Brave Sir Charlie

Last night was a monumental night for Charles P. Hamster.

Since the arrival of Umber, our guide-dog-in-training, Charlie's ball-time has dramatically reduced. This is not, however, because of of anything we've done - Charlie hates the dog.

As soon as Umber moved in, Charlie started spending more of the evening asleep - when we got him out of his cage, he would just freeze and move very, very slowly. I felt like the worst mummy in the world, but there was nothing we could do but hope that it was just him being unsure - having never come face to face with a dog before, that would be perfectly understandable. But no, Charlie spent almost every night asleep in his nest, only coming out for the occasional toilet break and to stock up on food.

When we went down to do our notice giving, Charlie came with us and that week he was like a different hamster. 7pm sharp, he'd wake up like he used to and announce to the world "It iss teatime, where is my food?!" and then until we went to bed he would be out and about, running in his ball just like he used to. Obviously then when we returned, it was like someone flipped a switch - back to scaredy-Charles.

Umber on the other hand, loves Charlie. Umber has, on several occasions, sat and watched Charlie running in his wheel for up to 15 minutes.

Then the other night, Umber went away to see who might potentially be his new owner. We put Charlie in the ball first thing in the morning when we got up the following day (he was still wide awake and wanting very much to come out and play, we didn't wake him!) and he ran around the house, even though it still must have smelled like dog. He was running about, being put back in his cage every 20 minutes or so for a drink and a sleep if he wanted it) until 12pm!

For 3 days we did this, and he started coming out again more in the evenings. Umber came back and then last night, while Umber was shut in the kitchen and lounge, Charlie spent the best part of 2 hours roaming free and happily like he used to, top speed up and down the hallway.

Finally it seems like Charlie is not afraid of the dog any more, just as Umber is getting ready to leave us!