"You shouldn't skip work," his daughter Steph replied, "you are a lawyer and he is a hamster"

By Diane J. Cho
December 03, 2019 04:57 PM
Courtesy Stephanie Veerman

Daniel Veerman fought back tears as he called his daughter Steph Veerman to let her know that he had lost her pet hamster.

“Blubbering,” the 19-year-old Emmanuel College sophomore told BuzzFeed News of her father, 53. “He couldn’t get out sentences.”

Daniel, a single dad, was tasked with taking care of Chester the hamster after the pet had gotten “evicted” from his ex-wife’s home. After about a month or two of watching him, Daniel began to grow close to his new furry friend.

Courtesy Stephanie Veerman

“At first, I wasn’t too keen on him,” Daniel told the outlet. “I grew up with German shepherds. I’ve never had, you know, when I first got it, it was like a mouse. It wouldn’t be my first choice of pet. But then I got attached. And even more because you’re taking care of it for your daughter.”

Once he realized Chester had gone missing one Sunday afternoon, the father of two went in full panic mode.

“I had a meltdown,” said Daniel. “I was having a freaking heart attack.”

While Daniel was cleaning Chester’s cage, a routine the two partake in every Sunday, the Massachusetts dad realized his furry friend had escaped from the clear ball he stays in while his cage gets cleaned. Once it set in that Chester had disappeared, Daniel experienced the most stressful 12 hours of his life.

Courtesy Stephanie Veerman

“It was a nightmare,” he recalled. “I was calling him, screaming his name, thinking maybe he knows his name. I was looking with a high-powered flashlight.”

Daniel had called his daughter to tell her about the “emergency,” and kept her in the loop via text as he continued his hunt.

“Please call me [as] soon as you get this it’s an emergency,” he texted Steph, who took screenshots of her dad’s texts, which later went viral on Twitter.

“Dad do not freak out it’s just a hamster!! we will find him,” she responded.

“If I can’t find him today I’m not going to work tomorrow so I can keep looking,” he continued.

“Dad- he’s just a hamster i don’t blame you at ALL,” Steph wrote.

“You shouldn’t skip work you are a lawyer and he is a hamster,” she added.

Determined to find Chester, Daniel went as far as scattering flour on his floor, along with peanut butter and treats, to see if he could detect Chester’s footprints if the creature decided to come out of hiding. Then, he waited until it got dark, only to find that his efforts had finally paid off.

Courtesy Stephanie Veerman

“Right after nightfall, I saw him run across the floor and said, ‘Thank god,’” said Daniel. “I came back and saw him standing on a book, cleaning himself, and I grabbed him.”

Chester was found “next to a book about President Nixon,” Daniel promptly told his daughter.

“I’m just thankful to God. Prayed all day,” he texted, including a photo of Chester back in his cage. “He’s safe now. Good lord. I was a mess. This little bastard destroyed me today.”