This started with a very special Chinese Dwarf Hamster which we named Shelby (picture on right). She was around $20.00 but we had to get all of the rodent accessories so we left the store down almost $90.00. It was some of the best money we ever spent. She was my little companion and would sit in my shirt pocket every night for hours. She loved treats of any kind. One of her favorites was ham.
When Shelby was around 3 years old she developed a growth in her mouth so we took her to Crestwood Animal Hospital. Dr. Gregory is an amazing small animal veternarian with a huge heart. She cut the growth out and sent us home with antibiotics and medications which took care of the problem for a while. It was cancer though and came back. We opted to have her put to sleep since she could not eat and had no quality of life at this point and it was a very hard decision.
They really took care of her and also considered our feelings the whole time. They even sent us a Christmas tree ornament with her name and paw prints on it so we will always remember our little girl.
We took a small break from rodents for awhile, but did some research in the meantime on the different kinds and how they are different from each other. We decided we wanted to try gerbils, so for Fathers Day we got our first 4 gerbils, Lilly, Ash, Jerri and Squirt.
Michelle decided she wanted a rat after she read all she could on them. I was surprised and thought that was a strange pet but a happy wife makes a happy life. We found 2 hooded fancy rats at a store and brought them home around Christmas. They are Merry and Holly and are very happy with us now. We then found a free rat on Craigslist that came with a cage so we decided to look into it.
He was our first rescue and he came from a house that was rat friendly but they had their own and this guy was just dropped with them. He needed a lot of work. I still would not reach in his cage and grab him but he will sit in my lap happily for hours. Please see the rescue page for more on this if you are curious. We named him "The Dude" and he loves to take papers and stuff into his cage for a bed. Video of this may be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndCe6I5V2dY
We decided we wanted to breed gerbils because we love them so much. They are really great to watch and play with and more entertaining than television.
We did the research and joined the American Gerbil Society so we could be well educated before we took on this responsibility. We learned that breeding will not make any money. It is a 2 year commitment since you do not want to separate a couple once they have bonded. We did the math and realized we could end up with 72 gerbils per year but we were ready for this and accepted it willingly. On our first litter from Jack and Jill we lost 3 babies. They got respiratory problems and even with vet care, again from Crestwood Animal Hospital they did not make it. So we also learned how heartbreaking it can be.
We saw a notification on Facebook from the AGS group about a gerbil rescue that needed help. We did not even know there was a rescue for rodents at that point but we decided we have the space and ability to help out so we offered to help. We drove to North East Pennsylvania to pick up 10 gerbils. As you can imagine this is not a money making business but we are glad we are able to help out. We also ended up with 4 bunnies we needed to transport back to KY for a rabbit rescue so we are flexible. On the trip home Michelle decided she wanted to do a rescue since we did not know there were so many small critters in need but we love them all.
From that point we were working to get organized and to this day we are not finished. We have been fosters, rescuers, sanctuary, and family to many rodents. We do not plan to stop until we are no longer able to provide proper care. Our goal is to adopt out all eligible rodents to caring homes and to make the best choices for the rodents well being. We understand reptiles need to eat and we respect this. We do not, however, provide feeders for anyone. We invest too much time, money, and emotion into these little critters to have them meet an early end. To this point there will be a "non feeder" fee for each rodent placed which will make it inexpensive enough to own a furry friend but too expensive to use our rodents as feeders.
We also have 7 dogs and a fish that are part of our family. We are true animal lovers and have been through many different types of pets in our lives.