My daughter got a pet. It’s my kind of pet. It’s really my kind of pet.

It has batteries.

Have you heard of these Zhu Zhu pet hamsters? She got one for her birthday. Her name’s “Peachy.” She’s, of course, peach, soft to the touch, and when you press her little shiny nose, she gurgles and squeaks like a newborn. Awww…

Her battery operated body has heft, so she doesn’t feel cheap and flimsy. She scuttles around, pivots, and coos all with the greatest of ease. And the best part? No smell!

No shavings. No pellet food. No expensive cage. No number one in a clear plastic ball. No number two in my hands.

A real pet purest would demand a heartbeat to apply the word “pet” to a new beloved furry member of the family, but we’re renters and warm furry heartbeats are strictly forbidden in our lease. So a Zhu Zhu pet it is!

Actually, the best idea I ever heard of for keeping a real, live, pee on your new blouse hamster, was a pet co-op. Five families go in together on the expense of buying a hamster plus all the food and toys, then rotate the adorable fur ball between the five families on a weekly basis. Genius.

I just know my kids would pay their undying devotion to a nibbling, warm-blooded mammal for about… a week. Then it would become my job until I had had enough, opened my screen door and said resolutely. “Please leave.” (By the way, that is a true story from my own mother.)

But if after a week we could pass it off like a baton and let the novelty build all over again for a good month? Perfect.

But I think my seven year old is handling the responsibility of a new “pet” beautifully. She’s made Peachy a cozy nest in a wicker basket. She keeps her in a safe place when she leaves for school. She knows how to change her batteries.

Yes, I think my screen door will stay closed for this one.

Margaret Anderson is a BYU graduate, returned missionary and the mother of four small children. You can read more on her blog at