Following in her brother’s footsteps, M has been working hard to save money to buy a pet hamster.  After some extra work she did on Saturday, she finally reached her financial goal.  I took her to the pet store, and she picked out a hamster to bring home and call her very own.

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When M witnessed JR get his cockatiels, she got excited.  She decided she wanted a hamster.  At age 7, she was trying to save, but was occasionally tempted to make a spur-of-the-moment purchase.  I periodically reminded her what she was saving for and explained how unplanned purchases would delay her goal.  Other times, I let her blow it and set herself back.  Something clicked for her about a month ago, though.  I think she finally saw that she had ALMOST enough saved, so she hit the chores hard.  The girl has been a workaholic around here lately, doing all kinds of things to earn those last few dollars.  When she had almost enough, I sat down with her and introduced her to price-comparing and researching quality.  We found a hamster cage she liked, some food, and some other odds and ends, and bought it off the internet (it saved her about $15 over the local store prices).  I also bought her a book about hamsters to read while she finished saving the remainder for the hamster itself.

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It was almost surreal standing in that store with my little girl Sunday evening.  I showed her the hamsters she had to choose from, and she started spouting off all sorts of facts. “These prices are pretty good, because my book says hamsters sell for $x much.”  “I don’t think I want this type of hamster, because they are nocturnal, but these types over here aren’t, so I think I would like them more.”  Thankfully, she didn’t repeat publicly what she had told her dad previously, “I decided I want a female, because male hamsters have testicles the size of their heads, and I just don’t think I want to hold a male as much as a female!”  Such innocence on her part, but I think she totally made her dad blush!  The girl knows far more about hamsters, and JR knows a lot more about cockatiels than I ever dreamed they would learn from those books.  I cannot express to you how much I love seeing this.

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Now that they have both taken the steps of pet purchase and ownership, S and I are here to guide them, help when asked, and support as needed.  The birds and hamster are solely their responsibility though.  We have discussed at length that we will not take care of these animals.  If a cage door is left open and the animals escape, or a water dish is not refilled or feed is forgotten and the animals die, as much as I would hate to see that, we believe it will be a critical life lesson.  So far, though, things are looking good.  M has stayed pretty busy taming her new hamster, bringing it treats, and trying to make it friendly.  It seems to be working, which results in one very proud little girl!

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