Hello, Friends! It’s WTF Wednesday—Avenging Hamsters edition!  »

You guys, I need to talk to you about something serious. You know I’m all about fun and games and tormenting Allen for the amusement of others, but today we have to discuss an issue really near and dear to my heart: hamsters.

I get it; I talk about hamsters a lot. Perhaps, some of you may be thinking, I love hamsters a little too much. Perhaps you have never taken a nap with a hamster or involuntarily shared your oatmeal with one. Perhaps you have never given a hamster CPR only to be bitten in the face. Hard.

Fine, I love hamsters too much, but somebody has to. A lot of the time we do not take small animals seriously. You tell someone that a dog or a cat or a horse got tortured and killed and people go into a rage. You hear about someone who tortured and killed a hamster, and a lot of people are all, “Whatever, rodents…” When I took my hamster Bunny (RIP Big Poppa!) in for surgery once even the vet looked at me like I was a crazy person, and asked if I wouldn’t want to spend my money on “something else,” and just have Bunny euthanized.

For me, this was a huge problem, because not only was it insensitive, but Bunny wasn’t a something, she was a someone. She was a rodent, sure, but she also inspired me to stop eating meat—why eat cows when we don’t eat hamsters?—gave me good stories to tell other people, and kept me company while I was doing homework. One time she also bit someone I didn’t like in the face, which was awesome and taught everyone the importance of not putting an animal right up to your face and cooing at them, even if they are small and adorable.

I wasn’t really even thinking about this until this Facebook post started circulating. If you have not seen it, the gist is that some horrible person, who appears to be a female in her 20s, decided to let her orange hamster, Nemo, out into the wild to give him his freedom. Admirable as her intentions may be, this young lady apparently did no research and therefore did not learn that YOU CAN’T JUST FUCKING LET A DOMESTICATED PREY ANIMAL OUT INTO THE FUCKING WOODS!

Her reasoning was pretty romantic: Nemo would fend for himself and become big and strong. He would eat berries that he found in the forest and drink cool, clean water from the brook. He would build himself a fine home made of sugar and gingerbread and he would find another hamster to share his life with. Perhaps, he would return to visit once in a while, maybe bringing his partner around to say hi and nibble a carrot; reminisce about old times, check up on the old places. That would be nice. Too bad that Hamster was probably dead within 24 hours because, again, hamsters are prey animals that don’t know how to love in the wild. They’re not going to find brooks and berries. What they’re going to find are falcons and snakes and seagulls.

True story: I once had a pair of hamsters named Reggie and George (Dead Like Me FTW!) that had been rescued from the home of a disabled person whose main joy in life was breeding her hamsters. These hamsters came from the same families and had not been fed a very good diet; they came to me slow, bloated, and uninterested in anything. Especially the exercise wheel. Wanting to do them the most good and being very naive, I called an organization that prepared animals for the wild and asked what I should do. I was told that first of all, the hamsters would not be returned to me—they would be set free. I was also told not to do this because no matter how much preparation the hamsters had, they wouldn not survive for a long time. So that was the end of that.

Domesticated amsters don’t survive in the wild. Wild hamsters, like in Mongolia, look mean, like they know how to win a fight. Nemo doesn’t: In the pictures this woman took pictures of herself releasing Nemo, he does not look ready for hunting and foraging. He looks confused. And the outcry on this woman’s Facebook is an immediate “Nemo is dead,” which she does not seem to understand because it’s not like she left him on a highway somewhere, she let him go in the woods. With the fucking berries and the cold, cold stream. However, when someone points out that hamsters don’t really do the whole nature thing, her response is not a remorseful “Oh my god, what have I done? How could I have been so stupid?” but “RIP Nemo!” Honestly, where do these people come from?

I want to know how this woman is any different from the young girl who threw the puppies in the river. That girl was told to do it; this woman apparently just decided to release her hamster. She didn’t even try to rehome him to—evidenced by the “I would have taken him if you had told me” comment—and when she was told that Nemo was on his way to a certain and terrifying death, she didn’t show much remorse. Would we be hearing more about this if it had happened to a more “important” animal than a hamster? This makes me sad. And it makes me angry. And that’s not good for anyone, especially Allen, who has to listen to me go off about hamsters for hours on end. You guys should see us.

That’s it for this week! Please send me links for next week and have a Wednesday filled with happy hamsters!

[photo by moriza via Flickr]

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