Our second son decided a few years back that hamsters - Russian Dwarf hamsters to be precise - were his alter ego. There wasn't much mileage in coveting a polar bear, and despite several years collecting the fake cuddly kind he moved on to hamsters. With some trepidation we gave in three years ago and bought him a hamster, and it has been one of the best decisions we have ever made.
Each little furry friend has brought out the best in H, helped him more in terms of emotional and social development than any person has. I even started writing a book "Even hamsters do PE" for children on the Autism Spectrum (and yes, that is copyrighted lol) after being totally amazed at the success our little furry friend has in persuading H to join in PE lessons. After all, hamsters climb and swing all day long, don't they?