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Bob, Bart, Homer, Milhouse and Nelson

We lost Bob.

My youngest daughter is becoming quite dexterous. She managed to open Bob's cage two mornings ago, unbeknownst to any of us, and Bob made a run for it. When we came home and the children rushed up to visit Bob, she was gone. Bob is our Syrian hamster.

We reassured our upset children that she may be found, similar to one of our cats that went missing outside for two weeks but came back starving but otherwise healthy. We told the children not to grieve for Bob yet but to give it some time.

That is what we told the kids, but the reality of Bob being loose with three quasi-feral mouse-killing Abyssinian cats in the house convinced my husband and I that Bob was certainly dead. So last night we went shopping for a replacement hamster. At PetSmart in Richmond Hill, there were Russian dwarf hamsters. And there were not one but four hamsters, all brothers. How could you split up brothers, my children asked my husband? We needed to buy all of them.

We brought them home, named them Bart, Homer, Milhouse and Nelson, set them up in Bob's old cage, and the children went to sleep happy.

Just before 3 am, my husband awoke to feel something crawling on his foot. It made its way up to his belly and my youngest son then picked it up. Bob was back. The children were thrilled that they now had five hamsters. My youngest son thanked the baby for having opened the cage, thus making this Hamsterfest possible.

An hour later, Bob was in a large lidded tupperware container with bedding, wheel, food and water and four children went to bed even happier than they had been before.

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