enismirdal: (Bee!13)
[personal profile] enismirdal
I hang out on a couple of hamster groups as they're a useful source of tips, advice and ideas about making Lupanine's life as interesting and fun as possible.

One thing that has been really irritating me lately, however, is some of the teenagers on them. Typical scenario would be a 16 year old, keeping a hamster they legitimately do adore and want to do the best for. But then they come up against either the hamster getting sick at 10pm on a Saturday night. "Mum refuses to let me take it to the vet and I can't get there on my own!" Alternatively, it's pointed out that the cage is not suitable (too small, or wrong design for that type of hamster). "I can't afford the big cage!" or "Mum won't let me have something that big!"

I realise finances are tight for lots of people, and that circumstances can change, but I am firmly in the camp of, if you get a hamster knowing you cannot afford an emergency vet's trip out of hours for your hamster, you cannot afford to have a hamster and need to not have hamsters. And if your only way to get an animal to an out of hours vet is to be driven by your parents who don't believe it's necessary, you're basically accepting that you're prepared to let your pet suffer if it's unlucky enough to get sick between 5pm on a Friday and 8am on a Monday.

The number of teenagers recently who have been in tears on the group because their hamster has wet tail or their parents are threatening to take an accidental litter to an indiscriminate pet shop, and when you ask, "Well, can't you get a taxi? How much trouble are you willing to put yourself to in order to sort this - will you organise a pet taxi yourself?" and realise they can't (or don't have the maturity to) do it themselves... It just seems so unfair on the hamster in such a situation.

I wish there was some sort of pet savings account where people had to show it had a balance of £300 in before they'd be allowed to buy/adopt a pet. That still wouldn't go far in the case of something like a cat hit by a car or a dog with cancer, but it would cover short-term hamster emergencies.

It makes me frustrated because there's nothing I can do about it. You can't really have a go at these teenagers as that doesn't improve the situation and just makes them feel more guilty. But I really wish people would think pets through properly and consider the worst case scenario as well as the fluffy cuddles.

(Yes, I realise this might be controversial and there are complex situations, but still... I don't think there are really any excuses for messing with pets' welfare.)

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