Unusual Lost Pets

Pete Wedderburn
3rd June 2020 - 3 min read

I’ve often written about stray dogs, but readers may be interested to know that other types of animals also end up without homes.  This week, at my own vet clinic, we encountered two unusual problems.

grey mouse

Stray Dwarf Hamsters

First of all, two stray Dwarf Hamsters were handed in by a member of the public who had found them in a box in the street. They had wounds on their underside, which needed treatment.  We treated them and they were soon better enough to “go home”. But the question was simple: where was their home?

This problem goes back to the individual responsibility of pet owners. The hamsters did not suddenly materialise from nowhere. These animals were a part of somebody’s home, either in the house or in the back garden. The hamsters must have been deliberately dumped in the street. 

Abandoning Animals

I can understand that sometimes animals do not fit in with people’s lives anymore. For many different reasons, folk sometimes take in pets and then discover that they cannot keep them anymore. The line of least resistance may be to simply take them outside somewhere and to let them go. But people should realise that this is a form of cruelty. These small pets have no capacity to fend for themselves. They are used to being fed and cared for by humans. If they are on their own, they have virtually no hope of surviving for more than a few days. Abandoning an animal is a cop-out. There is always another answer. If you cannot keep a pet any longer, then invest some time and energy in finding an alternative home. Phone up local animal welfare groups, veterinary clinics, and pet shops. Post your pet’s details on the “homes wanted” section of Irish animal rescue websites. There will always be somebody who will cherish the animals that you can no longer keep.

Pet Escapes

A day after the hamsters appearance, another unusual animal turned up: a stray rabbit was found hopping along with one of the main roads. He was injured on one of his back legs, and so he was brought in for veterinary care. The rabbit may also have been purposely “strayed”, but it is more likely that he escaped. Rabbits are curious creatures and they are very good at finding small openings inside gates and fences.

Despite the best efforts of owners, some animals do manage to run away from home, and then they lose their bearings. If your pet escapes, he is unlikely to go far, and often door-to-door enquiries in your neighbourhood will be enough to locate him. You should also phone anyone who may act as a contact point, such as vets, pet shops etc. You could also phone the local garda station, to leave a message with the lost and found section.  Finally, most parts of the country have Lost and Found animal Facebook pages.

Finding Stray Pets

If you do find a bewildered, anxious animal that seems to be lost, please do take the time to give it food and shelter, and to find its owner. Go from door to door in the vicinity where it has been found. Phone the same contact points as if you had lost any other pet. Please do not bring healthy stray pets to your vet, since they can do no more for them than any other member of the public. Vet clinics are for sick and injured pets. For the animals’ sake, it is best that they stay out of a “hospital” type environment. Animals need human help sometimes: please take time to offer this if you ever find an animal in trouble.


  • Every kind of pet sometimes end up as a stray
  • From hamster to rabbits and snakes, the list of possibilities is very long
  • If you find one and are not sure what to do, phone your local vet clinic