At the moment, we are especially looking for hamster fosters."
so i email, tell them how perfect i am for the job, and offer to take as many baby hamsters as they can give me. i'll tend the hamsters until it is time to leave for cuba, then they can all go to new homes. i imagine myself in my hoodie, with a nest of hamsterlings in the pocket, syringing them full of formula (and love). i imagine i can probably convince some friends to adopt some of my hamsters.
after a week, i have heard nothing, so i assume they had a huge response and don't need me. then a few days later, i get an exciting reply.
"Sorry for the slow reply! Thank you so much for your interest in fostering! We are expecting a large amount of hamsters sometime this week or next, would you be interested in fostering a hamster short-term, until there's room at the shelter?"
YAY! i totally can! i restate everything in my previous email. i can foster more than one! i've got a couple sizable cages, i figure i can handle one or two moms and litters, or three or four babies who need hand feeding.
another week, then an email -the hamsters will be arriving in the shelter that saturday, and can i pick one up sunday between noon and 6?
i sure can!
i got so excited. i dug the cages out of storage, found bravo's old wheel and accessories.
then saturday morning i get this email:
"There was a problem with the hamster transport and it's been pushed back to next Saturday, which means they won't be available for foster until then. Are you able to pick up the hamster next Sunday instead?
Sorry for the delay, thanks again!"
a problem with the hamster transport?
i had imagined them already possessing several pregnant females, and preparing for them all to give birth. or maybe being in contact with another shelter in the city who had an excess of hamsters, and offering to help find foster homes downtown where the demand for small pets is greater.
so i make plans to go the next weekend. their facebook page is updated with several pleas for cages, food and supplies, so i figure it's really on this time. i send an email on friday, restating the supplies i have, and confirming the pick up time.
"I'm really sorry about this but the hamster transport was cancelled again, so there are no hamsters for foster at the moment. Usually our fostering is not so chaotic, I swear! This was the first time we were trying to arrange a large transport and it was more complicated than expected. Sorry again! I will let you know as soon as we really do have fosters."
now i imagine the hamster transport is a sort of cargo train, a cattle car, loaded with hamsters, waiting in some shadowy rail yard, with intimidating men carrying clipboards and guns, preventing the shipment from leaving.
it's been three weeks now, i've put all the stuff back into the closet. i wish i had some hamsters! i had gotten attached to the idea. i'd been reading about hamsters - i recommend "The Untold Story of the Hamster, a.k.a. Mr. Saddlebags" in the smithsonian magazine.
who knew hamster foster care logistics could be so elaborate.
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