They are defiantly considered a friend and family member by me. I talk more to pets than I do to people most of the time, as there is no worry of any sort of let down with a cute tiny fluff ball.
I agree with the 'never work with children' quote but I think working with animals is brilliant! I've always tried to get some interesting photos of my hammies and even though they hardly stop moving when you get a great shot its so worth it! Ive also been explored on flickr for one of Scamp. :)
Here are a couple of my hamster army past and present -
I also had a gorgeous tan and white smooth haired Syrian called baby bear who unfortunately passed away after only a fortnight of living with me due to breathing complications :(
This group of beauties are better friends than any person could ever be! Just wait until I win the lottery and buy my farm! :D