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Diatribe: The American Gerbil Society?


gerbil-geneva-1304-255Over the years I’ve seen or participated in many animal-focused competitions including official American Kennel Club dog shows and Cat Fanciers Association competitions, and I’ve spent countless hours in the audience at various equine events and fairs, and I believe that I understand the motivation behind those who enter and display their animals.

In fact, several years ago I crossed “Enter a Horse Show” off of my Bucket List.  I thought my horse, who is of a notable bloodline, was a beautiful representation of his breed and when I was offered an opportunity to compete in a small, local show, I agreed to participate.  I worked for weeks to get my horse ready, brushing and grooming and working to be ready for the big day.  I worried about what I would wear and which halter would look the best in the judges’ eyes.  When the big day finally arrived, I loaded my horse into our trailer excitedly set out to live my dream.

It’s never occurred to me that others feel the same excitement about gerbils … but they do.  This weekend, gerbil enthusiasts and breeders from around the country gathered at the American Gerbil Society’s annual New England Gerbil Show in Bedford, Massachusetts to vie for the coveted title of “top gerbil”.  The annual competition includes agility demonstrations in which the gerbils must overcome obstacles and race to the end of a course.  Much like other “best of breed” competitions, breeders of these small animals vie for coveted ribbons based on their animals’ body type as well as agility.

“A male gerbil should be a good, strong, hefty-looking gerbil.  If you are going to think of it in human terms, you might think of a football players – somebody who’s big, thick neck, nice, strong-looking male gerbil.” – Libby Hanna, President of the American Gerbil Society who also serves as a judge.

An ideal female gerbil will have a more streamlined appearance that even humans covet, she said.

“She would be strong and athletic-looking – not really scrawny, but slim.  I usually use a figure skater as my mental image or gymnasts – so obviously a gymnast is not necessarily a big, big woman, but she’s gonna be strong, muscular and athletic.” – Libby Hanna

The little rodents are pets like any other and those who keep and care for them do so for many of the same reasons as dog, cat or horse owners.  I suppose that, because the laws of supply and demand are always at work, there’s a demand for the American Gerbil Society.  But the whole concept seems rather silly to me.

I won a Fifth Place ribbon in my one and only horse show.  A teenager and three eighth-grade girls finished ahead of me … right before a judge accidentally released my horse, allowing it to run through the unsuspecting crowd.  It was an afternoon that I’ll never forget.

Of course, I might never forget a gerbil show either.

Would you go to a gerbil show?


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From → Diatribes

  1. And Richard Gere is not just the president, he’s a member, too.
    Sorry, had to go “there”. =)


  2. Bob, you are a very bad man. That is funny. I think I will pass on the gerbil show. Kudos on the horse show placing. BTG


  3. No, I would not go. To me, gerbils are too close to mice or rats. But then I don’t agree with people who acquire animals simply to show them. I think it’s cruel to the animal. Animals are meant to be loved not simply shown for prizes & accolades.


    • Anonymous permalink

      You wrong benze. The gerbils are first and foremost pets then show gerbils. The show is no cruel. Please check the various youtube videos on gerbils. I think you would change your mind. Every gerbil is loved by its owner.


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