Welcome to Dashing Hamsters. I created this website back in 2005, initially to have a place to share my love of hamsters. Throughout the years I have come across a lot of information that just often doesn't match up. Care standards and information are outdated, and these little creatures are misunderstood by many. So I decided to make this website as more than just a hamster lover's website, but a hamster website for modern owners who are looking for up to date advice on how to care for and understand their beloved hamsters. On DH you can learn about hamsters, see some cute pictures and read through a hamster filled blog.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"Rescue or Sympathy Purchase"

     Anyone that has been keeping pets and has been to a pet store has likely come across the unfortunate situation of finding the conditions of the animals in the store to be neglectful and down right appalling. As animal lovers and enthusiasts it can be be difficult to leave behind an animal living in squalor or one the is quite obviously ill. However we must ask ourselves what purchasing this animal will really mean in the long run. This post is to bring to light the term "Sympathy Purchase", that is wonderfully defined and talked about here: Rescue or Sympathy Purchase By: RandomWiktor (Ren Weeks) at UlitmateBettas. I highly recommend that you read through it, it isn't long. It is based around betta fish, but I'm sure that filling in the details of what ever animal, such as hamsters, can be left to the imagination. 
     Basically RandomWiktor says that quietly purchasing an animal living in poor conditions at a pet store is not a true rescue. It does indeed help that one hamster, but this is short sighted and does not help the problems in the long run.
     There are two problems that are not being addressed in doing this. First of all purchasing an animal at any pet store only supports the animal mills from which the said animal comes from. (Don't know what I'm talking about? Read this too: Rodent Mills. Yes it's the same for hamsters, and even if your pet store gets from local breeders they are just a smaller scale of this). Secondly and in regard to this topic, by purchasing this animal you are saying to the pet store that it is perfectly ok to keep their animals in this manner. Another hamster will only take their place afterwards anyway.
     So quietly purchasing an animal to save it or nurse it back to health is called a Sympathy Purchase. And while this act is good in intention, it is not in fact exactly good.
     So what can you do then?  RandomWiktor gives you some much better ideas. Including talking to management (letters, direct conversations, phone calls, etc), keeping up on their progress, asking for a discount on the ill animal, giving advise, etc. You really should read it!
     I brought this up mostly because while this is common knowledge within some circles of animal lovers (betta fish and rat owners come to mind) it isn't always common knowledge in others. So next time you are tempted to make a sympathy purchase, stop and think about the consequences and what might be better action.


  1. I might also add that a good way of rescuing any animal is to inform an appropriate local aid agency about the conditions it is being held in. Sometimes you have to be persisting, though, since it's people everywhere and not always their actions are quick and effective.

  2. I love this so much! :D That is all.