Losing a pet is a traumatic experience - you're essentially losing a family member. Even the stinkiest, most difficult-to-live with, or annoying of pets, when they're gone, leave a hole in your heart.
So much so that it's difficult to think straight when you see that they've crossed over to the other side and entered pet heaven.
But pets are animals, with biological structures that are different from our own, and there are many instances where we think our pets are dead, but they really aren't. Heck, we even make that same mistake with human beings every now and again.
Which is why Facebook user Lisa Goodman posted this PSA to hamster owners who may think that their little mammalian pals kicked the bucket. It's not uncommon for people to think that because hamsters will slip into hibernation mode if it gets too cold for their liking.
Meaning you may have buried your hibernating pet hamster alive and accidentally killed it in the past. Sorry to rack you with guilt.
Her post explains how to tell whether or not your hamster is really dead, and what steps to take if they've truly "crossed over" or if they're just getting some deep, deep sleep.
Here's her message in full:
As the days draw colder I just wanted to give out a piece of little known information.
Pet hamsters can go into hibernation mode if they get too cold. This can last a few days or even a week. Please don’t just assume your hamster is dead. Whilst in hibernation mode if you stroke or try to move your hamster, they will show small signs of life.
Keep them warm, place a hot water bottle under their bedding, to try and bring them back slowly. They can come round naturally, but still need to keep warm. Provide plenty of food and water.
I have placed my hibernating hamster in a used tissue box, on top of a hot water bottle. I have added a photo. As you can see, at first glance he does look dead. But thankfully he’s not, and with the right care he will be running around his cage again in no time.
We keep our hamster in the sitting room of our house, it’s obviously got a bit too cold in there overnight so we will be moving him elsewhere. Please share with all your hamster loving friends. 🐹
Goodman's post got people thinking on social media that they may have preemptively sealed their own pet's doom.
She also received a bit of hate, with people accusing her of putting up photos of a dead hamster on social media and passing off a different hamster as the active and healthy one.
Which just goes to show you that you could be hated on for just about anything on the internet, and yes, that includes PSAs about saving hamster's lives.