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Hamster Tails #4: The Adoption Bug

by wiffy on November 12, 2008

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We all have different perceptions about pet store hams and shelter hams. It would be natural to assume that pet store hamsters for sale are of better breed and quality, while hamsters who have been given up are in poor condition and untame. However, Hamster Hideout forum member rhapsody found out that the truth is far from it. She now finds so much joy in adopting and rescuing hamsters, that she will never again buy from a pet store.

Read the full inspiring story, written by rhapsody herself.

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“Be warned – the adoption bug is extremely contagious, and catching it will make you want to rescue every single hamster in need.”

I admit that I once had a prejudice against shelter hamsters.  Most I believed were either sickly, ancient, or had major behavioral problems.  I mean, these hamsters were abandoned for a good reason, right?  Why would I want someone’s rejects when I could purchase a young and healthy hamster from a pet store?

“I decided to give the whole adoption thing a try.  And in less than three months, my hamster family exploded from two fur-kids to a brood of seven.”

However, my assumptions about pet stores turned out to be far from the truth as I discovered after purchasing my first three hamsters: Sweet-Pea (R.I.P) suffered from chronic diabetes, Munchkin has a neurological condition that is most likely caused by severe inbreeding, and Nikki has extreme cage aggression.  And after some research, I discovered the ugly truth of the origin of many pet store hammies – breeding mills and irresponsible “backyard breeders.”  I vowed to never again purchase hamsters from a store.  Thanks to a certain Hamster Hideout member and her lovable yet wobbly dwarf, I decided to give the whole adoption thing a try.  And in less than three months, my hamster family exploded from two fur-kids to a brood of seven -

rhapsody_IBTW_300

Robo sisters Itsy-bitsy and Teeny-weeny: The unwanted results of an accidental pet store pregnancy, dumped at a small animal rescue.  Found via Petfinder and adopted on Saturday, June 28.rhapsody_Pippin_300 rhapsody_Pippinbutt

RC dwarf boy Pippin: The only hamster in an enormous humane society, consistently overlooked by potential adopters for over a month.  Found via Petfinder and adopted on Friday, July 18.

rhapsody_Twip_300 rhapsody_Twipbutt
RC dwarf boy Twip: A rambunctious yet unwelcome burden to his owner who no longer had time for him.  Found via Craigslist and adopted on Thursday, August 14.

rhapsody_Hazel rhapsody_Hazelbutt
Syrian girl Hazel: A large gal with patchy fur that was stuffed into a tiny filthy wire cage that had very little floor space and a 5’ wheel.  She had a deep mistrust of humans and a penchant for biting.  Found via Craigslist and adopted on Wednesday, August 20.

“Adopting a hammie is truly an experience like no other, and trust me, you’ll never regret it.”

With these new additions to my furry family, I learned just how rewarding adoption can be.  In all honesty, I feel that I have bonded with my five adoptees on a far deeper level than my two pet shop hamsters.  For me, there is a sense of greater responsibility on my part to make things better, to right all the wrongs these hamsters have experienced.  To prove to them that they are worthy of love, and that my home will be their forever home.

rhapsody_IBbutt rhapsody_TWbutt

And they in turn respond to my love and care with an outpouring of affection.  None of the five have ever bitten me, not even the mistrustful Hazel.  The robo girls will affectionately head-butt my fingers every now and then.  Pippin and Twip are absolute love-bugs who enjoy being held, crawling all over me, licking my fingers, and hugging my nose.  And Hazel … well, the timid gal has fully blossomed into a cuddle monster who likes to take naps in the crook of my arm.

Be warned – the adoption bug is extremely contagious, and catching it will make you want to rescue every single hamster in need.  Adopting a hammie is truly an experience like no other, and trust me, you’ll never regret it.

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Read all the issues here.



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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 HoppingHammy November 12, 2008 at 9:21 pm

This was so wonderful to read, rhapsody. It truly brightened my day to read about all the cuties you rescued and saved from an unknown fate.

This part made me tear up a bit —- “In all honesty, I feel that I have bonded with my five adoptees on a far deeper level than my two pet shop hamsters. For me, there is a sense of greater responsibility on my part to make things better, to right all the wrongs these hamsters have experienced. To prove to them that they are worthy of love, and that my home will be their forever home.”

^I couldn’t agree more with that statement. It’s so hard to explain that feeling to others who haven’t adopted, but it really does create a strong bond that no one can break.

Oh, and all your hams have cute bums. :D hehe

2 Kiki_Hammy November 13, 2008 at 12:34 am

Aw…This really touched my heart. It brightened my day.
In fact,I saw two hamsters on my HS website,and they are gone. I hope they went to a loving family like yours. :)

And I agree with HoppingHammy,cute hammy bums :D

3 dusty November 13, 2008 at 11:19 am

I’m touched by rhapsody’s comments too. Every hamster deserves a good home and I’m so glad that these lucky ones found one with rhapsody. Great write-up!

4 fufiche November 14, 2008 at 5:27 pm

What a great story! :) I’m so happy for the cute hamhams you rescued. They are all so cuddly it really makes you wonder about the sanity of the people that abandoned them.

5 mousyblack December 2, 2008 at 11:35 pm

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with adopting hamsters, even though my hamster is from a pet shop. these stories are great, they make me want to adopt a new hamster, but, there aren’t pet adoption centre’s where i live :(

by the way, your hamster’s have nice bums! :D

6 hamster lover122 January 30, 2009 at 1:28 am

u r right the adoption bug is contagious.ur story warmed my heart ill adopt one or two or three ahhhh now u got me going to bye. :lol: :D

7 Wild one March 17, 2009 at 6:41 am

I think that hamsters make the very best
condo pets. They are happy to be alone.
They can sleep up to sixteen hours. Lower
maintenance than a dog or cat. Just change
the food, water and bedding. They are fun to
look at and play with. I love my Arizona,
Pristina, Nevada and newcomer Tacoma!

8 Muffin09 August 2, 2009 at 1:48 am

wow. this makes me want to adopt hamsters! how do you adopt abused hamsters? where? i need info! i love my 3 year old Syrian hamster named Muffin! she is very active and healthy! she occasionaly will do funny stuff like try to get on top of her wheel, chew on her food bowl, and at night if i sing to her she will actually YAWN and stretch! she is the cutest thing EVER! i luv u muff muff!
:D <3

9 Muffin09 August 2, 2009 at 1:52 am

wow. this makes me want to adopt hamsters in need! where and how do you do it? i need info! i love my 3 year olf hamster named Muffin! she is very healthy and active for her age. she will occasionaly do funny stuff like try to get on top of her wheel, chew on her food bowl, hang on to the wire mesh at the top of her cage, and at night when i sing to her she actually YAWNS and stretches! it is the funniest thing i have ever seen! i am a ham-ham lover!
:D <3

10 coco January 22, 2012 at 9:40 pm

HAMSTERS!!!!!!!!!!!! I NEED MORE F THEM!!!! IN NEED!!! NEED THEM ADOPTED!!!!!! P.S. i have a hamster and he is crawling in my shirt.

11 coco January 22, 2012 at 9:40 pm

HAMSTERS!!!!!!!!!!!! I NEED MORE OF
THEM!!!! IN NEED!!! NEED THEM ADOPTED!!!!!! P.S. i have a hamster and he is crawling in my shirt.

12 WillowWiskers October 21, 2013 at 11:05 am

Awwww!! I have a hammy, but when my little Eddie boy is gone… :( I wanna get a hammy from adopting. Do u know if petland is evil to their hammysters? It didn’t seem like it when I got Edward.

13 Maryloulovesangel February 1, 2014 at 11:34 am

How do I make my hamster to not bite me

14 Booboohamster November 1, 2015 at 11:16 pm

Oh, that was so cute! I wish I could know how you feel. My one Syrian was bought at a pet store, but she acts just like this! I would totally adopt if I could, but I live in such a rural area there is pretty much nothing within 2 hours, lol. Best of luck!

15 Platinum Pets February 26, 2016 at 7:21 am

I’m so glad all your adoptees went to a great home! I wish I had the room to provide that for my hamster. I’m also extremely jealous, because I feel so bad whenever I buy from a pet store, but everyone on petfinder are like 2 hours away! There are also no shelters (that I’ve found) who regularly have hamsters. I guess that’s a good thing, because all the hamsters that could be there are in homes, but I don’t ever feel right when I’m buying a live animal from a petstore and supporting the live animal revenue they get.

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