The prodigy son’s return

Mocha Rurik was a light brown male, one of the three first-born sons. At the age of two months he left with his sister-wife Bebang II for Angono to live with my in-laws. They sired offspring there, all given for adoption.

On the 10th month of their stay there, Bebang II died of a trauma. She escaped being devoured by the household cat, but the cat’s bite inflicted a fatal fracture on her spine. Mocha, wanting to forget this sad memory of her, returned to the land of his forefathers and was reunited with his parents and the twin. He was later married to Snowy (of the third litter) but she gave birth to stillborn offspring.

Mocha was the sensitive and nervous type. But even when he gets startled by my handling him, he just turns over his body snappily, pressing his snout firmly against my hand, unwilling to bite. He was a very patient hamster.

2005-05-10 (Mocha Rurik) 2005-05-13 (Mocha Rurik) 1 2005-05-13 (Mocha Rurik) 2

What made him extraordinary were his acrobatic skills and ingenious ways of wheel-turning. Though he was very cautious, he was not scared to climb and jump from high places. This I never allowed because his dauntless character could harm him.

He lived to a ripe old age of over 28 months. When he died, he got no son to succeed him, but his grandnephew Berio (fourth generation) was there for his funeral.

A hanging bridge that will span the gap between the pension house and the tower will soon be built, bearing the name of this one great and mighty hamster.

Separate lives (part 2)

The humbled big brother

2005-05-06 (Boromir) 2005-05-10 (Boromir)

Boromir was a typical big brother who always gave in to his little brother’s wishes. He was the ‘elder’ son and yet he got the old rugged ancestral cage as his playpen and his father’s transport carriage as his daytime sleeping box.

2005-05-07 (Boromir)

He preferred to sleep here during warm weather and the hot summer months.

Occasionally he sneaked down the Hall for a tread or two…

2005-05-20 (Boromir) animation 2005-05-20 (Boromir)

…whenever Faramir was not around!!!

2005-07-03 (Boromir) 1

As the elder son, Boromir took over the business affairs of his father. Here he was shown inspecting the nearly completed Pension House. 2005-07-03 (Boromir in pension house)

Boromir died at the age of two years and 21 days, only two days longer than Faramir’s. He got weak sooner than Faramir did, but even in death, the big brother only got a silver medal. I am not saying that Boromir was a loser. Nobody who gives really loses.

Today, surmounting Ikabod tower was a monument serving as a memorial to the twin reunited. Boromir’s Bell and Faramir’s Beacon remind me of these two brothers — the strong one carrying and upholding the weaker one.

Separate lives (part 1)

The weaker takes all

Hamsters are born ‘naked’ and there is no way to tell what color their coats will be until they are about four days old. I can not tell you for sure who among the twin came out first. Faramir was the smallest among the litter; I assumed that he was the youngest.

In dispatching my ‘extra’ hamsters, the smaller and apparently weaker ones always win my favor. I am not a breeder. I am not concerned about keeping the best ones. Neither do I consider myself as a hamster expert. I am only hoping that a bigger and healthy hamster has greater chances of survival in case the owner-to-be has no prior experience in keeping hamsters as pets. I always tell them that their attitude towards the pet and their sense of responsibility are what really matter. Skills can be learned. Passion is the starting point, but persistence is the key to perfection.

It worked the same way on deciding who among those left with me will get the best home. So you got it… Faramir was the first in the list — he was the one chosen to stay in the Hall. He spend the rest of his life with Bulwagang Bitoy as his home enjoying its eight-inch- diameter wheel even during the hours after midnight.

Faramir was two years and 19 days when he died.

The first-borns

This is the second litter. The three first-born sons belong here. There are four sets of twin — pairs of whites, mocha browns, banded browns, and banded blacks. I called this batch the Lupindilayks.

If you ask me what’s the meaning of that word, I tell you… I don’t know. It just came out because it sounded like look-alikes. That’s how I name my pets since I was a kid: whatever goes out spontaneously from my mind. Non-existing words, or existing names from the stories that I read or movies that I have seen. I don’t know my pets’ consensus — whether they love their names or not. I just know they respond whenever I call them by their names.

Twin brothers Boromir and Faramir. They are the authentic Lupindilayks. Not only because they are twins; they also resemble the color pattern of their old hammie. They are the heirs apparent.

This is one of the heirlooms. This is the second transport box of their father. The first one (not shown in here) is much smaller and not so comfortable for a grown-up hamster.

This is Bulwagang Bitoy (Bitoy Hall), constructed in April 2004 during the heydays of their father. The photo was taken in June 2004 when the twin inaugurated it. Bitoy didn’t want to stay here but had chosen his transport carriage as a ‘dorm cell’ during the day, and the ‘ancestral cage’ (bought for my hamsters of 1999) as a place to play by night.

On Bitoy’s first year in August 2004, the Lupindilayk Exercise Wheel was installed. Construction was underway for the annexation of Bebang’s pension house at left. At right will rise the future Ikabod tower, named after Bitoy’s first princess Grizzly Ikabod. Ikabod was the eldest in the first litter of six daughters. She perished prematurely in an accident in February 2004.

Bitoy had chosen not to stay in Bulwagang Bitoy. Even while he was still alive and strong he gave it to his heirs instead. So, Boromir and Faramir shared a common cage and wheel for a very long time. Since the wheel was narrowly designed to accommodate only one hamster at a time, they agreed to take turns to play during their active hours.

Faramir: “O, Kuya… ikaw naman!!!”

Boromir: “Ikaw na lang muna uli, ‘tol… parang gusto kong umeskapo!”

Sometimes when I give them food, they just ignore it, climb to my arm instead. But if I give them sunflower seeds, they engage themselves in a ‘hoarding race’ as to who can collect more seeds faster (agawan, parang mauubusan!), only to discharge and store the seeds on one common spot at the corner of the cage.

Upon reaching their eighth month however, the twin have had occasional squabbles. As shown in this photo, they both have half-healed minor wounds in their face or body. Yes, they were sleeping and snuggling together all day, but during the evening I had been hearing loud squeaking coming from the hall. Most of the time the cause was this: the little brother bugging his big brother (Sutil si Faramir, pikon si Boromir), and later on, big brother bullying little brother for no apparent reason. Big Boromir was stronger, but Little Faramir could outrun him.

After 10 months of living together (each already met his own bride), the fight grew so frequently and worst. One night a disturbing noise woke me up. I proceeded at once to the hall to find out the two little creatures wrestling, furs and sunflower seeds flying all over the place. It took me so hard to part them — without being bitten.

Of course they were not squabbling over inheritance. Animals don’t do that — people do. Animals act according to their nature, guided by their instinct. People act according to their choices based on their moral values. It’s so sad to think that there are lots of warm and so close sibling relationships that were severed only because each brother or sister is fighting for his or her ‘right’ over inheritance, or parental favor — in most cases with the ‘pushes’ of their concerned spouses.

It was time for these brothers to part ways. In their final showdown Faramir was badly beaten.

Why should it matter to me anyway? They couldn’t be blamed for that. Syrian hamsters were created just like that — SOLITARY. Changing that nature is beyond the scope of my concern and capability.

Boromir and Faramir shared lives for 11 months.

Sequel to this post. (21 Sep 2007)

  1. Separate lives (part 1). The weaker takes all.
  2. Separate lives (part 2). The humbled big brother.
  3. The prodigy son’s return.