Growing up, I loved having pet rodents, particularly rats. They’re completely underrated as pets, in my opinion, as they’re trainable, affectionate, clean, and so tiny!
My sister always preferred hamsters to rats, so we had both in the house – along with the occasional shrew or gopher the cat dragged in that we were determined to rescue.
Despite my love of rodents, I would’ve never considered bringing an exotic rodent home as a pet. Say, a prairie dog, for example.
The thought didn’t always cross Sarah Deluca’s mind either, until she saw a prairie dog for sale in an exotic pet store in Pensacola, Florida in early 2021.
According to SWNS, the 27-year-old tutor from Gainsville, Florida, knew she wanted to bring the prairie dog home as soon as she saw him. So, that’s exactly what she did!
Sarah named the two-month-old rodent Doug and became determined to give him the best life possible.
According to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo & Conservation Biology Institue, black-tailed prairie dogs like Doug typically weigh between two and three pounds and are naturally found on the Great Plains east of the Rocky Mountains from Saskatchewan to Sonora and Chihuahua in Mexico.
While prairie dogs are generally thought of as being wild animals, the VCA Animal Hospital claims they’re becoming more popular as pets. The hospital noted, “They are active, playful, and sturdy rodents and can make fairly affectionate pets.”
However, it’s important to note that prairie dogs are demanding pets and aren’t a great choice for most families as they can become difficult, nippy, and aggressive, according to the VCA Animal Hospital.
Thankfully for Sarah, Doug has been a great pet so far. Not only does he free-roam her apartment, but he joins her on travels across the country!
Doug has explored beaches, lakes, and parks in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, New York, and Vermont. He’s even been on an airplane!
Sarah shares photos of Doug and his adventures on Instagram and he quickly gained thousands of followers.
Check out the video below:
You can keep up with Doug on Instagram, @prairie.doug.
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