This Dad Was Babysitting His Daughter’s Hamster When It Escapes – And His Panic Knows No Bounds

Image Credit: Pixabay

When I was in elementary school, my best friend trusted me to babysit her goldfish while she and her family went out of town.

It died.

My parents, in their infinite wisdom, decided to replace the fish with one that looked similar. It worked okay, but it was just a fish – losing something larger or more unique would surely have caused more nail-biting in our house.

Which is exactly what happened to Daniel Veerman after he took over care of his daughter Stephanie’s hamster, Chester, after she returned for her sophomore year of college.

One night he called her crying. She was at work and ran into the bathroom, terrified something terrible had happened.

“Blubbering,” Stephanie told Buzzfeed News. “He couldn’t get out sentences. My parents are divorced and my dad is a single dad, and he’s the opposite of what you would think seeing him in this situation. He’s conservative, Catholic, a lawyer, and usually strict, but when it comes to animals and babies, he has the biggest soft spot.”

No one had died – at least not yet – but Chester had disappeared.

Image Credit: Twitter

It was surprising because the hamster’s personality was typically chill, leaning more toward lounging and snacks as opposed to making mad dashes for freedom.

Daniel told Buzzfeed that even though he tried to act calm, that was pretty far from his actual reaction when he realized Chester had escaped his little rolling ball.

Image Credit: Twitter

“I had a meltdown. I was having a freaking heart attack.”

He hadn’t been too keen on Chester when the little guy had joined his household. But between the day-to-day interaction and the fact that he’d been caring for Chester on behalf of his daughter, a bond was forged.

The two of them had gotten into a routine of spending time together in the evenings: they watched football together, and Daniel let Chester get “exercise” in his little ball at least once a week.

Image Credit: Twitter

That’s where he was when he escaped and began some of the most stressful hours of poor Daniel’s life. He searched for an hour before placing that frantic, emergency call to his daughter.

“She told me it would be OK, but I knew she was saying that just to make me feel better.”

He kept looking all day, sending Stephanie updates and lamenting his poor hamster-caring skills.

“This is the absolute worst ever. I’m never going to forgive myself if he doesn’t come back. if I can’t find him today I’m not going to work tomorrow so I can keep looking.”

Image Credit: Twitter

Steph reminded him that Chester is just a hamster and that Daniel has an important job as a lawyer, so maybe he should just keep all of that in mind.

Daniel wasn’t deterred, though, and went online for suggestions on how to lure Chester back to his cage.

He left toys and treats around the house, left our water and food, and scattered flour on the floor so he would see footprints, and smeared peanut butter “all over the place,” hoping to tempt the rodent out into the light.

Hamsters are nocturnal, and just after nightfall, Chester made an appearance. Daniel grabbed him, putting an end to the twelve-hour ordeal.

“I’m an empty-nester now, and rather than having my kids around all the time to take care of, Chester is the substitute. I transferred a lot of parenting to the animal. I felt like I was taking care of my daughter, so when he disappeared, I panicked.”

Image Credit: Twitter

Image Credit: Twitter

Daniel and Steph are both relieved to have him back, and Daniel has gone out of his way to gather gifts to make Chester feel loved on Christmas.

“I went to Petco and cleaned the place out. He’s going to look like Santa Claus just in time for Christmas.”

Love between humans and animals can be so totally awesome – as can the love between a parent and child – and this story just reminds us all how special those bonds can be.

Cherish them every day!