Most general public are aware of just how many cats & dogs there are in rescue centres, but how many people realise just how many small furies end up unwanted each year. Visit most large rescue centres and you will find Guinea pigs, Rats and sadly the odd hamster, mouse & gerbil too who are awaiting new homes.
When I got involved with hamster showing I became very aware of just how many small rodents each year need to be rehomed, so I felt I must “put something back” as it were and turn over part of my hamstery to hamster rescue. Sadly I have found that some large rescue centres won’t take small animals like hamsters, and others just don’t have the facilities or knowledge to care for unwanted rodents, so many are passed onto specialist people who do have an interest in hamsters, gerbils etc. These people, like myself, house the unwanted animals in our own homes at our own expense.
Hamsters, and indeed all small rodents come into rescue for a variety of reasons, but in my personal experience two reasons stand out above all others; either the owner has become board with their pet, or they have purchased a pregnant rodent as the pet shop the rodent was purchased from couldn’t sex the small animals they sell correctly, resulting in the new pet owner ending up with a “surprise” litter.
Sadly not all pet shops will help the pet owner to rehome the unexpected litter, so on occasions whole litters come in for rehoming.
Other reasons I have encountered for hamsters coming into rescue are: hamster deemed too vicious to sell by a pet shop, allergy to pet, moving to rented accommodation where pets are not allowed, death of owner, I have even taken on hamsters who were found as strays!
I am a volunteer for my local rescue centre (Bath Cats & Dogs Home), and both they and the RSPCA pass people onto me who have a hamster to rehome.
Youngsters can be rehomed, but my policy is that any hamster who is middle aged or over, or has a health or temperament problem is not rehomed, but instead stays with me for life.
When I first started doing rescue in 1999 my intentions was to just specialise in hamsters, but once words gets around you soon find yourself being asked to take in other small furies too.
Here at Somershire Hamster Rescue we usually have about 100 to 130 rescue residents.
I know of many people in various small animal fancies who do “rescue”, but it would be wonderful if more people could give a home to a “second hand” animal………so the next time you have a spare cage or tank, why not fill it with a rescue.
By Wendy Barry of Somershire Hamster Rescue