"I want you to hold her and see how fat she is." My best friend scooped the rotund, Oreo-splotched hamster into my hands, and I found that she was, indeed, much like a fluffy pear in the palms of my hands. She looked up at me with her bright, pink nose and sniffed. I swear she was smiling. Then I felt curious teeth. "Whoa! You'd better take her!" I handed her back. Little did I know that this gorgeous black and white fuzz-ball would soon belong to me.
"We're moving into an apartment, and I won't be able to keep them."
Time passed, though, and change came. "Our landlord compromised. He'll sell us the house." My friend and her family weren't moving after all, but she didn't have the heart to make Penelope move once more. The little, smiling pear with the pink nose was loved dearly, and when she smiled back, everyone knew she loved us too.
"She sounds like a monkey!" Never before has a hamster graced this household that made as much noise as Penelope. Both in waking hours and sleep, she grunted and hooted to herself, as if she were observing the exciting things around her under her breath. Even when she sniffed, she was noisy, much to the humor of all around.
"I think something is wrong with her foot." Whether curiosity or her weight got the best of her, as she gained years and chub, Penelope injured herself climbing and from then on walked with a limp.
"I don't think she's going to make it." Penelope was an old lady now (and I say so affectionately), and I don't know how many scares we had when we thought she was breathing her last night. But each time she pulled through, a little slower and a little less lively, but sweet and lovely all the same.
February 22, 2015: "She's gone."