A Critter Mother's Day Winner
Announcing the winner of the 2011 Critter Mother's Day contest.  

Mother's day contest - contest winner SPARKLES the Gerbil
I was asked to babysit a friends gerbil for 3 months during their relocation to another state. During that same time my husband was out of town on an extended trip and having had no children or siblings during my life and my Mom had just passed away. I was understandably lonely. I had always had pets as a child and had recently had to give up my longtime pet cat in another city to a neighbor since I had gotten married and moved to another state where I could not take him. I felt guilty and alone without a friendly whisker to take care of. So... I welcomed the little critter and his cage into my kitchen and low and behold... when he came to take him back I realized I actually missed the once irritating sound of his wheel in the night and his eager bright little eyes each morning. I knew I had Gerbil fever and after surfing the web looking up anything on Gerbils I accidentally found the smallanimalchannel.com! I looked up pictures on the site and found a wealth of information as well as personal stories, blogs and testimonies as to what a great pets they were.

The very next day after my neighbor took his children's Gerbil back I ran down to the local pet store to check out everything I could about this curious and entertaining species. It was love at first sight and I arrived home with a furry ball of fluff, an aquarium, and a custom made take home gerbil kit. My husband was in for a quite a surprise as he knew I had been pet sitting but wasn't sure exactly what! He was surprised all right! And, after the initial shock wore off he was as endeared by this little guys antics and curiosity. We are both retired (making us officially the oldest parents of a gerbil!) and I used to work in the jewelry industry so naturally everything I loved sparkled! This gerbil had a sparkling personality and so we aptly called him Sparkles. (Sparky for short).

On Mother's day I realized that instead of losing my Mother and mourning her loss I in fact had become a mother myself to a little Gerbil and, while not exactly human, we haven't told HIM that! I got to celebrate Mothers Day with my OWN little baby! I couldn't ask for a better companion and pet or a better timing in life. I truly recommend this type of pet for retiree's like us. They are clean, amusing, intelligent and live a reasonably long enough life for someone who is elderly. I am now referred to as the Little Old Gerbil Lady at the local pet store ad they always comment what a spoiled pet I must have. "Of course!" I reply, He's my one and only child!" I wish more was said on the small animal channel about the joys and benefits of the elderly owning a small animal like Sparkles. He lets our inner sparkle out and not a day goes b that he doesn't make us laugh and THAT will keep you young!

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