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Thursday, April 17, 2008
Logistics of Going to a Gerbil Show

By Donna Anastasi
Donna raises and shows gerbils and is a certified AGS judge. Share in her gerbil show experiences.

Click image to enlarge
gerbils playing
These gerbils acheive top show condition by running the wheel, fluffing in a dust bath and gnawing on cardboard. 
gerbils sitting in bowl
Images Courtesy Donna Anastasi

The UPS man must wonder what’s up. Every day or so another box appears on my doorstep. If only he knew the contents he’d shake his head bemusedly. No live gerbils of course (that would be a federal offense!) but all sorts of gerbil supplies.

In the month before the show there is not only a flurry of packages, but the first wave of activities. In addition to work meetings and grocery items, my appointment book lists the gerbil show to-dos. For anyone intrigued by the concept of a gerbil show, it is not too late at this point to participate.

Gerbil Show Checklist - One Month Prior

1. Join the American Gerbil Society and make sure your membership is active and current. As part of your membership you get to select a kennel name such as: Double Star, Lots of Love, Shawsheen River Gerbils, Cheesel’s Burrow or Parade Gerbils, to name a few. And, you are assigned a kennel number. My kennel name in ABC Gerbils and number is NH005.

2. Register the gerbils you want to show. Any gerbil can be registered, even one from a pet store. If known, provide the breeder name/number, registration number and genetics of the gerbil’s parents. Gerbils often have a “show name”, for example Parade’s Calico Flower in addition to a call name, such as Ceecee.

3. Register your gerbils for the show. Fill out the online form on the show site stating gerbil’s color, gender, age, and its registration number, such as NH005-090.

4. And finally, in the month before the show, all kennels go into quarantine. This means no small animals or birds come to stay or even visit a show-going kennel. If problems occur during the quarantine such as an outbreak of mites (annoying little parasites) or an unexplained death, then the gerbils must skip this year’s show.

Even for those who are not-yet gerbil moms or dads and are adopting at the show, now is the time to complete steps 1 to 3 to compete their new babies in the juvenile class of the next show.

Fortunately for me, the Nashua, N.H. show on May 16 and 17 is only a short distance from me. I’ll still stay in the hotel though so as not to miss planned and impromptu events, as well as socializing about and with gerbils late into the night. Other people are packing up their gerbils and driving hundreds or more than a thousand miles to attend. These hearty gerbil show go-ers have on their checklists finding ride partners, mapping out the route, reserving a stopover at a pet-friendly hotel, and puzzle piecing numerous travel cages and supplies with Tetris-like precision between, beneath, and sometimes upon the passengers of their vehicle. Tricks of the trade are many and include, for one, flipping water bottles upside down in the metal guards while on the road so they don’t drip. Fortunately, gerbils love a road trip. As long as they travel with their companion gerbils and have a hiding box, food, bedding, a little cardboard, a secondary water source (like a carrot) and access to the occasional drink (of water bottled from home), they pursue their normal gerbil activities, only at 65 mph.

Got to go, now. I still have five unregistered gerbils and the show secretary just sent me another e-mail reminder, still friendly at this point, to sign up my 12 show entries ASAP. Besides, the UPS man is at the door.

For more info on showing gerbils visit the AGS website.

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