Ziggy is a hamster, and the last pet I’m ever saying yes to

Are We There Yet? Parental guilt? Looks like you'll be buying a pet

Syrian hamsters make lifelong friends. What do you mean you have enough friends?

Syrian hamsters make lifelong friends. What do you mean you have enough friends?

 

Her name is Ziggy. She doesn’t play guitar. She just sleeps all day and whizzes around a wheel all night, which is slightly distracting if you are not used to the noise. Ziggy is a hamster. I don’t know how it happened, either.

Well, on mature recollection, I do. I had been consumed, even more than usual, by external events which led to the neglect, even more than usual, of domestic responsibilities.

Basically, the parental guilt dial, which always hovers around eight or nine, was turned up to 11 during the referendum. My boyfriend was a Repeal Widow and my daughters, little Yes-badge-wearing Repeal Orphans.

So, even though I am not a pet-person, it was off to Shawna’s pet shop on Capel Street which I can highly recommend with one furry caveat: they will try very hard to convince you of the virtues of rats which they claim make excellent pets. Luckily, my daughters decided that what they actually needed was a hamster, also a member of the rodent family but with fewer stomach-churning connotations.

They recommended a Syrian or golden hamster, which don’t actually come from Syria – the shop only stocks animals that are captive, born and bred in Ireland and sourced from small local breeders. I consult the internet: “Syrian hamsters can make excellent pets. They can be very active with great personalities. If raised and handled properly they’ll be your friends for life.” I have enough friends, I think. But this is not about me. We get a cage, a hamster, bedding and a selection of hamster furniture.

I now have a worrying amount of non-humans in the house. My daughters already have a fish each but they had been complaining for a good while that as cute as Dory and Coral are, you can’t take them out of the tank for a cuddle. Ziggy is different. She’s soft and cuddly and has an endearing way of regarding you through the cage bars while munching on carrot.

I am still not a pet person but I am starting to like Ziggy, or at least not to mind her as much as I thought I would. She’s low maintenance and so far doesn’t seem to smell too badly.

People who know about these things say that a hamster is a gateway pet to a dog. While the parental guilt is back to a manageable eight, the hamster is the final animal that’s is getting my yes vote.

Some things to do with children this weekend ...

Dublin Kite Festival

“With a tuppence for paper and strings ...” ok, you are probably going to buy one rather than make your own, but whether you have a kite or not the annual Dublin Kite Festival will be a great bet this weekend. It takes place on Sunday at North Bull Island, Clontarf, Dublin. Expect live music, face-painters, exciting games, kite-making workshops, a kite-flying competition.

The festival will challenge kite enthusiasts from all over Ireland and abroad to show off their stunt skills and compete for a number of awards across a wide range of kite categories, including most aerodynamic, most beautiful, and funniest.

If you are looking for some coaching, there will be expert kite-flyers on hand and it’s all part a of a free family fun day out put on by Dublin City Council. (Don’t forget to pop in to the Happy Out cafe for an Asparagorgeous sandwich while you’re there).

Where: North Bull Island, Clontarf, Dublin

When: Sunday, June 10th, 11am - 5pm

Cost: Free

Contact: dublinkitefestival.ie

Science Magic

Science, comedy and magic is not a combo you come across that often but perhaps it should be. Triple award-winning comedian and scientist Donal Vaughan brings his hugely popular show to An Taibhdhearc Theatre in Galway. It’s suitable for ages five and upwards. Expect to be surprised, amazed and amused.

Where: An Taibhdhearc Theatre, Galway

When: Saturday, June 9th, 1pm

Cost: €10

Contact: 091-562024. antaibhdhearc.com

Animal Lottery

You never know what you will find at the Dead Zoo – or as boring people call it the Natural History Museum in Dublin. With this Animal Lottery you really take your chances. No need to book for this tour but places are limited on a first-come basis. Just turn up 15 minutes before.

Where: Natural History Museum, Merrion St Upper, Dublin

When: Saturday, June 9th, noon

Cost: Free

Contact: 01-6777444. museum.ie/Natural-History

Art Trolley

Rua Red South Dublin Arts Centre is an inspiring arts centre based in the heart of Tallaght, catering for the artistic needs of all south Dublin. It has been open since 2009 and it’s one of the largest multi-disciplinary arts venues in Ireland, providing the opportunity for people of all backgrounds and ages to witness and partake in theatre, dance, music, literature, film-making, e-learning, visual art and all that the arts have to offer. Every Saturday this month you can enjoy a fun-filled hour or art activity for a parent/guardian and child aged 8-12 years. Facilitated by artist Ayelet Lalor, you can let your imagination run wild.

Where: Rua Red, South Dublin Arts Centre, Belgard Square North, Tallaght, Dublin 24

When: Saturdays in June, 10.30am

Cost: €5

Contact: 01-4515860. ruared.ie

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