I guess you could call my family animal lovers. I'm always talking about our three cats, Meadow, Benjamin and Phineas; our cockatiel, Scout; and our hermit crabs Legs and King. Well now I would like to introduce you guys to the latest addition to the Austin household: Bandit, our special needs hamster.

Bandit was dropped off at a local pet store and when my daughter, Chloe, saw this sweet hamster, of course she fell in love. She named him Bandit and brought him home. Bandit's special all right, but special needs he isn't. Oh, he only has three legs, but that doesn't seem to concern Bandit. He gets along, as we can tell, just fine.

The pet store didn't know if Bandit was born without the leg, or he lost it in a tragic cat accident (if you know what I mean). Bandit came with a house, food and water bowl, a place to sleep and an exercise wheel.

Now Bandit uses his exercise wheel, but not in the conventional way. Nope, our little Bandit has his own special way. He makes the exercise wheel go around from the outside, instead of getting in the wheel and running.

My family loves the fact that Bandit seems to think "out of the box." he isn't concerned with "fitting in" so to speak, and that fits perfect (or no-so-perfect) in our family. Welcome Bandit!

Animals bring so much joy into our lives and they love without strings. If that sounds great to you, consider adopting a pet from "Pets Fur People", formerly the Humane Society of East Texas, a no-kill, selective admissions shelter in Smith County.