round of antibiotics took care of the infection, the scar is all but gone, and I now have a good party story.

As for Mimsi?

I’m scared to ask…



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