When Daniel Veerman daughter, Stephanie, left for college, he inherited a lovable hamster named Chester.
"I've always had German Shepherds and at first I thought he was just some rodent," the Wilmington, Massachusetts-based litigator told TODAY Parents. But Veerman, who is single, grew attached and found himself splurging on toys and treats for his new roommate.
“I’m an empty-nester now,” Veerman explained. “I don’t have a lot to take care of, and I almost screwed up the one thing I have.”
What Veerman is referring to, of course, is Chester's great escape.
On Sunday, while Veerman was cleaning the cage, Chester made a run for it. "I put Chester in this ball he likes to roll around in, and when I came back, he was gone," Veerman said. "He'd somehow opened the top of the ball."
As Veerman crawled around the house on his hands and knees with a flashlight, all he could think was, “How am I going to explain this to Stephanie?”
Luckily, the 19-year-old took the news in stride and posted their hilarious text exchange on Twitter to “prove how truly pure my father is.”
During the now-viral back-and-forth, Veerman called Chester’s escape an “emergency” and his “biggest screwup ever.”
“If I can’t find him today, I’m not going to work tomorrow so I can keep looking,” Veerman wrote, to which Stephanie responded, “Dad — he’s a hamster. I don’t blame you at ALL. You shouldn’t skip work. You are a lawyer and he is a hamster.”
Veerman even sprinkled flour on the floor to track Chester’s footsteps.
“I googled ‘How to find a hamster’ and some dude said to put flour down to see if he’s been in the area,” Veerman revealed. “I also set food traps and rubbed peanut butter, his favorite food, all over my office.”
After 12 agonizing hours, Veerman was reunited with Chester. Veerman found him hiding behind a book about Richard Nixon.
Veerman is pretty certain he’ll forever be known as “hamster dad,” but he doesn’t mind.
As he told TODAY Parents: “It’s a pretty funny story.”