I am currently editing a book and came across a bitter-sweet story about a dog who kills the beloved pet bird of the author’s daughters.  It brought a vivid reminder of an incident that happened last May in my own home.  Herewith a repeat of the post I wrote then:



I have two hamsters; Peanut and Raisin.

I have two dogs; Lulubelle and Fritzl.

The dogs have been taught that it is very naughty to try and bite the hamsters.

The dogs are very inquisitive about the hamsters.

The hamsters seem to appreciate the dogs’ interest; in fact, Peanut often hangs on the bars of his cage and lets Lulubelle lick his tummy through the bars.

Case for the prosecution:

Saturday afternoon, about a fortnight ago, heard Fritzl giving two sharp barks, so I walked down our passage to investigate and my heart stopped.

Fritzl was bent over a prone, apparently dead Raisin.

I let out a bellow that brought Old Spouse and Original Bunn running.

We all shouted curses and death threats at Fritzl and he was sent outside for the rest of the day.

We turned to deal with the little body of the poor hamster, who opened one eye and, seeing that the coast was clear, belted back to his cage, where he wiggled in through a wonky bar.

Upon thorough examination it was clear that he was drenched in Fritzl saliva.

Case for the defence:

Upon further thorough examination, it was clear that Raisin did not have a single puncture mark on his body.  In fact he immediately ate a piece of apple and had a long, energetic spin in his exercise-wheel.

FACT: Fritzl can chomp through a porkchop bone in two seconds flat.

FACT: Raisin’s bones are rather more flimsy than a porkchop’s.

FACT: The room where the hamster cages are kept is about six meters from where I found Fritzl with Raisin in the passage.

Could it be that Fritzl is innocent?

Is it possible that he was simply lying in the sun on the carpet next to the hamsters, as he does, and noticed that Raisin was out of his cage?

Did he bark to call me?

Did he lift Raisin into his mouth, drooling, to bring him safely to me?  Dropping him a few times because he held him so gently.  Is it on one of these drops that I spotted him?

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, would Fritzl not have crushed that tiny skull and relished that tender meat?  Would he not have hidden the remains?

I ask you to consider your verdict carefully.



  1. Hmmm..intriguing question. The face screams innocent, but then so has our cat’s after ‘play sessions’ with mice, which don’t end prettily. Hung jury here, suggesting a minicam in the passage…

  2. Verdict 1: Fritzi is innocent on all counts.

    Verdict 2: YOU are GUILTY of not fixing the “wonky” bar in the hamster cage. Really, what did you expect?

    Sounds to me like you got a lot of exercise jumping to conclusions! Poor Fritzi. Your sentence is “community service.” You must fix or replace the cage for Peanut and Raisin. You then are required to take long walks with Fritzi, praising him and loving him and telling him he is a good boy, and thereby helping him to forget his unjust punishment. I’d say a new toy or treat is also in order. You are further ordered to hang your head in shame. . .as well as OS and OB!

    Of course, we had a similar situation, so I know whereof I speak! One of our cats was quite interested in our sons’ hamster. The cage we thought was out of his reach, but alas, the cat, Figaro, was quite “high-minded” and managed to knock the cage off the table, bang open the door and have a tasty little snack. He did this very quietly one night and was not in the least ashamed. The boys took it better than I did, but we all realized Figaro was only doing what comes naturally. But then again, OUR hamster didn’t ASK for it, like Raisin did! 😀

    We have a similar situation going on presently, except between our current fat cat, Justin, and our parrot Pepper. Justin is often attracted to that big green thing in the corner of the living room, and will stick his paws through the bars on occasion. Pepper doesn’t care. . .he knows that should he choose, Justin would lose a paw as quick as a wink! He has an extremely powerful beak, and would definitely come out on top in any altercation between the wise bird and clueless cat. Also, there are no “wonky bars” in Pepper’s cage!

    Do you feel properly chastised? Good! Now, go have a glass of merlot and put the whole thing behind you. And give Fritzi a sip while you’re at it! 😀

  3. Well-put case. On the basis of evidence presented thus far, I say Fritzl is innocent. If Raisin could wiggle in through the wonky bar, he could have wiggled out through same wonky bar, placing himself in (potential) harm’s way.

    However, I believe that before a proper verdict can be reached, and a fair judgment rendered, the matter of the wonky bar needs to be investigated. How long had it been wonky, and is the cause of its wonkiness known? Could Fritzl at any time have weakened the security of the cage by working at the bar?

    I respectfully submit these questions for your consideration.

  4. A very clever hamster indeed (for playing dead), but he did leave himself to the mercy of the pooch (don’t know how clever that part is). What direction was Fritzl heading? Is it possible that he was trying to put Raison back in/by the cage? Does Fritzel have a habit of playing with his food?

  5. Shame on you, Cindy, you must remember to feed Fritzl, lol!

    Actually Fritzl would have killed Raisin if he had struggled and I think Fritzl was just curious. Raisin did the right thing by playing dead! However, curious dogs ‘playing’ with small creatures do kill them by accident. That’s just what I think after watching my Fritz with the lizards when they come inside.

  6. Good morning Cindy. Loved your post. Put me in mind of my own hamster tragedy(ies). (We had plenty, nevermind.) Dogs and hamsters are just not a good mix in my mind. And looking at your little Fritzl — well he was originally bred for ferreting out rats and such — so maybe some ancient instinct just took a momentary hold?

    Have a good day — and I agree with one of your earlier responders — take Fritzl out for a special walk, then give Raisin a special treat. Be glad you still have both of the little critters.


  7. What a cute story. I think the dog is innocent. But speaking of rats, however, remember that hamsters are related to rats. You want your animals to be gentle to them too if they happen to come around? Hopefully the dogs know the difference. Smell? (taste? :-\ )

  8. Fritzl waited a long time for Raisin to misjudge distance and timing. His only mistake was yelping with excitement. If he’d had just a few seconds more, he would have had his prey safely in the hiding place where he could have taunted and tasted.

  9. I am going to give Fritzl the benefit of the doubt by saying he is a hero………. though Charlotte might not agree….

  10. Innocent!

    Have friends with a Fritzi who came home to find the cat spread to all four corners of the house. Cat had found her way out of cage. If they want to be destructive, they can do it. Aren’t they hunting dogs?

    Poor Fritzi … and you guys yelled at him … for shame.

    Read Naomi’s blog. Heard your luncheon was fab! 🙂 Would have to be!

  11. There now, I was standing there ironing, and it bashed me in the face with that silver kipper once more: the only response possible to such peerless writing is a round of applause.

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