I fell in love with hamsters as a little girl with my first sable banded Syrian, Daisy. When I lost her at age 10, I was crushed. I vowed to never adopt another pet with such a short life. Of course, a few years later, I came across a tiny sable runt with a respiratory infection at my local Petco and knew I had to have her. Alice and I were best friends. She lived in 2 critter trails attached by tons of tubes--a cage I thought was huge at the time! After she passed, I started searching for a place to get healthy hamsters to avoid the heartbreak I was facing. That is how I stumbled across the CHA and acquired my first hamster from our former president, Linda Price. I contracted my father to build me a giant plexiglass enclosure for my new girl, Rose, and from there my hamster obsession grew with no foreseeable end. For the next few years, I attended shows and continued to get hamsters from Linda but never dreamed I'd one day be in her shoes.
When I moved off to college and had a one bedroom apartment to myself and my cat, it felt incredibly lonely. I contacted Linda to get a new friend once again, and she told me she was planning on retiring from breeding and dissolving the CHA. I was shocked and terribly sad! I ended up getting 3 more hamsters from her just to be sure I took advantage of what I thought was my last chance to have one of her animals. To my surprise, I was soon contacted by Erin and asked to join her on this crazy adventure. Together, we started our own hamstery based on Linda's animals--a beloved creation we call Cheeks and Squeaks. Amy then contacted us and asked us to help her keep the CHA alive. So here we are! I feel incredibly honored to be working with such fabulous and knowledgeable ladies and together we make a great team!
My obsession with hamsters started in 2015 while working for a pet media company. I walked by a cubicle filled with pet supplies and the sign read, “Free Supplies to Review.” Free is always a word that catches my attention! As I looked around, I saw a Critter Trail Hamster Cage. I thought to myself, “Self, I really would love a hamster!” I had never owned or held a hamster. So, I ran to my desk and started researching hamsters. I pulled the CFO in to help decide on the type of hamster. We all agreed that a Syrian would be the way to go! I took home the supplies and a few days later I went to Petsmart and with the help of the sales assistant, Petunia was chosen! She was a Mink, banded, and long haired Syrian. I got her home and looked at her size versus her cage and something did not seem right. I jumped online and the frenzy began! It took me over an hour to find a decent sized cage and it wasn’t cheap. I started joining hamster groups on Facebook and I was really fascinated with all the information I was learning from other hamster owners. I fell in love with Petunia and found a male I named Earl on Craig’s List.
Because I worked for a pet company, which owned Small Animal Channel, I was made aware that there were Hamster Shows to attend! Along with my co-worker, I attended my first hamster show and purchased my first hamster from a breeder, Linda Price. As time passed, I became obsessed with large cages and decorating them. I even entered and won a couple of contests. I continued learning and sharing information online with other Hamster owners. In November I was asked to join the admin team for a Facebook group that had 16k members at the time and currently is at 20k. Since then I have studied genetics and hamster care as much as my schedule will allow.
In the spring of 2016 Linda Price had officially retired from breeding and would be moving out of state. She handed over CHA to myself, my partner Tony Dean, and Amy Wu. At that same time, Tony and I created Cheeks and Squeaks Hamsters and have continued breeding Linda’s line of Syrians. It has been an awesome adventure and I could not imagine my life without my little fuzzies!
It all started one day many years ago when on a whim, I clicked on a Youtube video showing a group of young Roborovski hamster running madly in their wheels and all around the cage. I was instantly charmed by their manic energy, spirit, and cute white eyebrows. I had kept Syrian hamsters as a kid, but know that these little balls of lightning are really something else! It rekindled my love for hamsters in quite a dramatic way, and the rest, as they say, is history.
As one who has serious interests in genetics, ethical selective breeding, and the ideal "standards", it was only a natural step to become deeply involved with the club - first as a breeder exhibitionist, then as show secretary, and now as a judge for the club. Moxie Hamstery was born in 2011 out of this passion for breeding excellence, with a focus on Roborovski and Campbell's dwarf hamsters.
It is very fortunate that CHA continues to thrive even at a time when private breeders were fading away with the advent of large commercial breeding mills. I am ever so thankful that our core CHA team is strong and dedicated to the hamster community, each bringing our own strengths in educational outreach, mentorship, and rescue efforts. All of our events have a little something for everyone, so please come join us and say hi!
When I was in middle school I had a friend who had a dwarf hamster she didn't want. She said he was mean and he would bite. I felt bad for little Marshmallow and asked my mom if we could take him home. Marshmallow was the first hamkid I fell in love with. In high school I had Monster, and realized I didn't know if I could have another because the loss was such a heartache. After college I found Daisy and my life would never be the same. She had problems with her ears and required three surgeries. Despite all the medical attention she required, Daisy loved humans and loved being held. When she passed I got a tattoo of her on my arm. She left a huge impact in my life, teaching me so much responsibility and love.
Browsing hamster groups on Facebook, someone mentioned a hamster show that was coming up October 1, 2016. I was thrilled and decided to take one of my adopted girls Dahlia, from Craigslist. This show was where I met Amy, Erin, and Tony and my heart felt complete. This was also the day I took in 18 dwarfs that were left at a dumpster in Hollywood.
A month later Amy was looking for some help with her breeders to continue working with her pure Campbells dwarf lines. I was lucky to inherit her sweethearts and continue working with the genetics. I started Sweet Tooth Hamstery to continue the ethical breeding of the high quality genetics that Amy from Moxie Hamstery had been working with. I am so excited to be a part of the California Hamster Association with these three ladies and our happy hamily!
Kyle, Our "Honorary Hambassador"
Kyle is a special and beloved part to our group, and you're likely to see him at every show and event. He's Tony's beau, and because of that, he was pretty much thrown into the hamster world. While it's not his personal hobby, Kyle does love hamsters and is very knowledgable about them. So don't be afraid to ask him questions!
Kyle is an expert bin cage craftsman and bucket wheel engineer. He is constantly educating people online and encouraging them to update their standards of care. Consequently, he is very well versed in hamster husbandry. He's also pretty good at human "husbandry," with particular expertise in supporting your partner's strange hobbies--and being a total hero while doing it! We wouldn't be the same without Kyle!
California Hamster Association