Chino, CA—Leading the rest of the family, local bicycle mechanic Todd Bronson sang Happy Birthday to his pet hamster last Thursday for the 27th time.
The hamster, Pepperoni, which Bronson named after his favorite pizza topping when he was 5, was given a treat shaped like a birthday cake to celebrate. Bronson, the youngest of his four siblings, says he was happy to have the privilege to choose the name.
“He’s such a pillar of the family,” Bronson told the Post, “Even as I’ve gotten older and changed, he’s been the constant. Well, except for his coat. He molts every few years and gets a new coat pattern, like any hamster, but he’s always there when you need him.”
His parents and one of his older sisters were present for the occasion. They each declined to comment.
“It’s neat, though. After he molts he always gets a little confused, and acts like he doesn’t know me for a little while. But soon enough he’s back to the old Pepperoni!”
Bronson moved out of the house during college, but moved back in seven years later following grad school, and has lived there ever since.
“It was a tough time, being away from Pepperoni during college. He molted twice during that time. I’ve still never gotten to see him actually do it, but I’m sure it’s really cool. Hopefully one of these days I’ll get to see it in person. Sometimes he actually shrinks a little bit afterward. Must have molted off a lot of fur, haha!”
Bronson’s older sister reportedly rolled her eyes and left the room after this statement. Pepperoni finished his birthday treat and headed over to his hamster wheel. He mounted it and started running while Bronson, smiling, gave him his full attention.
“You go, little buddy,” Bronson whispered. “You keep on a-runnin’.”