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Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Thoughts On Rhino

By Catya
Catya is a judge with the California Hamster Association. She shares her experiences in hamster ownership from a high school student's perspective.

Trogdor explores a pirate ship
Trogdor, the fearless pirate captain.
Trogdor and Catya
Photos Courtesy of Catya
Trogdor showcases his karate moves.

This weekend, I went to the movies, like practically everyone else. The movie I saw was quite popular with young people, featuring a star that is cute and pale. No, not that movie — I saw Bolt, by Disney. I wanted to find out about the hamster character, Rhino. It’s always interesting to see how hamsters are portrayed in films and books. Sometimes, they’re right on the “fuzzy” nose, but other times … not so much. Bolt’s Rhino was a little bit of each.

First of all, I’d like to start with a disclaimer: Never, ever, ever let your hamster outside in an exercise ball. Never, ever, ever let your hamster run in the ball for more than 20 minutes at a time. Never, ever, ever let your hamster eat French fries or meat-lover’s pizza or hot dogs or the other things Rhino eats during the movie. Never, ever, ever keep two Syrian hamsters together, or let your dog, cat or other predatory pet get too close to your hamster.

With that said, I love Rhino. He’s a couch potato and a rabid fan of the fictional TV show that Bolt stars in. But his sedentary nature changes when he meets Bolt and gets the chance to live his dream by accompanying his hero on real adventures. While I’ve only had one hamster that could see the images on a TV screen (Toby, the “Rainman” hamster), I’m sure he would have loved to go on wild adventures too.

Rhino, once he joins Bolt’s team, is fearless, taking on enemies many times his size. I think most of my hamsters would be too timid to try and fight anything tougher than a dust bunny, but there have been a few that were brave enough to go toe-to-toe with any minion of the nefarious Dr. Calico — Spoon comes to mind here, and so does Trogdor.  Spoon once escaped his cage and crept, ninja-like, down the ladder from my brother’s loft room to wake my mom by sneaking onto her bed and walking across her pillow. (Any likeness between mom and Dr. Calico is purely coincidental.)  Trogdor, like his dragon namesake, was equally fearless, and would explore the lowest decks and highest perches of Kevin’s Lego models of sailing ships. I think he was imagining that he was a nefarious pirate captain.

One thing that definitely rang true about Rhino was his unshakable loyalty. Rhino never stops believing in his friend Bolt, and it is Rhino that convinces Mittens the cat to stick with Bolt after they fight and part ways. All of my hamsters have had that same loyalty in some way. With the dwarves, it’s their loyalty for their cagemate as well as their human friends; with the Syrians, it’s mostly for their “person,” as Bolt says.

I don’t think any of my hamsters could board a moving train, raid an animal shelter or navigate a burning building for me, but I know that they’re there for me day in and day out, ready to play or cuddle and show me how a creature the size of a hamster can have a heart like a rhino’s.

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*ahem! Dr. Calico, is it?
Mom, Home, CA
Posted: 11/26/2008 10:44:45 PM
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