Our 2 Year Old Hurt A Gerbil At The Pet Store. Help!!!
(Syracuse, NY )
We just purchased a puppy at our local pet store and we brought her back in 2 weeks later to get her some more toys. We are a multi pet home - 3 cats and now a puppy and previously ferrets.
While we were there our 2 year old daughter became very interested in the gerbils that were in an open cage, just far enough out of her reach that she couldn't reach the Gerbils even standing on her tippy toes. There were other children around the Gerbil cage who were petting and handling the Gerbils.
A ferret was being held by an adult at the gerbil cage and one of the pet store workers was demonstrating some techniques on how to handle the Ferret. I was paying attention to the instructions of the pet store workers demonstration and my daughter did as well.
No longer than a minute later my daughter some how had a gerbil in her hands. She had the gerbil in one hand, her hand was around its body with its cute head poking through her pointer finger and thumb.
As soon as I saw this I put her hand back over the cage and asked her to put the Gerbil back into it's cage. When I asked this she began to squeeze the Gerbil hard, we think in defiance. I asked her several times to let go of the Gerbil as I tried to gently pry her fingers from her firm grasp around the Gerbil so I didn't hurt the gerbil in the process.
As I did this she squeezed the Gerbil harder, Within a minute I was able to get the Gerbil free but it had sustained an injury, I took our daughter out of the pet store and immediately told her what she had just did was wrong and that she now had hurt an animal.
My wife and I were mortified. My wife stayed back with our puppy to buy the toys we got since we abruptly had to leave, A pet store worker told my wife that because of our daughter squeezing the Gerbil it had a dislocated eye that was bulging out and was in a state of shock, not moving and standing still.
She obviously hurt the Gerbil, we don't think it was intentional but none the less this action had very real consequences. We talked with her and now we are going to have her make a card to the pet store to say she is sorry for what she did.
Other than this does anybody have any advice on how to make her more sensitive to small animals and how to better handle them when and if she does come across the same situation again. Or should we be paying closer attention for other issues that could come of this? We hope to get insightful and helpful advice on how to deal with this.
We thank you in advance.