This is Bebang’s third and last set of offspring — a litter of eight.
This batch had gone through a crisis they were almost wiped out with their mother who contracted a wet-tail barely ten days after they were born. When I first saw their seemingly hopeless situation, I was worried that even if their mother would survive, the babies might die. Their small bodies were awfully wet allover. They were scattered and squirming helplessly all around their nursery home. The whole place was a mess and I could already smell the disease. Bebang didn’t know what was happening — I didn’t know what to do. It was already night; waiting till morning would be too late.
With my fingers cross, I took my last chance. I tried very small doses of AquadoxTM soluble powder, a veterinary antibacterial (with multivitamin + electrolytes) for poultry and swine. Using a small medicine dropper for human infant, Bebang was orally administered with the solution mixed with powder of Gano-ExcelTM capsule, a food supplement that I and my wife are taking. The litter received treatment through their nursing mother. In the morning, the mother got better, the babies were moving around (my last night’s vigil seemed to pay off), except for the three who were too weak to suck from their mother. After some follow-up treatment, mother and litter were obviously getting much better. To make the long story short, five out of eight survived.
Though I was so relieved to ‘save’ the mother and most of her babies, I don’t want to experiment. If my hamsters are lab rats or research hamsters, well and good, that may be their mission. But these are my pets. I always do the best for them and I know that in such cases where their health and life are at a stake, even my best may not be good enough. A vet’s job is always the best, but I hope finding more than an animal doctor — a Dr. Doolittle type, who possesses not only a brain but also a heart for his patients, who understands not only their bodies but their language.
After the incident, I decided that this litter would be Bebang’s last. I noticed that long after she gave birth to these eight, the area near the base of her tail was elongated. This was probably due to her repeated hamster-bearing. Kumupas na ang kanyang kaseksihan. So I decided, or more appropriate to say: she decided (to Bitoy’s dismay), she had enough. For after her giving birth to the 3rd litter, her husband’s mating calls and sexual overtures interest her no more. Never again did I see her in her usual once-every-fourth-day frozen in-heat posture.
All in all, Bebang sired and nursed a total of 22 hamsters.
Who says that plain ‘housewife-hood’/motherhood is a lowly profession? No, not Bebang. I am not saying that career, working women are not good candidates for motherhood. Many wives and mothers perform best in other, non-household jobs of their calling. For some, working is a necessity especially in an ambiance where single parenthood is becoming increasingly common. But I still say: mothers… please do have time with the kids. As for Bebang, it was not so difficult then, for her husband was still alive and able, and a good ‘family-hammie’ at that. (So, husbands, especially fathers… this is an urgent matter: be RESPONSIBLE… Hindi kayo mga hayop na ang layunin ay ang magparami lang ng lahi.)
Bebang was proud of her noble role, a task which she considered a higher calling. By her good modeling, the next mothers that came after her turned out to be good mothers also. She was more than 10 months when she sired the last litter, about 15 when she was widowed. She lived for another nine months to see her 20 grand offspring of the 3rd and “3½th” generations.