From Chicken Soup for the Child's Soul


Never neglect the little things. Never skimp on that extra effort, that additional few minutes . . . that delivery of the very best that you can do.

Og Mandino

It was bedtime for me and my new hamster, Munchy, so I picked him up, walked to my nanny’s room and shut the gate on his cage . . . or so I thought. I gave my nanny and my parents good-night kisses, and then went to my room, laid my head on the pillow, and fell into a deep sleep.

The next day at school, I couldn’t wait to tell my friends about my new pet hamster. I bragged about the little ball of orange and white fur that was waiting for me at home. I told the same story of how I had named him Munchy because of the funny and cute way he munched on his food. “He’s the cutest thing! He’s so small!” I told everyone who would listen. I bragged and bragged like a CD player stuck on repeat.

My best friend, Melanie, and I made plans for her to come over soon to play with him. Finally, three o’clock came around, and it was time for my dad to pick me up and drop me off at home. I was so excited to see my favorite new friend again.

“Hi, Mami. Hi, Eva,” I said as I walked in and put my stuff on the kitchen table. But my mother and nanny, Eva, just stared back at me. They looked like they were about to ride a roller coaster—like they were nervous, but wanted to pretend they were excited, so they painted on a smile.

“Was Munchy good today?” I asked them, guessing that something wasn’t right.

“Well, we wanted to talk to you about that,” my mom responded.

“Uh-oh, what happened?” I asked, sort of afraid of hearing the answer.

“Last night, Eva felt something crawl up her bed and around her neck. She picked it up and threw it across the room without thinking. And Munchy is not in his cage. Are you sure you closed it last night?”

“Ummm . . . yes?” I answered with a question.

“Well, it seems that you didn’t close the cage properly because Munchy is missing. That wasn’t very responsible of you. You’ll need to learn to be more responsible if you’re going to take care of Munchy. We don’t know if he got hurt when Eva threw him. We’ve looked and looked all day and haven’t found him anywhere.”

I stood there feeling very worried and guilty.

“Now you know why it’s important to make sure you do what we ask and listen to us, right?”

“Yes, Mami,” I said.

“Okay. Now why don’t you go look for him? Maybe you’ll have more luck than us.”

I looked and looked the rest of the day and never found him. I looked in my room, Eva’s room, the bathroom, the kitchen, upstairs and downstairs, but I saw no sign of him. We didn’t find him the next day either. I felt terrible because I knew it was my fault. From the day that Munchy went missing, I promised myself that I would always try to be as careful and responsible as I could.

One day, I came home from school, and my mom was getting ready to vacuum. She went into the closet, opened the door, and guess who was staring up at her? A cute little orange and white ball of fur, that’s who. Munchy was alive and perfectly unharmed! I was so happy to see my friend again and to know that he was okay.

From then on, I made sure that the cage door was always closed before I put him away, and Munchy has never been lost again.

Lloret Pelayo

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