When my sister came to visit me at uni the other weekend, I took her to Pets At Home, just because we were bored and wanted to look at the animals. Let me make it clear, at the point of entering the shop, I didn’t even know what a gerbil was. As you can probably guess, I then ended up exiting the shop with a gerbil, £60 poorer.
My sister, Immy took a liking to this particular little fur ball. To the right of him, there was a poster that said,
Hello, my name is Giuseppe.
I am up for adoption because my previous owner can no longer look after me. I really want to find a new home because I’ve been in this store for quite a while now.
Apparently, I am a sucker for this shit, because all it took was: approval from my flatmates, minimal persuasion from my sister, a quick read of How to Care For a Gerbil, a quick check of my bank account, and bam, he was adopted. I had become a mother. My landlord absolutely does not allow pets in our uni house, but he’ll never know.
I realise it’s not very Responsible Adult of me to do it this spontaneously – but because I am a ridiculous animal lover, it’s ok for me because I know I will stick by him all of his life. I will not abandon him unlike the silly noodle that put him up for adoption because she was ‘going abroad’.
That night, at around 2:46 AM, my baby was shuffling around in his saw dust to get the perfect position in his bed. He woke me up twice doing this. I lay there, staring at my cob-webby ceiling, thinking, what the fuck have I done.
The next day, I made the (wrong) assumption that gerbils are similar to rabbits. Rabbits eat grapes. Gerbils must love grapes, right? I had a fresh pack of Sainsbury’s seedless grapes in the fridge. I googled if it was ok just in case. This is what I found –
So yeah, almost killed him less than 24 hours after ticking a box on a Pets At Home iPad, next to, ‘I agree to keep my pet safe at all times and cause it no intended harm.’
But it’s not all, fuck fuck fuck and oh, fuck. He does have his cute moments. Every time he picks up his food, my heart melts a little because he holds his piece of sweet corn or whatever in his tiny little hands, and munches on it, very similar to how we pick up a wad of Oreos and nibble them. Before he starts eating though, he likes to take his food from the upstairs bit, transport it to his bed, downstairs, then eats it there. When he’s done, he goes back upstairs for his next bit of dried orange and repeats the process.
What’s even more entertaining to watch is when I give him cardboard from empty loo rolls, he attacks them without fail every time. He cannot sleep until the whole thing is mutilated. So next time you finish a loo roll after a huge dump, hit me up. It’s because they have a natural instinct to chew all the time, to keep their growing teeth at a healthy size.
I haven’t actually formally introduced him yet, how rude of me. His name is King George Giuseppe Tait the 7th. He is a King because he’s mine and I want him to be. He’s the 7th because according to google, there have been 6 King George’s previously in the British monarchy. His first name is George because that’s the male version of my name, and he vibes off that. Giuseppe is his middle name because that’s what the Pets At Home gals called him whilst they looked after him. And Tait, because he’s family, obviously.
His back legs are the size of…well, my motivation to run a marathon to be honest (stupidly tiny), but I’m convinced he could run a marathon faster than me and still have the energy after, to destroy the whole of Tesco’s nationwide toilet roll supply. So the secret to running long distances is actually to have tiny legs, right??
According to Google, he drums his back legs sometimes because there’s a menace approaching. The surprisingly loud noise of his legs warns other gerbils (or maybe just me, there’s no other gerbils). The only ‘menace’ that was approaching during these weird moments though, was my mother. Sorry Alison, you’re just not a gerbil whisperer like me.
And finally, if you haven’t been spoon fed enough reasons to love my new baby boy, you’ll love this one. He’s partially blind, so he’ll run full speed and then bump into my leg. It’s quite funny to watch. He probably gets concussed on the daily, but he’s okay – he’s a KING.
In conclusion, I am completely shooketh at how attached I have now become to a little fur ball. They live for an average of four years – he’s just over a year old. I’m already panicking about the fact that he’s not immortal and I likely only have about three years left with my son. But for now, I’m just gonna enjoy the daily heart-warming moments I get with him.