Having a classroom pet can add a few extra tasks to your day, but for the most part the students are able to help. In fact, one of our room jobs is to be the zookeeper who gets to feed Pebbles at the end of the day. It's always the first job to get picked and I can promise you no one forgets to do their job when it's their turn as the zookeeper. Several students also make saying good morning to Pebbles one of their first stops during our morning unpacking routine.
Sometimes class pets also teach us the hard lessons of life. I still remember the day we lost our first class pet, Meeko. He was also a dwarf hamster, and he was the friendliest little guy. I'd take him out each morning and he'd crawl around my desk while I prepared the room for the day. One morning he didn't come out to greet his favorite student, and I later found him curled up in the corner of the cage. We had a burial, said our goodbyes, and wrote poems in his honor. For some of the students, it was the first time they had experienced losing a pet.
Just as there are sad memories though, there are also the funny ones. Our second class pet, Greta, was quite the handful. After Meeko, I tried a Roborovski dwarf hamster. I had read that they were a little more active and playful. After looking at them in person, the man at the pet store convinced me to give one a try. Never again!! Greta was definitely more playful... and way too fast to hold. She quickly became a "look at" only class pet.
I guess she decided that wasn't the life she wanted because she managed to escape one night. That little booger climbed up and out the ceiling of cage by squeezing between bar gaps skinnier than a pencil. I'm still not quite sure how she reached them. Again, it was a student who discovered she was missing. We had a small rodent problem at the time so I was just sure we'd find her in a trap if she hadn't managed to escape through the vents. The students made "missing" signs and we had announcements made over the morning intercom. Two short days later the night janitor found her sitting in the corner of our room under the computer table. That little rascal put up quite the chase, but he caught her. We heavily reinforced her cage after that. Needless to say, when it was time to pick out Pebbles I went back to the Campbell's variety. =)
Do you have a class pet? If so, you should link up with us. I'd love to hear about it!