Since losing my dogs due to homelessness several years ago, I have lived in rented accommodation. I have therefore kept hamsters instead of dogs as fewer landlords object to hamsters etc.
So our third hamster died a couple of weeks ago. A few days later m7 housemate and best friend, Dean, brought me a pair of baby hamsters. They were delightful. They ran about a lot for the first day and night then settled down to sleep.
Previous experience had taught that after the initial bedlam the hamsters will then sleep for a few days, and should be left to do so. That is what we did.
After about 36-48 hrs we thought we should be seeing something of them by now, so we proceeded to try and wake them up. First of all by banging gently on the cage and calling to them. Nothing.
Then we tried gently poking the bedding with a blunt stick. Nothing.
"Oh no!" I said, "They're not dead are they?" and we took the gage to the bathroom and stood it in the bath. Gingerly we took off the top part of the cage and started feeling for the baby hamsters. Nothing.
I started taking out the bedding and found the hamsters were not in the cage!
We looked everywhere but the were long gone. We had seen them sleepily go to bed on Friday afternoon, and had gone down to the pub. We sat outside with our drinks and I noticed the landlady and her husband driving past and off towards our building.
We thought nothing of it and finished our drink. We popped in the offy for a couple of takeouts and went home. Hamsters made no sound. "Must be really sleeping," we thought.
Saturday passed in a flurry of activity and it then it was Sunday morning. No noise from the hamsters. I asked Dean if he'd seen them on the Saturday; he hadn't. Neither had I, hence the search and the discovery.
At first we stared blankly at the cage, it wasn't sinking in. I started to go through the bedding again. "They are not here!" said Dean. I stood up slowly and left the room. I sat at the table and tried to understand what could have happened. Well. obviously, someone had let them out.
"Someone has been in here." I said to Dean as he came into the room. "Someone's been in and let the fucking hamsters out!" It didn't take long to reach a conclusion as to who.
There was no sign of forced entry. Whoever did it therefore had a key. When we moved into the flat from the house on the High Street, our landlady brought the lock, which she said was new when we moved in, to this flat and swapped. I have a key, Dean has a key. And the Landlady has a key.
Nothing else was touched. The pc, the desktop, the digital radio, the guitar, the amp, the camera... not touched. Just the hamsters not in the cage but with the cage door shut. What burglar takes time to stop and try to pet a hamster? What sort of unauthorized intruder WOULD?
Who would think they could do that? Who would try to cover it up so they didn't get blamed. Who would think they had a 'right' to be there? Who would be able to come up with a good 'reason' for being in there, like "I smelled gas."? Who had a key? Who used to be a social worker and managed to get sacked for being crap?
We came to the conclusion that our landlady must have done it.
I asked her outright a day or so later but she denied it, of course. We now have a padlock on the cage and a new pet, a gerbil safely inside it.
Of course, as the landlady insists it wasn't her. I don't suppose a padlock will stop a creature who can walk through locked doors.