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What Happened When I Brought My Hamster To School

January 4th, 2022 marked the start of the second semester of my senior year. More importantly, it marked my final term as Talon staff writer, and I’ve gotta make it count. I’m taking this opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream and answer a question we’ve all pondered: what would happen if I brought my hamster […]

January 4th, 2022 marked the start of the second semester of my senior year. More importantly, it marked my final term as Talon staff writer, and I’ve gotta make it count.

I’m taking this opportunity to fulfill a childhood dream and answer a question we’ve all pondered: what would happen if I brought my hamster to school?

It all started on a simple Thursday in the bustling Talon Newsroom. Mr. Dave Anderson was looking for examples of hard-hitting questions. 

“What if I brought my hamster to school?” 

I was joking at first, but the wheels start to turn. When Mr. Anderson asked if I was serious, I gave him a tentative “yes?” 

Do I have a hamster? No.

Has my mom explicitly told me on numerous occasions that I’m not allowed to get a hamster? Yes. 

Suddenly determined, I got on the phone with the Petco on Folsom Boulevard to talk business. After a few minutes on hold, I was hung up on for asking what hamster the employee would recommend for a beginner. They aren’t ready for the tough questions, I guess.

Luckily, the guy stayed on the line for Patrick Cahill (‘22), and it turns out that hamsters cost around $20-25 

Tamed, happy, and healthy. What more could you want in life.

Per my dad’s suggestion, I decided to go the Craigslist route in the hopes that the hamster be more domesticated. Who would’ve known that hamster breeders exist? On a Saturday, I found a listing and shot over an email.

Hello!

I am interested in purchasing one of your Syrian Hamsters listed on Craigslist. My phone number is [redacted]. Feel free to give me a call, text, or email so we can negotiate further details. 

Margaret

I get a text a few minutes later and the hamster dealer tells me the drop off location is an Elk Grove AutoZone parking lot. It was about 7 PM at this point. I’d rather not end up on a missing poster, so we decided to meet Sunday afternoon.

The hamster plug ended up ghosting me on Sunday, but I finally got a hold of him and we rescheduled for Monday at 3:30.

Monday, 2:21 PM: I get the following text:

“I will get the hamster ready…”

Great.

I’m aware that it looks like I am squishing him. He was very squirmy.

The nanosecond the bell rang at 3:05, I was sprinting down the hall like a freshman late to class so I could beat the parking lot gridlock.

I would like to point out that I did NOT participate alone in a hamster transaction with a strange man in an AutoZone parking lot. My noble companion Elisa Cornejo (‘22) was my backup in case things got hairy — she took Self Defense last semester.

We arrived at the AutoZone and approached the white van (yes it really was a white van) that housed my dear hamster. It was a quick exchange: one crisp $20 bill for one tan Syrian hamster in a Costco blueberry muffin container with a hole cut in the top.

I put Squidward in his brand new travel cage and buckled him in the front seat.

After a little bit of a bumpy ride, Squiddy made it to his new crib at my house and settled in. He got some cardio in on his new wheel and dutifully wokes me up at 2:00 AM because it turns out that hamsters are nocturnal.

I made him listen to Amy Winehouse on the way home.

Now that I secured the little guy, it was time to look at the logistics of bringing him to school. Command+F in the Parent/Student Handbook for “hamster” turned up no matches.

I dug a little deeper and it turns out “No dogs or other pets are allowed on campus at any time.”

So yes, I am breaking the rules. But I feel like it’s justified in the name of journalism. Why ask for permission when you could ask for forgiveness? Worst case scenario, I get Saturday detention, and I’ve already gotten into Sac State, so my college career is somewhat safe.

I decided to smuggle Squidward in on Thursday, January 20th. My master plan involved a small travel cage and a tote bag to conceal him.

I’ll admit — I was not confident in this scheme at all. I woke up very nervous at 6:00 AM on Thursday. There’s a lot on the line, but I couldn’t let the people down. So I decided to be brave.

Shoutout Olivia Cepeda (‘22) for taking this great candid.

Squid started his day differentiating equations in AP Calc. Mrs. Kelly Safford reluctantly called him cute, so things are going great.

He got some love during break from Russell Foster (‘22), Jackson Schlink (‘22), and Peter Ghelfi (‘22).

”He’s so soft!” they said.

Next up is Talon, and Squidward got some time out of his cage. Taylor Paton (‘22) and Amelia Figueroa (‘23) attempted to get the harness I bought on him, but they were not successful.

#Hater

Taylor had some Talon business to take care of with Assistant Dean of School Safety and Security Mr. Matthew Taylor-Viruet, and the hamster and I tagged along to meet the man, the myth, the legend. He accused me of bringing my ”rat” to school, which is just inaccurate and rude.

In C set, Squid attempted to solve the mystery of suffering and death with Mr. Chris Symkowick-Rose and ended the day in AP Gov with Mr. Vincent Leporini. Lep was a little apprehensive, but he accepted Squid in room 404, making sure to apply his presence to American Government.

I kept the caged beast in the shelf thing under my desk so he wasn’t a distraction.

Much to her annoyance, my mom, Mrs. Maureen Wanket was bombarded with students asking her thoughts on Squidward. Someone even drew a portrait on her whiteboard.

Shoutout whoever drew this in Room 206, contact me for credit.

”It’s not my hamster! I didn’t even want it!” she screeched.

Don’t be fooled, she pretends to hate him but comes into my room every day asking if he’s awake.

Squidward and I had a great day. Although I was initially scared that he wouldn’t be welcome, CB truly proved that we are an inclusive community that transcends species. His presence brought people together in curiosity and love for small furry things.

He has left a lasting impact, every day I get asked how he’s doing, and I make sure to keep the people updated on my SnapChat story. Senior year is about pushing boundaries — Squidward helped me do that.

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