So the spouse agreed. Sugars it is. I searched all over the internet, looking for breeders around our area. I posted an ad on Craigslist looking for rescues. I mean, I was all over the damn place. All the while, continuing to research and soak in as much information as I could. Every day I was all over it. I mean, I was already obsessed with sugars that I didn’t even have. I also read a lot about the often times poor condition that these babies are kept in by people who fall victim to PPP and other mills that promote impulse buys. Of course, everything I learned I shared with my partner after he came home from work each day. I was trying my best NOT to be impulsive and manic, which I can be prone to sometimes. I wanted a firm understanding of what all was involved to ensure that my future sugars would be healthy and happy. I also ended up getting hooked on a youtube show called Awake All Night……………..(wait for it)………..The Sugar Glider Show. Here’s the first ep, if you’re interested. It’s quite informative.
My darling spouse seemed pretty excited by this new plan as well. One night after work, he asked me if I would like to go to Pendergrass (a massive flea market) the next day. Just to LOOK at the sugar gliders. Maybe hold one. You know…see them in person and decide 100% for sure if they were right for us. I already knew that the permanent booth at Pendergrass was run by Gliders-R-Us…another mill…ugh. But, he had a fair point. We should probably handle one or two, just to make absolutely sure. “Alright, we can go. But JUST TO LOOK!”
In the meantime, plans were already in the works of creating a custom cage for them, made completely out of safe materials. No icky rusting wire, no toxic flaking paint…all sugar safe stuff. I picked out some awesome fleece to make furniture and toys with, we sketched out a layout for a PVC and mesh “mini-mansion”, and started collecting everything we would eventually need. It was all very exciting.
The next morning we got up bright and early (well…early for us. About noon-ish) and drove to Pendergrass. I was literally doing this half-bounce-half-salsa in my seat the whole way. We were going to look at the babies! Even though it was just to look, I was totally stoked about the concept of actually holding one of these adorable little creatures. I know, I’m such a girl.
After what seemed like forever, we arrived. A couple quick stops at the vintage video game booths (of course), we made our way to the Gliders-R-Us booth. (Actually, I think it’s called Rabbit-Tat-Tat. They deal mostly in bunnies.) First thing I saw was a MASSIVE orange lop. But as I looked around…no gliders. My heart sank. Where were they? Did they not have them anymore? Would I ever get to experience these darling babies?
Then I saw her. The most wonderful standard grey, perched atop the shoulder of one of the sales ladies, with a little green leash around her neck. (That pissed me off a little.) Quite literally bright eyed and bushy tailed, my sweet Lucca was staring back at me.
“Repeat your mantra: We’re just looking, we’re just looking, we’re just looking…”
“Excuse me? Is that the only glider you have?”
“Nope! We have a bunch of them. Want to see them?”
The lady pulled back a fleece curtain that I hadn’t even noticed in the corner. There, stacked one on top of the other, were three cages, each with a water bottle, a bowl of pellets, and a hanging pouch. One after the other, the lady opened each cage door and turned the pouched inside out, spilling dozens of sugar gliders into their floors.
I was horrified. Mystified. Enraged. In love. All at the same time. I don’t know how I managed to hold myself together. But I immediately turned to her and asked for the glider that was sitting on her shoulder. She said sure, and plucked her off, handing her to me.
Lucca nibbled my finger softly, then crawled to the inside of my elbow and curled up immediately. I had no problems petting her, and she didn’t crab once. After a couple minutes I handed her off to my partner, and she did the same with him. I could see his eyes light up as Lucca began to lick the crease of his elbow…then before I could stop myself…
“Is this one a girl? Do you have any more girls?”
“Yeah, she’s a girl. Our other girls are here.”
The lady picked up a random girl from a random cage, slapped a leash on her, and tossed her into my cupped hands.
“Oh God. What was that mantra again? Shit shit shit!”
Ayla just sat there, gazing up at me. And that’s when I melted completely. I didn’t even realize what I was doing until it was done.
~ Tails: long and bushy? Yup.
~ Eyes clear and ears perked up? Check and check.
~ Cracked fur? Uhh…nope, doesn’t seem like it.
~ All fingers/toes accounted for? “Honey, check that’s one’s feet and tell me how many toes she has…all of them? K.”
~ Are they muddy looking? Ehhh…this one looks a little on the cinnamon side, but it’s not TOO bad…
“How much for both of them?”
“They’re $300 a piece.”
“Well…I could give them both to you for 350, I guess. Leashed are included, but you might want to get a carrying bag to take them home.”
“Yeah, we won’t be needing the leashes.”
“You sure? We usually give leashes to all our new owners.”
“No. No leashes.”
I turned around and snatched up the first bonding pouch I saw. Checked it for loose threads, and slipped Ayla inside. My partner followed suit, popping Lucca in so that he could dig out his wallet…
Part of me feels guilty. I bought from a mill breeder. I KNEW they were mill bred before I even set foot in the place. I knew they were not a reputable company. I knew there was a chance that I was buying sickly babies.
But the bigger part of me looked into their eyes and just knew there was no way I was leaving without them. It’s not their fault that they’re mill bred. And it was guaranteed that whether they were in good condition or not, their lives were going to vastly improve with us. While I fear scorn from the glider community, I do not regret my decision. They may not have technically been rescues, but I just saved these little angels.
And that is how we went “just to look”, and came home with two beautiful new babies.
Now…what to do with them?