Nov 22nd, 2018, 11:04 AM

Parisian Pets: Harry's Hamsters

By Alayna Amrein
Image Credit: Leanna Rose Davis
What does one do when they feel alone in the city of love? Buy 20€ worth of hamsters, of course.

Most people fill the void of loneliness that comes with studying abroad by exploring, doing some retail therapy, or having frequent FaceTimes with their loved ones. If you’re Harry Haydt though, you fill that void by buying four hamsters.

Harry, AUP sophomore, grew up on a farm in Pennsylvania and was accustomed to being in the constant presence of animals. When he moved to Paris for his sophomore year of university he began to miss the company of his furry companions. 

Henri intrigued by Harry's hand. Image Credit: Leanna Rose Davis

To fill this void he set out on an adventure to find a cuddly creature with hopes of finding a well-priced pup. Harry searched high and low but to his dismay, all the dogs he could find were priced at 1,000€ or more, a price far too high for a student living on a budget in the center of Paris. At the end of his search, he found himself in a small pet store in the 11th arrondissement. The owner tried to persuade Harry to buy a dog, but once he realized that the probability of that was a bit far-fetched, he asked him if he would be interested in something smaller.

"I thought he meant a cat, but he meant a rabbit. I don't like rabbits; its nothing against them, it's just that I don't like them. They are cute from a distance. But then he showed me these, they looked like cotton balls and he called them '[French accent] meenee meenee amstair'. And I was like 'what the hell is a meenee meenee amstair'?" What are they? They are hamsters that don't get any bigger than the size of a cotton ball.

Henri cleaning himself. Image Credit: Leanna Rose Davis

"So, I figured I couldn't get just one because it would be lonely. So then I said 'well how many can I get for twenty Euros?' and then he just kept putting them in a box." Henry ended up taking four home, all of which he suspected to be one unified gender.

He arrived at his apartment in a timely manner, as the pet owner warned him that if he did not go fast enough the hamsters might freeze. Luckily they did not. "I knew that if I got home and had a box of dead hamsters, I would have a breakdown. So, I ran home with a big cage and a box full of hamsters," soon to be named Hugo, Henri, George, and Charles.

Carla (Charles) playing. Image Credit: Leanna Rose Davis

Things started off smoothly and he followed all of the hamster-owning rules, feeding them every few days, which was more than enough, at least for a while. Within this past week, however, he would feed them before school and by the time he came back, all the food would be gone. Harry then looked in the cage to investigate the lost food and to his surprise found his favorite little guy, Charles, sitting on a giant mountain of bedding in the corner of the cage and three times bigger than the last time Harry checked up on him. 

Confused, Harry did a quick Google search and concluded that Charles was actually Carla and not only that, but she was soon to be the mother of anywhere from five to twenty baby hamsters. 

Carla has yet to give birth, but she gets larger and larger each day and with her pregnancy comes a flood of corresponding reactions. Now, her fear of danger and attack is heightened and she feels the need to protect her house and food from the other hamsters. Due to this, the photos shown include only Carla and Henri, the only other hamster she gets along with and can live with, who is now guessed to be presumably female.

Carla (Charles) climbing. Image Credit: Leanna Rose Davis

When asked what Harry will do with the hamsters during Christmas vacation he responded that he might take them to his farm and that they should feel at home because "they don't know  that they are not American."

Harry and his hamster friends, though they do cause quite the scandal, have made his experience in Paris more comforting. Every day, when he comes home from school he gets to let the hamsters run about in the rooms of his apartment. Who knows, he may run into a Remi 2.0 scandal if he discovers that not only do they provide company but they are also five-star chefs; what better way to fulfill the most Parisian of lives!

Harry carrying Carla (Charles). Image Credit: Leanna Rose Davis