On her eighth birthday, Morgan Glassford opened up a Build-A-Bear box and started crying.
The reason for her tears wasn’t a fluffy bear the company is known for. Instead, it was because of a hamster named Buttercup.
“My cousin Kirsten got me a hamster,” Glassford said. “I started crying because I was so happy, it was the best hamster ever.”
The senior midfielder had Buttercup for a little more than a year before it got lost in a wall. Glassford took a trip to the Poconos and her hamster’s cage was left open. When she got home she couldn’t find Buttercup, but she did hear it running through the walls at night.
One night, Glassford could no longer hear the hamster running and she knew it had passed away. Nine years later, for her 17th birthday, Glassford received another hamster, Blossom. The second hamster’s life wasn’t a long one and Glassford was once again without a hamster until last year.
In her junior year, Glassford made an Instagram account @morgans_hamsters. The bio reads, “Buttercup was one of a kind. Rest in peace beautiful girl.”
After making the account, Glassford realized she needed a hamster to feature on it, so she went out and bought her third hamster, Bubbles. Her mom, Betsy Glassford, was afraid Bubbles would be lonely home alone, so she got another hamster, Pebbles.
Bubbles died during the lacrosse season last year. Knowing that Glassford was upset, the team showed its support for her by wearing all black to practice and holding a funeral for the hamster.
“I was really sad,” Glassford said, “But it was also like half a joke too. Our captain Maddie McTigue wrote in the group, ‘We are wearing all black tomorrow to mourn the loss of Bubbles.’ There were pictures of Bubbles throughout the locker room, it was funny.”
Now, 14 years and four hamsters after her first, Glassford keeps the deceased ones memories alive through her Instagram account.
“Someone told me to do it so I was like ‘OK,’” Glassford said. “It was just a funny thing, and it has like 100 followers.”
While the account is run by Glassford, she looks to her mom and sister for help. They often bounce ideas for posts off of each other and tell each other funny ideas.
Glassford’s teammates also quickly became part of the account. After junior defender Kaitlin Suzuki edited hamsters’ heads on a team photo last year, Glassford posted the picture with the hashtag “play for the hamsters.”
When she had hamsters, Glassford posted on the account once or twice a week, but now she only does so a couple of times a month.
“Last year, it was more of a thing because I had the hamsters,” Glassford said. “I would go home and take pictures and I would joke about it more last year. But this year I don’t have one, so it’s sad, I’m sad.”
She is hoping that will change soon. Glassford didn’t get a hamster for Senior Day like she wanted, so now she is holding out until graduation.
“[Junior attacker] Kira Gensler said she was going to get me one for graduation,” Glassford said. “So I’m banking on that.”