Amongst the many rodents around the school, one is special. Chubs Maloy has lived in Mr. Albert Marino’s math classroom since August 2017 – well, most of the time anyway. He’s been known to escape his enclosure and disappear for days at a time.
“Mr. Ward offered [me] a hamster cage over the Summer and I jumped on the idea,” Mr. Marino said. “I thought a classroom pet would be fun, healthy, improve the mood of the students, and just be a joyful thing for everyone. Once the hamster cage came in I realized it wasn’t fun unless I had a hamster with it. I looked on craigslist, I found a used hamster for free, and I got him.”
The students have grown to appreciate Chubs even more than Mr. Marino imagined. Students can handle Chubs during class, and take him home for the weekends.
“Some people have an attachment to chubs as their son,” Haley McDowell (9) said. “The first times Chubs disappeared everyone was scared, they were afraid that Chubs went and was eaten by something. They thought that something in the vents had come down and taken Chubs and eaten him. Everyone was so sad.”
Chubs was soon returned to his cage mysteriously. He has escaped two times since then to make a nest by the window.
“He might have escaped more times and just figured out how to tighten the screw on his little donut there,” Mr. Marino said. “He is very crafty. He has opposable thumbs, unlike most rodents, and the capacity to problem solve.”
Chubs has been through many adventures. Mr. Marino bought Chubs a squirrel harness with purple fairy wings for 15 dollars on amazon, and put it on him during class.
“Unfortunately, even though the squirrel fairy wings said they would be small enough to fit a hamster, they were not,” Mr. Marino said. “He was not a big fan, he did not enjoy the process of having a harness put on him. Once it was on him, he didn’t know that he was being taken for walks and kind of just did his own thing. We would try to drag him this way or that way, and he just really didn’t, he didn’t budge. He didn’t understand the concept.”