Saturday, January 14, 2006

It's a GIRL!

Gerbil, that is.

In a previous post, I discussed my niece’s penchant for pets. I didn’t mention that it is for rodents in particular. I received a very excited call from T the other evening. She had gotten her newest pet, a baby gerbil. Her first choice was a specific hamster at the pet store. Needless to say it was removed from the list of possible members of the family after said hamster bit her mother twice. So the search continued until she held a brown and white gerbil. The baby girl curled up in T’s hand and by doing so in her heart, too.

The truth of the matter is this is not her first attempt at raising rodents. Her first was a pair of mice, a birthday gift from her brother (fitting, I think). Field, unfortunately, did not survive for long. T was heartbroken. She is very sensitive and had really wanted to raise them and possibly breed them in time. Her mother, seeing her pain, decided to take the sick Isabelle to the vet. She did not survive the trip. T learned a lot on that visit though. The vet’s daughter was working that day and is very involved in raising rodents. She explained a number of things about what the environment needs and other issues they can have. So, the visit which cost just a few dollars was worth the effort to both mother and daughter. On another positive note, her pets’ short lifespan caused her to head to the library and check out books about mice, gerbils, etc.

During T’s research about rodents, she discovered that the smartest rodent can actually learn its name and tricks much like a dog. The rodent just happens to be a rat. M did put her foot down about that. There are a number of people that will say that rats make wonderful pets, even some of our own family. M does not dispute the possibility. She does however take exception to having a rat in her house. Her first look at the pointy nose and bald tail sent shivers up and down her back. So, this time, mom put her foot down and said no. The new gerbil is actually a compromise.

Now, let me say that my sister, M, had a difficult time having rodents in the house that were supposed to be there. (She probably has similar memories as me--Dad with a broom chasing mice while Mom jumped on a chair telling him which way they had gone.) However, she, as a devoted mother, held her beloved daughter’s pets. She, as every parent does, did something that she never thought she would do.


Little Miss Chatterbox said...

My brother had a gerbil. I still remember one of my favorite stories that I tell. The gerbil (Oreo) had escaped from its cage and was inside our couch. My mom was yelling at it and actually said, "Oreo, you come out here right now!!" My middle brother and I died laughing that the gerbil was going to obey my mother while my poor younger brother cried. We eventually got the gerbil to come out :-).

My daughters have had 3 hamsters and none of them have lived very long. It is traumatic when they die so I finally said no more hamsters. Maybe a different animal with a longer life span.

Hope your niece and sister enjoy the gerbil.

Lone Pony said...

I had a pet rat when I was a teen. But then, I was a bit different from my peers. I taught him tricks. I think the thing lots of people have trouble getting past are those long, yellow teeth. Oh, I linked you. I don't know what took me so long. Brain dead from working so much. :-)

jgf said...

LMC, T dicovered with the mice that their short life span was due to the type of cage they were in.

LP, Thanks for the link! I need to update mine.

McSwain said...

My brother's kids have snakes and exotic lizards, etc. His wife is known to be quite the cool mom.

I, on the other hand, am decidedly UNcool. And I plan to stay that way.

Robosquirrel said...

I had mice and a gerbil at different time growing up. I love the little rodents. I named my mice Jaques and Gus. It turned out Gus was pregnant when we brought her home from the pet store and she had eight baby mice. Now that was pretty cool. Raising mice is a great thing for kids.

Now I have cats. Also relatively hands-off animals, if you want them to be. Mine are attention whores; like one the one who wants to lay in front of my face as I type this. But that's because we raised them both as newborn kittens and have been able to mold their behavior as they imprint upon us.

Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

White rats make great pets.

jgf said...

Cheryl: UNcool is just fine!

Robosquirrel: When they decide to breed her. I think I'll be asked to take one. I wonder if I will be able to say no then.

Patrick: Maybe white would be okay, but I think the tail would still get me.