Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Hamster Rescue Organizations
Catya is a judge with the California Hamster Association. She shares her experiences in hamster ownership from a high school student's perspective.
Catya (middle) met some of the people behind Wee Companions rescue while at the recent California Hamster Association show.
Photos Courtesy Catya
Some of the rescue hamsters that competed in the hamster show won!
Hello, everyone! Two weekends ago, the California Hamster Association had a hamster show. I’ve written before about how awesome hamster shows are — they’re a great place to meet other hamster owners and learn about hamster showing and breeding. But this time, I want to talk about some special people who sometimes come to hamster shows — hamster rescuers.
At our last show, we were lucky enough to have some people from Wee Companions rescue. Like most rescue organizations, they don’t cover just hamsters. They also adopt out rats, guinea pigs, mice, chinchillas and whatever small animals come their way. Having organizations like Wee Companions is crucial, because while there are a lot of groups dedicated to rescuing dogs or cats (sometimes a group is devoted to rescuing just one breed), there are relatively few hamster rescue groups.
Maybe this is because some people have the notion of hamsters being a “disposable” pet. True, it’s often cheaper to buy a new hamster than it is to take a sick one to the veterinarian, but they are living creatures who deserve love and care. For some owners, when a hamster is hard to tame or becomes “boring,” they don’t want to solve the problems themselves, they just want to get rid of the hamster. Rescues will take the returned hamsters from the pet stores or shelters and try to place them in loving homes.
Another reason that there are so many rescue hamsters and so few hamster rescue organizations is that, being rodents, hamsters are master breeders. It’s not always easy to tell which hamsters are boys and which are girls, so accidental births happen all the time. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say, “I had a boy hamster, and then he had babies.” When hamster owners get surprises like this, there often isn’t much they can do. It takes a lot of work to prepare for baby hamsters, and a lot of work to find homes for all those pups. If you didn’t know the pups were coming, it’s twice as difficult. Sometimes the owners’ only option is to give the pups to a store or shelter.
What this means is that there are often a lot of young hamsters in shelters and rescue groups. Some people don’t realize that not all rescue hamsters are old, so they don’t consider getting one when they’re looking for a pet. But some of the sweetest hamsters I’ve ever had have been rescues!
I’ve written about Toby, the Syrian hamster who loved music, but I might not have mentioned Merlin. Merlin’s previous owner had given him up because she was allergic to him. He wasn’t a pup anymore when I got him, but I still had a wonderful year or two with my “Meemers,” as we nicknamed him. There are lots of hamsters just as special and wonderful as Merlin and Toby out there, so next time you’re getting a hamster, please do consider a rescue.
What about you? Have you ever adopted a rescue hamster? What was your rescue hammie like?
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Hamster Rescue Organizations