True stories with a twist!

I was ten and he was eight. I was the big sister and he the little brother until the day I turned forty. From then on, by mutual consent, more mutual on my part than his, he became my big brother.

Back then we acquired a pet hamster whom we shared and cared for. One of us cared and shared more than the other, but that’s not the point of the story.

We named the hamster Sniffy because of the funny way his nose twitched. When his nose twitched his whiskers twitched, making him appear to be sniffing. Or having a bad case of St.Vitus Dance.  image.png

Sniffy lived in a luxurious cage by hamster standards consisting of a spa quality running wheel and gourmet food and water dishes. The cage had full time security in the form of a lock and key. Hamster ownership was a serious responsibility not to be fooled around with. We chose a hiding spot for the key, and promised never to allow Sniffy to roam free without supervision.

We, of course, were the supervisors, the jailers and the feeding and cleaning staff. We alternated tasks and vowed to do our jobs diligently, regularly and timely.

So sincere were we about our service to Sniffy that we drew up a contract. “We the undersigned to solemnly agree to keep the location of the key to Sniffy’s cage secret from plundering eyes and other destructive forces. If either of us reveal the location of the key we would forfeit our share of Sniffy.

All precautions considered, somehow one day we discovered the horrifying fact that our hamster had escaped from his barred apartment. How did this happen? How did he get out of the cage? Whose carelessness allowed this mysterious event to occur? Where was Sniffy now, and how will we ever find him?


Our fearless sibling team put together a plan based on the Hansel and Gretel story of our youth. Even though at ages eight and ten, we thought of ourselves as grown up.

We set a trail of bread crumbs leading back to his cage. No matter where in the house he is hiding one sniff of the crumbs will roust Sniffy onto the trail and lead him right back to his cage.

But we didn’t take Tippy into consideration. She was our six year old dog who was usually asleep: was never a threat or particular interest to anybody or thing.

But somehow the presence of breadcrumbs on the floor challenged something in her hunting dog ancestral background and she lapped every one from the floor.

So poor Tippy got tied up in her own home (the indignity of it all!) while we set the breadcrumb trap again. It proved to us that only dogs, not hamsters, greedily eat bread crumbs from the floor. Tippy was freed when no hamsters near of far showed a crumb of interest in crumbs.

The mystery was never solved, but some interesting theories evolved.

  1. Perhaps Sniffy found a home in a mouse hole, developed a love of cheese, and lived happily ever after with mouse friends.
  2. Maybe Sniffy squeezed under the door and made her way outside and to the bright lights of Broadway, where she became star of the Hamster Circus.
  3. She became the pet of a wealthy old codger, who plied her evermore with riches beyond a hamster’s wildest dreams.
  4. Perhaps she died.


  1. ‘Fraid death and adult disposal of corpse are the most likely solutions!

  2. Actually as an adult I solemnly did the breadcrumbs trick ten years ago, though with cheese!! I knew there was a mouse behind the sofa. so led it outside to the open french windows with the cheese… it seemed to work!!!
    Loved the hand-written contract… lovely post…

  3. Like the idea of the contract, a veritable agreement to take the welfare of Sniffy under your care. Sniffy is probably enjoying the world, where all Sniffy’s go, meandering between the Buttercups and Daffodils.

  4. How amazing that you have that note! I’m sure Sniffy found peace wherever he landed.

    • It’s good to have a sentimental person in the family. My brother kept the note all these years, along with other memorabilia. When he found the note and showed to to me, I couldn’t believe that he had kept it all these years!

  5. Don’t you just love the possibilities when something like that happens. It leaves all kinds of great endings for the story. Just use your imagination.

  6. Am I the only one who suspects Tippy wasn’t as indifferent as you thought. Just sayin’…..

  7. I’m sure Sniffy joined the Hamster Circus. Where else would a hamster go?

  8. I know I shouldn’t laugh but the image of those two children seriously drawing up a
    contract . . . quite mature and then heartbreaking when Sniffy took a powder.

  9. Loved your note.. And so the mystery of Sniffy remains..
    I had white pet rabbit.. He tried many times to dig holes in his run.. But he died of old age..

    When I think back we were brought up on Wild Rabbit stew.. that dad would catch.. And that never bothered me as a child eating it.. As it was about all the meat our large family could afford.. It would now.. 🙂

    You painted a wonderful picture in words, of the Hansel and Gretel trail.. 🙂 ❤

    • Uh oh; do you think it’s possible that the new dish mom made for dinner the night Sniffy disappeared was hamster stew?

      • Haha… lol.. I know my Dad kidded me many times he had Snowy my rabbit in the pot.. I would scream and run out to his hutch.. With Dad laughing.. Yet I happily ate wild rabbit.. 🙂
        I think Hamster stew wouldnt have gone very far.. 🙂 lol… Though in China I know they feast on Guinea pigs … as well as other four legged friends..
        Thankfully I do not eat much meat these days.. Chicken and fish are my staples mainly.

  10. What a sweet and solemn note! This is an endearing post and I love the name Sniffy! My hamster disappeared, not surprising it was in a cardboard box! The whole flat was scoured for signs of the furry animal but I always think it took a flying leap of the balcony (I did check outside for squished signs!) I had to laugh at your breadcrumbs idea ..l at least your dog was happy until locked up! 😀

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