Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Max The Hamster Hunter

Today I must pay homage to the family dog, Max – or “Max The Wonderdog” as I have referenced him in previous blogs.

Max has been the center of our lives for a year and a half now. The boys adore him and my youngest is fascinated by the fact that Max has a metal rod in his left leg as the result of injuries sustained from a hit and run incident from his puppyhood (judging from his extreme hatred of the Schwan’s Man – we think it was some kind of truck that may have struck him).

Aside from his continual shedding and occasional neurotic behavior of eating random areas of my carpeting and inconspicuous areas of my couch – he does this when he is ticked off at me because I have been gone all day (“What? And you couldn’t just leave me a note? Well, take that, 1SweetMama! Let this be a lesson to you!”), Max has proven his value in protection, love, and loyalty to our family…and now Max has assumed another role in our household: Max The Hamster Hunter.

Hannah – as in “The Hamster” (not “Hannah” as in “Montana”, as my 9 year old, Peanut, enthusiastically explains) is an escape artist. She has only gotten out a handful of times but I am continually amazed at her verve for wanting out of her humble abode. No matter how heavy the object placed atop her cage, she somehow manages to muscle up the strength to pull back the lid and drop 3 ½ feet to the floor below in order to explore the basement.

It is important that I mention that Hannah lives in the basement (which is actually a very decent living area – she lives in the “rec room” area) because when we have tried keeping her upstairs in Peanut’s bedroom, it drives Max insane. The hamster cage is like “Max TV” and Max is completely transfixed by the fact that we keep a rodent under glass for his viewing enjoyment. Max is a hound dog and, eventually, he is totally consumed by the movements of this rodent and he begins to whine and foam at the mouth in anticipation of what this tasty morsel might feel like in his belly.

To save Max from madness, we keep Hannah on a separate level of the residence, with the door between the main floor and the basement closed. But, occasionally, we will allow Max into the basement, under close supervision, to observe Hannah in her habitat. Max thinks we must be marinating her for his future enjoyment (“The longer that thing stays in that glass box, the fatter and juicier she gets!”).

The greatest thing about the Max and Hannah relationship is that we have discovered that each time Hannah disappears, Max is able to locate her in less than 10 seconds. We simply send him downstairs with the charge, “Max, go find Hannah!” And it is done. End of story. He doesn’t even stop to take a sniff. His incredible sense of smell leads him directly to her hiding spot and we are able to extract her from whichever precarious predicament she has placed herself in and she goes back into the cage. (“She must not be done yet”, is what Max must think every time we put her back into the glass box.) The last Hannah escape found her tightly wedged into a tiny corner of the washing machine. We would never have located her there if it wasn’t for Max who insisted that she was there. He probably wound up actually saving her life. Good dog!

Every one in the family plays a role and Max’s place within our family unit is no different. He provides us with limitless unconditional love, protects us from the Schwan’s Man, and keeps Hannah well accounted for.

For this, we are eternally grateful. Until next time, I remain….1SweetMama

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