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Old 11-16-2019, 08:09 AM   #1
Vierville
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Default To adopt or buy?

Hello everyone.

My dear sweet little lad Admiral Nelson passed away three weeks ago and , while it is still too soon for us to get another little one (we have two others), in time I would love to get a third hamster again.

Two of our three were rescued (one from a pet shop where he had been 'returned' by his owner after being attacked by a cat and losing an eye and was basically unadoptable, the other from a rescue organisation) while our first hamster was bought from a pet shop.

I have always believed very firmly that adopting unwanted animals is far preferable to buying from pet shops, but an incident a few months ago made me question this.

I was at a pet store getting food and bedding for our little ones when someone came in with a woefully inappropriate cage and two male dwarves in it which evidently they had bought there and one of the hamsters had a huge injury to his face. The individuals, small children in tow, insisted that the pet store staff diagnose what the problem was. The staff suggested that the hamster needed a vet but the hamsters' owner said it wasn't necessary but they wanted to know what was wrong from the staff.

I took a look at the little injured one as I have dwarves of my own and his whole left eye was bloody, swollen and bulging. He looked very ill. They said their children had either dropped him or the two hamsters had fought but they were not sure. I obviously told them a vet visit was absolutely vital but they still argued and even laughed that they didn't think a vet would treat a hamster. It took all my self restraint to not assault these idiots.

This got me thinking...while rescue organisations deserve all the help they can get rehoming unwanted and rescued hamsters, the hamsters are basically safe, fed and looked after whereas who knows what life a little petshop hamster is going to have?

It is a bit of a moral dilemma for me. Buying from pet shops perpetuates unscrupulous, irresponsible breeding but at the same time how many of those hamsters will go to homes where either they will be kept in inappropriate conditions, be mishandled by children or will end up unwanted once the novelty wears off? At least rescue organisations are knowledgeable and caring enough to look after those hamsters in their care properly.

I'm very undecided as to whether our next little one should be from a rescue organisation or a pet shop.

Obviously, in an ideal world I'd adopt them all and give them a happy, healthy, stimulating home but sadly three or maybe four is our limit as our little ones are in large separate multi-level cages and we just don't have the space for more than that.

Last edited by Vierville; 11-16-2019 at 08:14 AM.
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Old 11-16-2019, 08:52 AM   #2
Otaku
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Default Re: To adopt or buy?

That's horrendous! I really admire your self restraint. I believe that vets and pet stores should have the power to confiscate any animal they believe is being mistreated. Yes, this can be distressing for the owner but if you choose to welcome a pet into the family you choose to be responsible for its well being. That woman is just awful.

I am all for adopting unwanted animals to relieve some of the strain on rescue shelters, but understand your argument for purchasing from a pet store. It's a real moral dilemma and really only one that you can decide.
I have been looking around for rodent/hamster rescues to adopt when I am finally ready and here in the UK there are surprisingly few. (I would like to feel reassured that this is because hamsters are rarely given up, but I know that's naive.)

I suggest having a look at your options in terms of rehoming centres and sadly, also have a look on re-sale sites. It seems many people get bored and want rid of the poor babies (which is bad enough but when people want money for the animal that is pretty shameless).

At the end of the day whatever you choose will be doing right by your new addition.
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Old 11-16-2019, 09:07 AM   #3
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Default Re: To adopt or buy?

Umm, lots to think about there. Personally, I would always adopt not shop. Like you state, buying from a shop just perpetuates the whole situation. If you buy, all the shop is going to do is replace it with more hamsters, so you may be saving one hamster from going to a horrible situation. but the cycle just continues.
If you adopt, you are certainly giving a home to one of those hamsters that has been rescued/ or surrendered. You are also then freeing up a space in the rescue for another hamster to be saved.

In an ideal world pets shops would not sell hamsters and like you say, wouldn't it be lovely if we could adopt/save them all. I actually don't think it is nice keeping hamsters or other creatures in cages (just my own personal opinion), but I would rather give a hamster that has found itself in a situation (through no fault of it's own) a good home than do nothing at all.

I am also sure you will work out what is best for you when the time is right. I am sure you will keep us posted on what you decide.
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Old 11-16-2019, 09:12 AM   #4
Ria P
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Default Re: To adopt or buy?

I know exactly where you're coming from because i also bought one as a baby from a pet shop and have adopted two. I had discussions with people before who stated that buying from a pet shop supports irresponsible breeding which may be so but this does not help all the little hamsters already for sale in pet shops. They are entitled to a good life too and why shouldn't they be one of the lucky ones who end up with the likes of us.

I don't think it matters where a hamster comes from because they are all deserving little individuals in need of a good home.
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Old 11-16-2019, 11:03 AM   #5
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Default Re: To adopt or buy?

As someone who has actually had a pet shop hamster, they can be great pets. They're not all horribly unhandleable and riddled with health issues, which are some of the biggest misconceptions out there about pet shop animals in general.

Yes, some pet shop hamsters will have issues, but that can be said of any pet from any source. Nothing is impossible, and even the most well bred hamsters can display behavioral issues or have health problems. This is something you have to take into consideration whether you adopt or buy from a pet store or even buy from a great breeder. Any time you get a pet, they might have underlying health or behavior problems. It comes with the territory, and there is not always a way to truly predict it.

At the end of the day no matter where you get your pet of any kind from, that is your choice. We don't tend to see serious negativity on the forum, but in other places you'll often see horrible and nasty comments and such from people with allegedly good intentions that ultimately do nothing good and only serve to make others feel bad. Getting a rescue pet of any kind doesn't make you somehow superior, and buying pets doesn't necessarily make you this horrid evil person as some people will try to fool others into believing.
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Old 11-16-2019, 11:11 AM   #6
Dessi
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What horrible people, I won’t say what I wish for them but it isn’t nice...

I don’t believe in buying animals from a pet store as it will contribute to keeping their business alive. If everyone stopped buying animals from them, they would have to stop selling them and we would be forced to rescue or buy from breeders (there is also an ethical breeder debate to be addressed), which would be better for animals and pet owners.
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Old 11-16-2019, 07:57 PM   #7
Thin Lizzy
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Default Re: To adopt or buy?

Not all pet shops are bad, my local pet shop gets their hamsters from breeders. It's the big pet super stores that are bad. Yes private breeders are better but, I don't have any near me. If a choice of adopting one came up then I would.
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Old 11-17-2019, 02:46 AM   #8
Vierville
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Default Re: To adopt or buy?

Thanks for your replies everyone.

I definitely agree from personal experience that not all petshop hamsters are unhandlable or have health issues...after all most rescue hamsters were probably petshop hamsters first.

Our first hamster was from a petshop and she has the gentlest, sweetest nature of all three. We got her when she was very young though. Our two rescued hamsters were a bit older (one was already 1 year old, the other six months old) and both have had significant and very long-term health issues which we treated accordingly with the help of a really caring vet.

The hamster's possible bad genetics or behaviour (petshop vs rescued) are not important to me but rather which source of getting a hamster would be more likely to save a hamster from a possible life of mistreatment.

Perhaps I am cynical but it just makes me go cold to think of a little dwarf hamster being roughly handled by unsupervised children or forgotten about once the novelty wears off...
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Old 11-17-2019, 07:42 AM   #9
Ria P
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Default Re: To adopt or buy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vierville View Post

which source of getting a hamster would be more likely to save a hamster from a possible life of mistreatment.
I'd say a hamster advertised in the small ads and going free or something silly like 1 because there's a chance they could end up as live food for a pet snake, especially young hamsters.

I think hamsters are underpriced at 10 in the pet shops. They should cost three times as much then people may give them more thought before purchasing one and not just see them as a cheap toy for the kids. Rant over. Sorry.
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Old 11-17-2019, 08:38 AM   #10
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Default Re: To adopt or buy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ria P View Post
I'd say a hamster advertised in the small ads and going free or something silly like 1 because there's a chance they could end up as live food for a pet snake, especially young hamsters.

I think hamsters are underpriced at 10 in the pet shops. They should cost three times as much then people may give them more thought before purchasing one and not just see them as a cheap toy for the kids. Rant over. Sorry.
Totally get you Ria, but then sadly, I think more people would start breading their own hamsters as they could make more money.
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