Today I witnessed an ALMOST accidental death of a cute little critter. The hamster.

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Look at that cute little face! Now, I have to say, I am not a huge fan of these kinds of animals. To be completely honest with y’all, their sharp, pointy little teeth scare the bageezers out of me. I’m kinda like that with birds. I can’t stand birds, mostly because of a fear of those pointy little beaks. You’ve seen Hitchcock’s movie, right?

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Yeah, at the zoo I tend to run past the bird exhibits. With the other cute little critters though, I will gawk at them in their little plastic boxes at the pet store, gushing about how cute they are, but I will not pick one up. I’d rather admire from afar, or in this case, from between a piece of plastic or metal caging. 

Today, my 4 year old and I went to PetSmart to get an algae eater for her fish tank. Our first stop is always the critter cages. We were lucky, or as we thought, because they had just gotten a new shipment of little guys and the clerk was putting them in their cages. As we were looking at the hamsters, the clerk was putting a mouse in the adjacent cage. I am so glad that my daughter was preoccupied with the mouse, otherwise she would have seen a hamster get it’s little neck stuck between the running wheel and the bar that holds it. My expression?

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I was trying to not blurt out loud, “Holy crap! Someone save him!” or try to pry open the cage myself. Fear shmear! The little guy was in trouble! I would perform hamster CPR if I needed to! So very thankful that the store clerk saw this at the same moment I did and thankful that my 4 year old was still oblivious to the whole ordeal. As my heart pounds, worrying about this poor little thing and painfully watching him try to get free and then slowly not moving, the store clerk seemed to take her sweet time opening the cage to get him undone. The dialogue running through my head, “Dear God woman! Move with the quickness! Save him! Save him! (or her).” The clerk got the little hamster free and he moved slowly away. Then she says, “That happens a lot. They’re always ok. Hopefully.” Then she walks away.

Excuse me? This happens a lot? This may be a stupid question, but why the heck are those wheels still in their cages? Why not put this in instead?

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No open slots for them to get their cute little necks stuck into. You, as a pet store, have a plethora of animal “toys” to choose from. Do it? If this has happened more than once, and according to the clerk it has, why keep using this?

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Use this…

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Not this…

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I just wonder how many poor little hamsters have lost their lives in this store because someone wasn’t there quick enough to get them free?

I plan on writing or calling PetSmart myself and letting them know what I experienced today in order to save other critters lives. I’m just glad that I didn’t have to explain an accidental death to my child today.  

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