"How I Got Into Gerbils..."

An interesting topic came from the AGS message board. A question was asked on how you got into gerbils. There were tons of interesting stories. So I captured them and put them here for all of us to read. If you have an interesting story on how you got into gerbils, email me and I will be more than happy to post it here. It is long but luckily most of is just text.

  Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 07:39:22 -0800 (PST)
  From: Trina  <
animallover5457@yahoo.com>

I was just wondering how everyone here got into gerbils?

How I became interested in gerbils (updated),
 
I became interested years and years ago when I was still in school. One of my teachers had them as a class pet and I immediately fell in love, A few years later, I decided to get a pair, unfortunately the pet store no longer sold gerbils because of the mangers experience with a mother gerbil eating her pups, he thought this was cruel so he stopped selling them (yes, very odd) A few weeks later I tried a different pet store, and they had the color I wanted (spotted black) unfortunately there was only one. After a few days of reading about gerbils on the web, I decided to get him a friend.

I had read so much about breeding and I thought it would be a great experience for me, so after some deep consideration I decided to get a female.  I went to another petstore and got Princess; a spotted polar fox female.  I introduced them after I came home from the pet shop, I waited 1 hour and they were already sleeping together.  A few weeks later after I had come home from visiting family 3000 miles away, I peeked in the cage and there were 5 healthy pups.
 
Princess and Oreo had 1 more litter were only one pup came.  I plan on breeding again shortly.
 
Thanks
 
Trina

  Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 08:25:31 -0800 (PST)
  From: JCHBlock <JCHBlock@Yahoo.com>

Some of the scientists at the Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology, where Stuart was getting his post- doctoral diploma, were doing psychological research on gerbils and after the experiments were over, some of the scientists took gerbils home as pets. Stuart discovered them then. At that point, they were still very new to the US.  Many years later, when we got married, he told me about gerbils, and suggested them as pets (we wanted- still want- a dog, but our coop won't allow them). When I saw them in the pet store, I fell in love. And the rest is history.... GIGGLES!
Judith

 

 

Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 08:33:11 -0800 (PST)
From: Sara <cowgurl_hardware04@yahoo.com>

That is a good question.  I got into gerbils after seeing them in the petstore, actually Earl May.  I fell in love with this one female who was brown and black all over (later I found out that these are Nutmegs)!!  I am one of those people that when I get a new pet I want to know everything I can about them.  I found the AGS website and that gave me all sorts of new information.  I also found the e-mail address of the only breeder registered in my area, Michelle (Double Star Gerbils).  I went to see her and was just amazed with how cute these animals were and how friendly.  I purchased Cosmo, my Schimmel, who is just the best.  Caramel ended up being pregnant from the petstore, and the sight of those little ones got me started!!!

 

 

  Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 09:31:58 -0800 (PST)
  From: Trina  <animallover5457@yahoo.com>

awww!
A lot of people ask me why I donít want hamsters instead, I donít know why really, gerbils are just so addictive **hehe**

Trina

 

Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 09:34:22 -0800 (PST)
From: Trina  <animallover5457@yahoo.com>

aww, thatís so sweet.
Wow, it seems a lot of people get pregnant gerbils from the petstores, they should really watch that, not all people would love the idea of having pups.....

Thanks for the reply!

Trina


  Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 09:41:27 -0800 (PST)
  From: Emily <maidservantofthelord@yahoo.com>

Originally I got into gerbils when I was 6 or 7; don't really remember exactly how old I was lol.  My dad had brought home a white mouse for me when I was 4, and I was heartbroken when he died.  So, my dad, being the wonderful father that he is (lol) bought me two gerbils from Wal-Mart (way back when they still owned them...well, not that long ago, I am only 20 lol).  Well, typical "pet store" story, one morphed into a male!  I got up to around 20 gerbils and then my mom made me give all of them to the local petstore; because Wal-Mart couldn't sell them any more....I only kept three.  When all of those passed, I didn't have any pets (rodent wise) until about mid June last year.  My boyfriend let me pick out two gerbils (he knew that I was going to breed them).  I picked out a pied argente (Nutmeg) and an extreme mottled black (Marbles).  Marbles has fathered many pups, with many females, but I have retired both of them from quote unquote breeding.

 

 They are together again and they still will have two or three pups every few months.  They both love caring for the pups, so I let them have them (plus Nutmeg fights with every other gerbil that I have ever tried to put her with!).  Anyway, those two turned into 10, and then those 10 turned into 40, then on to 100, and now upwards of 150 counting all of the pups that I have!

Emily in NC

 

Date: Mon, 07 Nov 2005 18:58:14 -0000
From: "Diane" <gerbilgal@gmail.com>

For me it started a little over a year ago. Steve and I live in an apartment. I wanted a pet so much. Dogs and cats were out so I started research on the little ones. I discovered that gerbils were the best plus one of my co-workers is a gerbil breeder. She said I can have 2 for no cost. I saw the babies for me to choose and fell in love. I have been addicted to gerbils every since. The AGS has been very helpful.

Diane

Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 11:21:21 -0800
From: "Wendy" <whiteheart@saltspring.com>

For me:
I got a gerbil around age 8. She was pretty friendly. I named her Julie, she was an agouti. Soon after my Dad figured out she needed a friend and we went and got another agouti female, I named her Sabrina. She was the best gerbil *ever*. I credit that to my Dad who brought her home, sat me on the couch with him, and encouraged me to let her run all over us and the couch without bugging her. A great introduction!

They lived happily together about 3 years. One strange thing, the dominant one, Julie, would "thump" tho no babies ever emerged I suppose that was herasserting her protection over Sabrina?


After they died I got two more, both agoutis again. I named them Rosie and Robin. The first day one of them bit my finger, and hung on for dear life as I swung my arm trying to get her off.


I never played with them again, I was too scared. I would feed and tend to them, clean the cage etc, but I was so scared I would get another bite! About a year ago I saw two unusual looking creatures. I asked the petstore clerk what they were and he said gerbils. I hadn't realized gerbils came in those colours! (mottled black and pied ivory cream) I brought them home. I set about educating myself like crazy. I realized they were male and female and went right into breeding. I'm nuts about genetics, and it was so refreshing to have gerbils in the home again. My daughter is now gerbil crazy also (8 years old) so the tradition continues...and we 'introduce' new ones and pups the same way I was taught.
Wendy
Whiteheart Menagerie

  Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 12:12:42 -0800 (PST)
  From: Elaine <mneslynch@yahoo.com>

Several years ago, I really wanted a pet.  We were renting and only caged pets were allowed, so I researched small pets.  From all the descriptions I found, it seemed that gerbils would be the best fit for my husband and me.  In my research I ran across the Gerbil Mailing List.  This was pre-AGS.  The people on the GML had lots of good advice.  The most important was to buy from a breeder not a pet shop.  I found that Tana was living in Oklahoma at that time and had male pups for sale.  We drove down to Altus to pick up
three brothers, 2 blacks and a dove.  They were wonderful.  I discovered that my research was accurate, of all the small pets, gerbils were best for Mike and me.  Eventually our three boys passed away. We kept my niece's gerbils for a semester.  After that I started campaigning for more of our own.  Tana had moved to Springfield by this time, but she was still close enough to travel to for more pups.  There were two brothers this time, one spotted black and one slate.  Unfortunately, the spotted black died the beginning of this year.  We wanted a new companion for Shadow but Tana wasn't actively breeding.  However,  Katie had male pups, she lived in Tulsa, and she could deliver.  That is how we ended up with our current male pair of Shadow and Gimli.

 

 

 

Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 14:59:59 -0800 (PST)
From: "G.M." <lowercaseg_go5@yahoo.com>

When I was a kid many many years ago, (when agouti was the only color available.) a friend of the family, went on vacation and left me their two baby gerbils to care for. Their cage was a wooden milk crate with hardware cloth on the front and sides. One corner had a shelf and the litter was cedar shavings. (Now we know better) I remember giving them ice cream sticks, cardboard and cardboard tubes. They were so interesting and fun to watch.


Months later, I wanted gerbils for my birthday. On my birthday I came home from school to find a pair of agouti's in a twenty gallon tank in the basement. The store my mom got them from said they would take the babies. I was so happy. Pets were my favorite gifts to receive, I hated getting clothes. To me clothes were something you needed not wanted. I rarely got Pets as gifts, I really wanted a puppy most of all. My grandmother gave me a Parakeet and My German shepherd Pal, a few years later.
On my second page I have a picture of my first pair Willy and Nelly.

http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Estates/4185/Journal2.htm

Every time, they had babies I hoped for a new color to be born but they were all brown. Eventually I ended up with 45 gerbils all brown. (agouti) Then a friend of my cousin opened a pet shop and sold all my Gerbils. My mom was complaining I had too many.

Some time after, I began reading about mutations. I read every new book at the library on gerbils. Then one day I was in Newberry's a department store with a pet department, and I saw a Black and a White with red eyes. I thought I had found GOLD; they were the prettiest gerbils I ever saw. I just had to have them. So I bought them without permission. My mom had a little fit but I wanted them so much she let me keep them. After Whitie and Blacky passed on, I had several other colors black pied, argente and lilac. Then I didnít have gerbils for a while. In 1995/6 I asked Marc from parrots of the World if he would take my extra babies. He said yes so I bought gerbils again. Now gerbils come in 45 different colors.

 

 Date: Mon, 07 Nov 2005 20:48:14 -0000
 From: "Kathy" <evans-katherine@sbcglobal.net>

When I was in the 7th grade my science teacher had gerbils breeding as a part of the curriculum.  At the end of the year we were all allowed to get permission to take home a pair each.  Mine were supposed to be both boys, but turned out one was male and the other female.  They were all kept in a large colony in a 50 gallon aquarium made to look like their natural environment.  So we had no idea who was from who.  Mostly because they were all Agouti.  Brought them home and one month later the little one (female named Max) had a litter of babies. Stubby (a male with half a tail) was a proud poppa.  I knew nothing about these first gerbils and so had them in an old bird cage.  WE also had cats.  I am sure you know what happened to my little family :(


My mom felt bad about it so we went to a petstore and got a fat lonely female.  Brought her home with a tank and a screen lid.  Gave her a mac & Cheese box which she did not leave for the next day. . . guess why!  She was fat because she was pregnant!  I named her Roxie; she was my first tux black.  She began my first bout with breeding; I found the AGS a few years later in 98.  When I lost some gerbils to health problems I switched bedding, in 99 I stopped dealing with the AGS as I got too busy working and in 2002 I lost all of my original line but one 3 year old male and 6 4 year old females.  The male died November last year after living with my mom.

 

The girls died 2 years ago in December.  Last December my hubby decided I need a new pet and surprised me with mice.  All of which died of unknown causes.  4 months later I decided I wanted to get gerbils again and started looking, I had forgotten the AGS. Until Dani contacted me that she could adopt to me some breeders and sell me some cages :)

Thanks Dani, my life has been so much better since they came back into
my life :)

Kathy
Kansas City Kenne

Date: Tue, 08 Nov 2005 02:36:13 -0000
From: "Kim" <
kimsgerbils@yahoo.com>

My story as to how I got into gerbils can be found on my tribute page to my first gerbils :)

http://www.geocities.com/kimsgerbils/tribute_page.html

Kim


Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 19:37:36 -0600
From: "Dani <starnightstarsky2000@yahoo.com>

Kathy,
Always happy to help a fellow gerbil lover :) My story is that I just love animals so much and got Linex (a nutmeg) and joined the AGS then came along my first breeding pair Snow White and Prince Charming both spotted Agouti, And have been going on strong since then.
Dani Marshall
Lots Of Love Gerbil Kennel


Date: Mon, 7 Nov 2005 22:02:08 EST
From: clydeani@aol.com

Hi Elaine,
Katie helped out both of us with wonderful little  gerbils. How we got started was just by accident but what a happy accident it  was. We own two mobile home rentals. There was a woman with two pre-teenage daughters that came to rent there, who had a pair of gerbils. This was about the  third litter and all were in this same 10 gallon tank. There was something she  needed us to come look at in the mobile home and I saw the little ones and  fell in love. I knew there had to be to many in there....HOW in the world did  they all not fight, knowing what I know now????? Who knows, but they all seemed  very loving. I asked about them and the lady just gave us the pick of the  litters so we chose a white and black one ... both males. We  named them  Salty and Pepper. We absolutely knew NOTHING about gerbils at all .... never  even knew anyone who had gerbils. The only reason we took males is because I  knew for sure and certain that I didn't want babies and figured they would  probably be very prolific. :-) Anyway, the little guys must have been extremely  hardy because they lived a long life .... Pepper was 31/2 and Salty was 4. We  were so lost when little Salty died so I got on the internet to try and find  gerbils in Arkansas and none was to be found. Yes, some in Petco but not really  knowing anything
but our other boys, I knew these were not so healthy so in the  end I found Katie. The first guys we had were never as loving as our little  ones we've gotten from Katie but they did love for us to come talk to them. The  few times I tried to pick them up they wanted to bite ... and DID.   hahahaha  This made me a wee bit afraid of the new ones but, my goodness  !!! there was sure no reason to be. I pick our girls and boys up ALL the time. I  just love them so much. There has never been as much as them touching me with  their teeth. By the way Katie, they all love meal worms now. I only give them  two a week. I kind of think it's what helped our other boys live so long. Of  course I have no basis for thinking that so, please, no one take my word. Ask  the pros. It's just that they love them and it's wonderful protein and I am very  set on never over-doing the feeding of the meal worms. I buy the very small size meal worms. They are so so cute grabbing the worms and holding them with both their little hands. They are wonderful.
Mary Alice


Date: Tue, 08 Nov 2005 03:14:15 -0000
From: "abcgerbils" <abcgerbils@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: how did you get into gerbils?

My husband went on a business trip and I decided it would be the perfect time to get a new pet for each of my daughters.  At that
time all we had was one dog and two cats, can you believe it! We went to a pet store that had a huge open-topped enclosure full of
gerbils.  They were really friendly. You could put your hand inside and they would climb up your arm. I picked out a "brown" (agouti)
gerbil with a blaze and wide collar for Katie who was only about two at that time.  I picked out the gerbil because it reminded me of our tan and white beagle I had growing up. My older daughter wanted a "gray" one with red eyes (yuck, at the time I thought it looked
like a wild mouse).  No way. So she picked out a nutmeg.  I thought that one looked motley but since I'd already veto-ed the lilac I said sure.  These were Cara and Blossom.  Cara is the gerbil on the box in my front page: and Blossom is the gerbil on the apple in my logo.

I enjoyed playing with the gerbils as much as my kids. We made playgrounds on the landing and raced the gerbils up the stairs. They
were so fun and easy to care for we decided to get a male gerbil. We got him from a petstore in Massachussets so he wouldn't be
related.  We bred him once to each of the girls.  In our first litter (even though it was an agouti and black) we got about five colors including a black eyed white. I was hooked.

We found out there were fancy colors and got a silver nutmeg (Bullet) and a colorpoint slate (Rocky) from Texas. At that time there was nothing like that here in New England, so we started breeding for the rare "cb" and "g" gene.  Later after getting Awesome from Gary we worked on trying to create the mottled.

Guess what? Now my gerbil room is getting filled up with black pups as I'm excited about seeing a sleek jet-black black with not stray
white anywhere.  I also have come to love a show-quality lilac and nutmeg.  I still love the colorpoint slates, probably my favorite
color, and the mottles are always fun (but frustrating as heck trying to get an "awesome" one).

You can see the history of my gerbils on the "My Gerbils" link of ABC Gerbils.  I'm so proud and excited about my current line of
gerbils.  By mixing in Furry Flowers, Black Wolf Clan, and NY Gerbil and more gerbils into my "pet store" lines I'm moving into some
absolutely beautiful gerbils. I still breed for temperament (both gerbil and people friendly) first with the image of little Cara scrambling up my arm as the "norm"; most of my gerbils are placed as pets often with children in the family so they have to be nice, too.

Donna
ABC Gerbils
www.abcgerbils.com


  Date: Tue, 08 Nov 2005 03:46:40 -0000
  From: "dsgerbils" <dsgerbils@yahoo.com>

In the Winter of 2000/Spring of 2001.  I was getting restless for more animals.  I had always had a lot of animals around (mostly cats,
dogs, birds) but was now in a place where I couldn't have anything but the birds.  After owning a couple of parakeets for several months, and a G. piggie for a few weeks I started looking again.  At one pet store, the clerk tried to sell me on the gerbils, they were
interesting, but I wasn't sure about them... Until that day that I went back to the Humane Society and saw these 2 animals leaping back and forth over a center divider in their tank.  They were an Agouti (Chocolate) and Pied Agouti (Hershey).  I used to call them Chocolate  Kisses and Hershey Hugs :)

A year later, Hershey passed (while I was on vacation).  Chocolate was VERY depressed, I contaced a couple of breeders but at that time driving several hours to get them SEEMED insane (amazing how our opinions change :-P.  I instead picked out 3 gerbils from a local pet store.  I took them home and the Apt manager at the time loved animals and helped me name them (Smores was her idea :) I was told (and pet stores lead by SUCH a great example *note: not typing this with a straight face) that all 4 could live together colony style.  I later checked out the internet and found the AGS and Donna's site (which allowed me to assemble the breeders emergency kit just in time - Thank you Donna!) and separated them into 2 pairs.  Each step that I have taken with these adorable little animals has brought me into a world I never new existed and brought me friends I never would have met.  They are loving, giving, little creatures and that will always be what I associate gerbils with.

Michele
Double Star Gerbils

 

Date: Tue, 8 Nov 2005 03:55:16 -0500
From: "Cindy" <mydancingspirit@comcast.net>

I agree with Gary. It has been very interesting and fun to read how everyone first started with their gerbils.

My journey began two years ago this December. My daughter started asking for a Hamster for Christmas. She even picked out two that she really liked at a petstore. Turns out they were two gerbils in a cage under a sign that said male hamsters. I did a lot of research on pocket pets and decided that gerbils were probably the best match for us and they had a longer life span than most hamsters.

I stopped at the petstore that I had visited earlier with my daughter to ask about the two gerbils that my daughter liked. Since I was on my way to work, I asked if I could pay for them and have them hold them for me for 48 hours until I could return. I was very concerned that they would sell one of the gerbils that my daughter wanted. When I did return about 36 hours later the sales person that had helped me said, "We have a problem!!" My heart sank as I figured that they had sold my two gerbils. Well, it turns out that the problem was that one was male and one was female and almost definitely pregnant. I figured that I was not ready to try raising baby gerbils, so they refunded my money on the female gerbil and a friend of mine and I went on a mission to find another male gerbil that looked like the female gerbil in the cage.

We went to several stores before we found our replacement little guy. Since these two little boys were to be a surprise Christmas present for my daughter, my friend kept them at her house for 12 days before Christmas. She emailed me one day and said that she needed something to call the little guys, and had named them Kris and Kringle. I thought that they were great names for these two little gerbils. When my daughter saw them on Christmas morning, she loved their names and that is what they kept.

All of our gerbils have subsequently been named something in the Christmas theme. Currently we have five gerbils, Nicky (St. Nicholas) who is a Burmese and Kringle Jr. who is a Siamese. We traveled over 400 miles each way to purchase these two sweet guys from Cara-lee of the NY Gerbil. We have two doves that we call Tinsel and Mistletoe, and we have a Nutmeg named Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookie otherwise known as Chip.

They are all very inquisitive little critters and so much fun to watch as they create their tunnels and caves and various other artwork as they chew on boxes and tubes. I have family and friends that save the toilet paper and paper towel tubes for our little friends. We joke that they are not allowed into our house unless they come bearing gifts. To make sure that I would have an endless supply of tubes and egg cartons, I actually purchased a huge quantity online of about 200 egg cartons and about 1000 tubes. Because the gerbils receive so many as gifts, I think that my supply will outlast all of my gerbils.

....and that is how we got into gerbils

Cindy and Shannon

 

Date: Tue, 8 Nov 2005 10:50:42 -0500
  From: "Felicity" <felicity30004@hotmail.com>
Subject: Re: how did you get into gerbils?

I got into gerbils by my Nana. I didn't know there was such thing LOL! Well, she asked my Dad if I wanted me to have a gerbil, he said yes right way (for a VERY VERY odd reason, he like NEVER does that!), then he asked me and I said yes, even though I didn't know it was LOL:-p!!   I searched around; my first stop was the AGS gerbil society website.    Learned a LOT! Then I (when I got the gerbil) tried to find a group... looked at MSN Groups first (I love MSN Groups), but I only found a couple, and NEVER posted. Then I looked at search engine. Found one, joined, but the message board didn't let me post! Then, I deleted my membership, then I looked at Yahoo! Groups. Found a LOT but they weren't that good, but I did keep the in mind, but then I saw this group, and I joined and I am still here! Even though I don't have a gerbil anymore, it almost seems like it!

Thank you,
Felicity
My website:
http://www.freewebs.com/felicitysark

 

Date: Tue, 8 Nov 2005 10:40:34 -0800 (PST)
From: Kat <kopykat58@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: Re: how did you get into gerbils?

I suffer from CRD - Crisis Rescue Disorder.  I was working at a pet store and there was this gerbil being beaten up by the others. The rest is history.  That's how I got most of my animals at first.

Kat
http://PurpleKatKritters.tripod.com

Date: Tue, 08 Nov 2005 22:44:20 -0000
  From: "Cathy" <debbysmom2003@yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: how did you get into gerbils?

I first got into gerbils by chance. I'd wanted a cat, but wasn't allowed to have one. When I was in first grade (1968) my father came home from teaching at Penn State with 6 gerbils. They belonged to someone else there who wanted us to gerbil sit while they were on vacation. It was exciting and a little surprising since my father doesn't really care for animals. Their owner gave us 2 of them
as a thank-you gift for watching them. My mother used to let us get a breeding pair once in a while, too, and we kept the babies. We didn't know much about them when we started, but got better as time went on.

I've had gerbils ever since, although they didn't live with me for 2 years when I was away in college. We have 8 of them now, but have had as many as 20 at once.

And my husband agreed to our getting a cat 15 years ago, too.
-Cathy

 

Date: Tue, 08 Nov 2005 23:59:15 -0600

  From: "Tana" <tlrgerbilry@hotmail.com>

Subject: RE: how did you get into gerbils?

 

As a kid, I thought white mice were sooo cute and I begged and begged my parents for one.  My mom did some research and we decided gerbils would be better, even though they weren't white (then).  I really enjoyed having them.  We got a male and female and I hit all my friends up for homes for the pups!  Plus whatever store we got them from took pups from us.  I think they had about 50 pups total before we finally ran out of homes and had to separate Mom and Dad.

 

That pappa gerbil, Whiskers, was really something.  Sweet as can be, except if there were pups then you didn't dare put your hand in there!  Chomp!

 

I remember the mama gerbil, Honey, loved to be held and petted, unusual for a gerbil.  She'd literally fall asleep in my hand being petted, and I could slowly turn her upside down and pet her tummy.  Then she'd wake up and realize she was upside down and get all indignant.  :)

 

Anyway when I got married Mark was working evenings for awhile and I got a bit lonely in the house by myself at night.  Didn't want a big animal, so we picked up some gerbils.  I didn't really seriously get into them though until I found the Gerbil Mailing List, and then later, the AGS was formed.

 

As I learned more and more about them I realized all the mistakes I'd made with them in the past, when nothing but bad books were available:  keeping them alone, inadequate housing, bad bedding ... I felt bad but told myself I did the best I could with what I knew at the time.  Somehow wherever their little souls are now, I think they know that and forgive me my ignorance.

 

Tana and The Little Rascals

www.petgerbils.com

 

Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2005 01:23:35 -0600
  From: michelle <maestrosbrood@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: how did you get into gerbils?

 

Hi.I got involved with gfeerbils over 5 years.I couldn't have pets (dogs or cats) where we lived.When I was little I was very afraid of gerbils.Theyscared
me.Can't imagine that now.Our petshop down the street,for some time only had blacks(wish I'd have grabbed them then,knowing what I have now.)After some time finally there were babies and colors I'd never seen before.I too found Donna's site and the ags.Learned and searched and read everything I could.Now I have 366 and can't imagine ever being without them.

Michelle

Date: Wed, 9 Nov 2005 06:28:54 EST
  From: Artagiel@aol.com
Subject: Re: how did you get into gerbils?

 

How I got into gerbils:
There once was a girl who had a boyfriend named Tom. Tom took her to his friends house every weekend so they could play dungeons and dragons and be big geeks. The house had a secret though, it held more than geeky boys with too much  imagination, it also housed many dirty dishes that she thought were  there from the 70's, a toilet that made you consider going down the street to the gas station instead, a cat named Murphy and many, many gerbils. These gerbils were kept in wire cages piled on top of dirty laundry and in 10 gallon  fish tanks with a few generations of them in mixed sex groups because he was  under the impression that brothers and sisters would not mate. The girl was horrified by the smell and condition of these "dirty rodents" and would avoid going in the room where they lived at all costs (and would hold her need to use  the facilities until she got home!).

 

One day she moved into a new apartment with Tom, having been an animal  lover and owner her whole life she found herself without any! After talking  things over with Tom she started to look for the perfect pet that would fit  within the restraints of their small living space. While searching the web and
thinking up new and interesting reasons to tell Tom they couldn't get a ferret (she is secretly afraid of them!!) she found a great little web page by the name of ABC Gerbils. She was both amused that people actually bred gerbils and horrified after realizing that the little animals piled in Tom's friends house were in fact being grossly neglected and mistreated. After talking to Tom  and his friend they decided to help him a little by taking a pair to their own home as pets, bringing him some nice carefresh to help him clean some cages and  taking a late night trip to Walmart to purchase additional tanks and supplies to  separate some of the groups so they had more room.

 

Badger and Gaz came to live with the girl and Tom, Badger was a lovely  black and white little girl with a feisty personality and Gaz was a hyper  spotted dove, they were given a large wire rat cage to live in as the girl felt  so bad about the conditions they came from. Every day was a new adventure for  the gerbils, Tom and the girl until one day when she went to clean the  cage for the first time and Badger needed coaxing out of the nest which was very unlike her, being the first time having the cage cleaned the girl thought it was just  nerves. She took the girls out and placed them in a cleaning carrier and brought  the cage to the kitchen trash bucket. She started by pulling the toys and treats  out and was ready to dump the bedding in the rubbish when something made her put  her hand in the nest to make sure there were no hidden toys. No toys were found  but there WAS a very startling surprise which made her leap back and squeak at  first thinking the little pink wriggling things in there were worms before  common sense came back and made her realize that she was now a grandma! Badger  and Gaz were both ladies but as Tom's friend was badly misinformed of the birds  and bees nature of rodents Badger had been "with gerbil" when the girl had  picked her out and brought her home! After frantically emailing Donna from ABC  gerbils and being reassured that although they were inbred they would not have 6  heads and had a chance of living a normal gerbily life she was able to settle  down and enjoy the experience of raising them.

 

Shortly after that the rescues started to trickle in.

 

A few years later 40 or so gerbils bigger with a small breeding  program and after having done some much needed rescue rehabilitations and  emergency vet visits and seen some very nice successful re homes and adoptions  by well informed and responsible people, Tom the girl and the herd of critters  couldn't be happier. It just goes to show you the right information and help  from a compassionate person (like Donna!!) can change your outlook on an animal:).....now if only Tom would get over his fear of rats!!!


Haley

gdl

Created on 08 November 2005, Stories are the property of the American Gerbil Society.