1. Peppy was a friendly gerbil who got left all alone in the back of the pet store because he was born blind.
His eyes never opened, but otherwise he was just like any other gerbil.
2. Luckily for Peppy, a customer found him and decided to give him a home.
3. In his new environment, Peppy used his other senses to theorize about the world around him.
His paws and whiskers told him when he was about to reach a wall or a cliff, and he almost always stopped just in time.
4. But Peppy was a friendly and sociable gerbil, and he needed companionship.
5. Soon Peppy was introduced to another disabled gerbil, named Chilly.
Chilly and his brothers were born without feet—either that or they were disfigured by a stressed-out mother. They couldn’t jump as high, but they got around just fine.
6. Finally Peppy had a friend to groom…
7. …and a cuddly sleeping companion.
8. Then one of Chilly’s brothers, Little Rowdy, came to join the group.
9. Little Rowdy fit in right away.
10. The three gerbils all shared a love of sleeping.
11. And Peppy made a super comfy pillow…
12. …with room for two.
13. The trio spent many happy (and sleepy) months together.
So, so sleepy.
14. Peppy was strong and healthy, and even though they were all the same age, he outlived both of his friends.
15. But he wasn’t alone for long. Soon he found a new best friend: Conrad.
Conrad wasn’t used to living with other gerbils, but eventually Peppy’s amiable personality won him over.
16. Peppy’s favorite pastime was hanging out in a box while Conrad chewed on it.
Peppy started losing his hearing, so he developed a habit of standing annoyingly close to his friends to find out what they were doing.
17. And Conrad learned to tolerate Peppy getting in the way.
18. One day Peppy and Conrad met a new neighbor: Nemo.
Peppy got along with everyone, but Conrad and Nemo needed some time to get to know each other. The mesh barricade gave them a safe way to interact.
19. Peppy and Nemo bonded right away.
When they feel comfortable enough to sleep in the same nest, that’s how you know they’re friends for life.
20. Eventually all three gerbils became pals.
Peppy got older and skinnier, and less suitable as a pillow for his friends, but he did his best.
21. When Peppy got old and lost his teeth, he got to eat delicious slurry every morning with his BFF Nemo.
(Not pictured: Conrad the slurry stealer.)
22. Peppy lived to a ripe old age surrounded by his friends, just like he always wanted.
We would do well to live by Peppy’s lifelong motto: Always remember the importance of friends.