Our sweet, five-year-old gerbil, Chip, is very close to going OT(tiny)RB — he’s in sad shape. Only the fact that he’s such a stubborn fighter is keeping me from taking him to our vet to help him “move on”. He’s paralyzed in one back leg and he seems to be blind but he’s still dragging himself around eating, drinking and filing down his teeth so I’d say he’s not quite ready. Maybe he wants to set a world record of longest living gerbil? OK, so maybe he’s not very close to that bridge just yet.
When we adopted Chip we also brought home his brother Dale (I have mentioned we are BIG Disney fans, right?). Dale, unfortunately, did not live very long. There has always been a bit of foul-play suspicion on Chip’s part, the paw points his way. Chip would push his brother away from the food dish and water bottle and he was always vying for all of the human attention. It also seemed like Dale was sometimes trying to hide from his brother. Just about a week after their adoption, I found poor Dale dead and brother Chip in the other side of their house consoling himself with a big pile of food. He never seemed to mourn his brother’s passing.
When viewing the crime scene, it was apparent that Dale had just exited a tube that adjoined one section of their house to another. It looked as if Dale just dropped to his death as soon as he stepped out of said tube, albeit quite suspiciously. Although there were no signs of physical trauma and absolutely no proof to “charge” Chip with gerbil-slaughter, we decided we would not attempt any further roommate introductions. (Yes, I watch a LOT of crime-investigation TV shows!)
Other than the small (very small) murder suspicion, Chip is a very funny, sweet guy — he loves to entertain. When he was healthy and moved around better one of the ways he would perform for his audience was by running at phenomenal speeds on his wheel (I always meant to borrow a speed gun from one of our law enforcement neighbors to see just how fast he was moving). I’d swear he would lose his footing on purpose and spin inside his wheel just to get a laugh from his audience.
Chip’s house is safely kept in the Kid’s bedroom with the door shut, protected from the torturous Tiger, Tomas and Seymour. A few years ago we had to replace the broken door knob on the bedroom door which meant the door would be open wide for all to enter. I sat in front of the gerbil and rat houses, standing guard against feline predators while the repairs were performed. In walks Seymour, investigating the room he so rarely enters but losing focus when he catches a whiff of the tiny occupants. The rats quickly hide in one of their little boxes but Chip walks right up to the glass of his house not the least bit frightened of the giant cat. I curiously watched the interaction but stayed vigilant to a speedy removal of this “killer” cat.
I could not believe what I saw next; Chip began to tease Seymour! Chip ran right up to Seymour’s face (the glass between them, of course) and watched the silly cat go wild trying to capture his prey but then Chip ran to the corner, into his little wooden house and peeked around the door to watch the cat do the “where did he go?” scramble! After about a minute of watching Seymour literally squirm, he then ran back up to the glass and let the cat go wild and salivate, running back to his little house to start the torture again.
These hilarious antics went on for several minutes — my tiny gerbil was getting his jollies picking on the big, mean cat! Only then did I notice the rats were watching the crazy scene from their hiding spot, looking like they were viewing the best comedy of the year. I guess there is justice for little guys after all.