Stop. Hamster time!

This is the story of how a hamster taught me a valuable lesson about life.

Here is the hamster in question.


His name is Nibbles, and he’s our family pet. He is better known as Nibs, but will also answer to Nib Nib, Nibby or even Nibby Nibby Nib Nib.

You know when Nibs is awake because you can usually hear one of us calling “Niiiiiiiiiibs” in a silly pet voice. One of the grown-ups usually. The children are much more sensible

I’ll have to cover Nibs’s ears for a moment because I have a shocking confession to make. I didn’t want a hamster, or any kind of pet for that matter. Not right now.

I love animals. I just didn’t want another responsibility; another thing to worry about or care for; another thing to become emotionally attached to.

My daughter had been quietly but steadily campaigning for a pet for a while, and my wife and I had always said “Not yet,” but there came a turning point.

One night at Brownies, another Brownie brought in her hamster to show the girls. He was easy to look after, she said, and a lovely pet. Somehow or other, my wife had a kind of enlightening Road to Damascus moment and became converted to the hamster cause on the walk home from Brownies, and joined the hamster recruitment campaign.

She was far more persistent and persuasive than my daughter and did her research thoroughly. A hamster would be easy to care for, inexpensive, a good starter pet… I started to receive texts and emails throughout the next day, saying, quite simply, “Hamster”.

In the end, I conceded defeat, and we went on a family outing to the pet shop. We saw two hamsters, but Nibs was immediately the one for us. My little boy named him Nibbles, we loaded up the car with a hamster house, bedding, food and various forms of hamstery entertainment, then took him home.

Needless to say, I am the one who’s become soppiest about Nibbles. He’s such a cute little chap – surprisingly good fun and full of character. He and I have some kind of father-hamster bond. He looks for me to let him out of his cage for a stroke, a whiz around in his ball, a treat or just the chance to try and escape. I love him and won’t try to deny it.

What he’s taught me is this – there is always a teensy bit more room in your life for pleasure; for new things to enjoy and look forward to.

He’s also reminded me of an important lesson from my counselling for depression.  There’s no point fearing the worst and worrying about things that might never happen. Yes, Nibs is another thing to care about, but the added pleasure he’s brought to us all far outweighs that.



11 Comments on “Stop. Hamster time!”

  1. Paul Winkler says:

    Pets can be valuable in handling depression. They help one get out of oneself again, by their total dependence. And they pay back with enjoyable antics. Good blog, Paul!

  2. Star says:

    Hamsters are amazing little critters for those dealing with depression. I suggested we get one when my partner was struggling through a very dark time. We ended up with two Russian Dwarfs who lived together until the end. Just sitting watching them or giving them a treat really helped and I’m glad your hammie has helped you too. Great blog x

  3. Elaine says:

    I live in a “no pets” building. When my mom died, my co-workers gave me a Petsmart gift card with instructions to get a hamster to replace the one that had died during my mother’s illness. There were days when the only reason I kept going were those two beady little eyes wanting just a little food, a little water, or a little love. Animals, any size, is filled with love.

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