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.