She bites coworkers and takes their lunches, but she’s the most popular public works employee in Bristol.
Someone dumped Gizmo the hamster in the freezing cold earlier this year, but city workers came to the rescue. And now she’s a star.
She starts her day early with a snack. Then she’s up making her rounds in her exercise ball and checking on coworkers. There’s no place she won’t go.
“She is a maniac now that she knows that she’s fine here and she knows everybody,” said Bristol DPW Analyst Lindsey Rivers.
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But it was a very different story back in March of this year when Bristol DPW found Gizmo dumped on the side of the road with bulk pickup. She was burrowed in the top of her cage.
“They went to take the cage like any normal day. They thought it was just an empty cage, and they took her and went to throw her in the back of our garbage truck. And they realized there was an animal in there,” said Rivers. “She was just trying to keep herself warm. It was between 0 and 15 degrees for four days straight. We don’t know how long she was out there for.”
Rivers says the homeowner where the bulk pickup was said they didn’t own the hamster and didn’t dump it. Rivers says people add to bulk pickup, so the cage and hamster could have been dumped at any point by anyone.
“Her water bottle was frozen, so she didn’t have any water. And her eyes were frozen shut,” said Rivers.
DPW workers warmed up the small, thin hamster, and Gizmo went from being all alone to becoming part of the DPW family. Rivers is her main handler.
“She hates when we wake her up. You always have to have her favorite food because if you wake her up and have nothing, she’s going to bite you,” said Rivers.
Gizmo may have put on some pandemic pounds this year, but she’s always hungry for more and never shares her apple.
In her short time at Bristol public works, she’s earned the coveted Employee of the Month parking spot, and she works hard for it. She handles heavy equipment around the office like a pro, is a star with her very own Facebook page, and is a spokesperson for DPW.
“She is our new mascot for our recycle program,” said Rivers.
And perhaps most importantly, she provides laughs during those tough days. They don’t know who abandoned Gizmo in the cold, but they’re glad she’s with them now. Because there’s no job she can’t do.
“Definitely the most popular. The most underpaid. But we do give her a lot of treats,” said Rivers.
Rivers asks everyone to be aware of abandoned boxes or cages on the side of the road because you never know if an animal is inside.
Gizmo also has an Amazon wish list on her Facebook page. Rivers says Gizmo could always use bedding and food, including peanuts and sunflower seeds.