the gerbil update…


Daughter #1 begged for gerbils.  I’m not a mean mom.  I am not anti-pets.  We have 2 dogs and 2 cats.  However, I said “no” every time she asked for a gerbil.

For some unknown reason, when she asked for the 176th time, I said “yes” she could get gerbils.  She spent her own money on 2 gerbils, a cage, food, bedding etc…

Then, daughter #2 asked for gerbils for her birthday.  She is younger, but I thought… the first set of gerbils were low-maintenance, friendly and they were actually kind of cute.  “Gerbil-life” was pretty much uneventful.  Which was fine by me.

How hard could a second set of gerbils be?

I bought daughter #2 the gerbils, a cage, food, bedding, etc…

This may have been a mistake.

Daughter #2 kept leaving the cage door open (although, she will never admit this).

We have been on “Gerbil Recovery Missions” far too many times.

I recently saw my first Facebook posts when we got the gerbils:

“We are the proud owners of two gerbils!  Daughter #1 spent her own money on everything and also spent weeks convincing us to say YES”

“Our gerbil family expanded today!  Daughter #2 got gerbils for her birthday. She named them Ginger and Paprika.”

THEN, I noticed my other posts regarding the gerbils:

Gerbil Update: Violet (cat) pushed the cage off the edge of the chest last night. Now, the cage is surrounded by two 10 pound weights and a 5 pound weight. Violet is going to have to do some heavy pushing to budge the gerbil cage now that it has a “hand weight barrier” around it. I just knew those hand weights would come in handy some day!! …too bad it’s not me exercising with them!

Gerbil Update: Came home from work and was told (through tears) that Paprika was not in her cage. Was also told that door on cage was open (cat? other child?). Looked and looked for white gerbil in child’s room to no avail. When downstairs to fret to husband and noticed Hannah (dog) staring into corner. Went for closer look… there was Paprika! All gerbils are safe in cages. May have to install tiny padlocks on cage doors. Note: how did tiny gerbil make it downstairs past 2 cats and 2 dogs to be safely found?

Gerbil Update: Violet (cat) knocked new gerbil cage over. This gerbil cage was blocked in by 5 pound weights. Not heavy enough, apparently. Husband found one little gerbil in the closet. Both gerbils are safe and fine and back in their cage. Cage is completely immoveable now with 25 pound weights on both sides. If Violet can budge 25 pounds I am calling the Guinness Book of World Records. Note: this all happened at 3 am this morning.

Gerbil Update: Trying to leave for a weekend soccer tournament and was told that gerbils were missing.  Found one gerbil under the bed, returned it to cage.  Found other gerbil under the bookcase.  After 20 minutes of all known gerbil recovery techniques we finally had to move the extremely heavy bookcase to capture escapee.  Gerbils are now safe in cage.  We are late for soccer tournament.

Gerbil Update: Another escape from the same cage. Child says she did not leave the cage door open… Same child, same cage as last several escapes. With help of cats we found the gerbils quite quickly and returned them to cage. One was still in bedroom. One was behind stairs on first floor. We are getting to be experts on gerbil recovery.

I will never again describe our “gerbil-life” as uneventful.

Side Note: Think twice before you cave on the 176th request for a gerbil.


7 responses »

  1. Should have called me!! I could have warned you!!

    All pets are worth it though – how many life lessons can you give a child in such a big impactful way -responsibility, love, caring, and the inevitable lessons about end of life….

    • I think you may have mentioned a few (hundred) times not to get any “rodents.” I guess I had to learn the hard way! Although, now the the drama is over (hopefully) and * some of us * are remembering to shut the cage doors… they are pretty darn cute!!

  2. Another good post. We, too, have a rodent (hamster) that we inherited when our granddaughter got a dog that assumed the hamster, “Cupcake”, was, indeed, something to eat. But we experience none of the problems you shared, mainly because we have no kids mucking about.

    Not sure I get the point of such a critter as a pet, but I nonetheless have grown a wee bit fond of her.


    • If nothing else… these little gerbils have given us a lot of excitement!!

      So nice of you to adopt Cupcake, so it didn’t become a “real” treat! Luckily, none of our other animals have wanted to eat the gerbils. I was always amazed how far the gerbils would get without being bothered. Hopefully, the “gerbil updates” are over. No more escapes!

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