Posts Tagged ‘gerbils’

CareFRESH Blog!

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

I am SO excited about my newest writing project!  I have been working with CareFRESH for a little over a year, and the team decided to start a blog on the website.  I love it!

Lavender CareFRESH bedding complimented Fuzzy and Wuzzy’s gorgeous skin the best of all the colors…

With this project, I will be less able to just go with my random kicks, and need to focus on themes and schedules and such much more than I do here on Riley and James, which, honestly, will be very good for me!

I am fairly disciplined, but (I have only ever told Russ this, and just very recently…) a large part of my discipline is extrinsic.  For example, I love having a made bed every morning, but if FLYLady did not tell me to make my bed, I probably would not!  I love being a veterinarian, but if I had not had the structure of veterinary school, I would not have learned all that I have.

And I love writing about environmental enrichment of <hamsters>, but if I were not led to write about it, I probably would not!

I will write somewhat shorter posts than what I normally write here, focus on small pets – rats, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, mice, rabbits and ferrets – and send the team every single picture I have of Fuzzy, Wuzzy, Princess and Piggy!  Feel free to send cute pictures of your Warm Fuzzies too!

Wuzzy in her Classroom in a Box

I will let you know where on the CareFRESH website the blog is as soon as I know.  It will probably attract a similar crowd to the Ask-a-Vet part of the CareFRESH website (kids and adults who are in love with small pets – two of my very favorite subsets of humanity!)  It will be an interactive blog, which will be very fun.  I hope you will come join me as often as you can!

For now, will you help me come up with topics? Do you have questions that would be best answered in a longer post than the Q & A of Ask-a-Vet?  Are there things about your own favorite small pet species that you think everyone should know, but may not yet?  THIS is going to be fun, people! :)

Princess Gerbil



Princess Gerbil

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Princess was the fifth of our five pets to pass away this past year.  I feel as though she has had to wait in a long cosmic line to be mourned (not that she even knows or would care – I assume she is dancing in heaven, eating sunflower seeds and such) as I am still processing the passing of the other pets.

No one died young, and none of the deaths were related.  We just had some pretty old pets (except Ebony Dog, who was only nine – I feel as though someone owes me five years of Ebony Dog time, which, of course, is not true.  Still…)  Four of the five pets who passed away were our rodents (Piggy, Princess, Fuzzy and Wuzzy), which, though they were all different ages (except Fuzzy and Wuzzy), were all very old as Small Fuzzies go.

That is all depressing background, to catch you up if you did not know and to explain my late memorial to Princess if you did know and were thinking “Hey!  Do not forget the goofy gerbil!”  Anyways, this is a HAPPY post, because she was a happy gerbil, and very silly.  I do not want you to miss out on “knowing” her!

Long Live Your Pet

Princess Gerbil

We adopted Princess Gerbil for our oldest daughter Amanda for Christmas 2007. I had always had friendly rodents as pets, so I scooped her right up to clean her home the first week we had her, without my usual veterinary guard up.  (Pet rodents at home are usually relaxed and very sweet.  Pet rodents at the veterinarian with a tummy ache or some other ailment can be super crabby and often blame me for their pain!  So I am careful to avoid the bitey parts.)  Anyways, I scooped Princess up and she chomped my hand hard!

When I came back from bandaging my hand (It was a pretty bad bite), I explained to her that she had hurt my feelings and I was only trying to clean her home.  She explained (I mean, I figured out, over the next several weeks) that being in a new place is scary and she did not know me yet and she was startled.  Also, she did not really like being held or pet.

Over the next several years, Princess and I developed a very close relationship – on her terms.   I cleaned her home in a less scary way, made sure she had snacks and toys, and kept the distance that she was comfortable with.  Just because I like snuggly pets does not mean Princess had to be one, and when I let her be herself, we became good friends.

When Princess was three years old, I taught her to ring a bell for a treat.  It was very cute when she would notice me in the room, hit her mouse-shaped toy bell and come to the door for a bit of seed or cracker.

She was the star subject of a very silly twitter conversation started by @FixItFish about gerbils wearing pants when they dance.  She was the star model for an article I wrote for, Long Live Your Pet.  (I mentioned her dancing in the article as an expression of my appreciation for @FixItFish‘s silliness.)

For over three years, Princess was a constant, cute, fun member of our little living room rodent corner.  She was the last to go.  I still have not donated her home and mousie bell to Nebraska Humane Society or gotten rid of her treats.  I am not quite ready to let her and the rodent corner go completely, but telling you about her helps.

Rest in Peace Princess Gerbil

2007 – 2011

We loved you just as you were with all your quirks and silliness, and we sure miss having you around.

Blogathon 2010 – Hamster Tips (and Costumes)

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Talking about turtles was fun!  Yes, I am loopy-tired.  Maybe that is a good state to be in when I need fun topics to post!

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 On that note…


When a hamster comes in with a crying kid, it can throw your whole day off.  Well, no more!

How to weigh a hamster, gerbil, mouse, rat, budgie or anole (I am sure I forgot someone, but one of these two ways should work with almost all of the small guys.)

(1)  If the patient may dart off or fly away, weigh them in a small paper bag with the top folded over.

(2)  If the patient promises to behave and stay put, weigh them in a doggy dish.

How to handle a hamster:

Do not wake him up!  Hamsters are not morning people!  If he is awake, quickly pick him up by his scruff.  You will need to grab a much larger amount of skin than you would expect.  You will not hurt him, but you may anger him!  So make sure to apologize and give him a treat when you are done.

How to make a bunny costume for a hamster without angering him: Draw bunny ears and whiskers on your hand with a Sharpie.  Pick the hamster up in a loose fist.  Take a picture because he will look even cuter than he does when he is NOT in costume.  I love this “tip” almost more than I love the turtle weighing tip.  *Safety note:  This works best with happy hamsters.

How to handle a gerbil: Stop or steady him by grabbing the base of his tail (but do not pick him up by the tail).  Place a hand under him and scoop him up.

How to handle a rat: Pick him up under the armpits and then steady his bottom (exactly like you would pick up a very small, very strange looking baby)  Rats do not need excess restraint, as they are usually quite agreeable to whatever you need to do.  I have only ever met one crabby rat, and I suspect he was actually just feeling sick, not actually crabby in Real Life.

Baby Fuzzy and Baby Wuzzy playing in the Lincon Log house my daughters made for them – they loved it!

How to handle a mousie: Pick him up by the base of the tail (This is one of the few little guys whose weight can be supported this way-but just for the few seconds it takes to nab him.)  Place him on your sleeve for the examination while continuing to hold the base of the tail.

How to handle a bird: When you are learning how to restrain a bird, start with the smaller birds who cannot chomp you as hard.  The technique is the same for all of them though!  Once you are comfortable with budgies, move on to macaws!

Examining and working with birds is ALWAYS a two person job!  Have the bird on a finger or your arm, with your thumb gently holding their four front toes down.  With a light towel in your hand, gently place your thumb and forefinger of your other hand in a ring around his neck from the dorsal side.  The palm of the same hand will be over his back.  Close your hand around his back and wings, being careful not to compress the chest.  Slowly turn him upside down.  Everyone is now in a position to safely examine and work with the bird.

Easy for me to say!  Actually the best way to learn how to restrain a bird is to make sure one of the two people involved is experienced at avian restraint.  Restraining birds has been like a skill chain through Omaha veterinary teams until all of us who want to work with birds are now able to safely hold them!  I even have trained teams at Montessori Children’s Room and Lakeside Retirement VIllage, so whenever I go see their cockatiels, I have plenty of helpers!  (Thanks Mom and Mom-Karen!)

Pedro, The Lakeside Village Cockatiel


Clicking here will bring you to the webpage with information about Bradyn and an opportunity to donate towards the training of his service dog from 4 Paws for Ability. ♥