Bolton Ferret Welfare

It Had to Happen & Fate or What?

by Kingswinford Codger

"I'm off to muck out and give a couple of them a run around." I said to Val. "Be about an hour and half."

The first pen housed Pipper, so I lifted her out for a run round the garden whilst her pen, along with a couple of others, were cleaned and disinfected. All went well and Pipper was located and returned to her nice clean (but not for long) pen and for me it was onto the shed which houses another six pens.

All done and dusted except for Titch's, so it was outside for her for a run around whilst her five-star accommodation was cleaned. That all done it was back outdoors to do the last couple of pens, one of which is a newly adapted chicken coop, which I'll tell you about some other time.

With everything done it was time to gather up Titch and return her to her quarters, but a quick look round and no Titch was to be seen anywhere, so a more intensive search was needed. The woodshed was silent, so was the kindling store: no scratching or rustling anywhere. Where the hell had she disappeared to? Another ten minutes of waiting, expecting her to pop up out of the blue, but nothing; the dreaded gut-churning feeling of having lost one of my babies was well and truly setting in. Another half hour past and I resigned myself to thinking that I wouldn't see her again. Tea was ready so although eating was the last thing on my mind, after the boss (I know my place!) had slaved to cook it, I thought it best to give it a shot.

On the way down the yard the door bell rang. Val answered it and it was a plumber chap from the next cul-d-sac. "Do you keep ferrets?" He asked. "Only I have one in my house and would be most grateful if you would come and get it."

Well it just had to be Titch so off I went with him to collect my escapee. On entering the house I expected to find my little girl contained in a box, but no such luck; the place was in turmoil as he was building an extension and there were open cavities and floorboards removed plus the place was full of tools, wood, electrical cable, etc. "She's in here somewhere mate," stated the house owner! We listened and listened, but nothing. I feared the worst after seeing all the likely places she could have disappeared to. The saga, it seemed, was to continue. "I'll fetch a carrier and some magic oil and leave it with you; if she smells it she'll come out and you can pick her up and pop her in the carrier. She won't bite, honest." So that's what I did, thinking that I would quite possibly not see her again after all.

My yard gate was but a step or two away when the plumber man caught me up with the pet carrier and, lo and behold, little Titch was safe inside. She'd managed to get behind his central heating boiler, but had willingly come out with the aid of that magic oil. Grateful thanks were given and all was well. Were we lucky or what to get her returned? Must be a chance in a thousand.

I thought my garden was ferret-proof: I expect you do too. Well, take my advice and have a good look round every now and then just to check. The only way we think that Titch could have escaped was by climbing up a tall bush and dropping off a seven-foot fence onto the pathway. Said bush has now had one of my specialist pruning sessions and been cut down to two feet; well, if you're going to prune, prune!

Titch is now confined to a long pipe run and the playpen every day for a couple of hours with the occasional supervised outing in the garden - well you never know do you?

Fate or What?

My daughter Kay had just finished bathing her kids, came down stairs, went into her kitchen, looked through the window and there it was, a polecat ferret on the patio. Her first thoughts were that her own ferret Maizey had escaped from her pen, so she dashed outside and scooped up the ferret, only to find that it wasn't Maizey at all. So it was on the phone to Old Codger Dad, to ask if I would take her in. Well another one won't hurt!

When she arrived with the little chap, a quick look over the castrated (now there's a rarity!) male found he was covered in fleas, he'd also been used to a harness as the shape of it was evident on his fur. Not having any Frontline, it was off to Michelle's.

He was given a bath: although not what you might call over-keen on the process he wasn't too bad: a thorough drying and it was outside for the Frontline spray; all done. Thank you's were given and it was back home for Ben, as we'd called him, to snuggle down in a nice clean pen which was all we saw of him until the next day, the poor chap was exhausted.

A couple of days later we had to take a hob from Michelle's rescue to the vets for castration and, don't ask me why, but something told me to take Freddie Fleabee (a renamed Ben - well he didn't look like a Ben) with us and have him scanned.

At the vets the other lad was booked in for his castration and the nurse took Freddie Fleabee off to be scanned. When she returned she was clutching a piece of paper and excitedly announced that he had indeed been microchipped. She put his microchip number into the computer and, this is the best bit, he lived with a client of theirs in the street next to my daughter's; better still, his name was actually Freddie. How strange is that?!

He was left at the vets for the owner to collect which they duly did. The owner contacted Michelle to thank her and Michelle forwarded the email to myself. It turns out Freddie came from Michelle's rescue in the first place and both he and his mate board there when their owners go on holiday. I don't know whether you believe in fate or not, but it certainly makes you think, doesn't it?

(First published September 2010)

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