Bolton Ferret Welfare

Diary of a Highland Lady - June/July 2004

Ivy on her tartan - 4Kb View from the ferret pens - 5Kb /

Spring arrives pretty late in the Highlands but it is eventually here, accompanied by strange bleating noises in the fields. Only some of these were lambs the rest were Dr June and Dr Jeff making 'Aaaah! Aaah!' sounds as they went gooey over the little woolly monsters. Occasionally there were 'Blimey!' and 'Good Grief!' sounds too because not all the lamb turned out as expected. The pure-bred Blackfaces had little Blackface lambs but the Shetland mums (thanks to old 'Arry Ramsbottom) had a right mixture. In fact, they turned out spotted and blotched. Could this be the start of the Durnamuck Dalmation Flock?

Dolcie the Lamb The good news is that none had to invade my home as none needed bottle rearing. The bad news is that Dolcie, the Lamb from Hell, was so miffed about not being in the limelight that she started being spitful to the new lambs so (you've guessed it) she had to come into my rooms again! 'Who will rid me of this troublesome beast?' I thought. Then I realised I might have unlikely support from the Royal Scots Raccoon Guards, so when Dolcie was complaining about being in the barn I suggested she might like to go out and sunbathe near the raccoon pen. Now I swear Dolcie's fleece was already loose and straggly when I suggested that, but you can imagine what happened when the raccoons decided to play 'hairdressers' with her. Boy, was I in the dog-house! She was stripped down to her undies! Dr June even tried to fit a body warmer on her. Laugh, it's a wonder we didn't all wet our hammocks. It was even worth having to have Dolcie back in at night because she was too naked to be out in the fields.

Wispa It's not been all new arrivals, though. Wispa, the baby weasel, is having a bash at being a wild weasel. (Dr Jeff would say she's been wild for ages - downright livid most of the time, in fact). Although Wispa had been quite friendly and playful when she was younger she started to change as she grew up. She didn't want to play with Dr Jeff like she used to and she tried to escape from her pen as if she knew there was a bigger world outside. I know they found it very hard but Dr June and Dr Jeff decided to start her on a rehabilitation programme. This meant teaching her to eat proper weasel food. Whiskas gourmet cat food sachets aren't found running wild in the woods around here so Wispa needed to learn to like mice and voles with a side serving of worm and beetle. Morgana gave her lots of tips about which parts were best and recipes such as 'how to make the most of eyeballs' and 'mouse mousse'. Robyn and I had to wrap her up in a blanket and sit on her to shut her up before it made us sick. Wispa was kept supplied with dead mice and voles thanks to the local people who sent generous donations from their mouse traps or their disguntled cats. People would wander up to our gate and hand a dead mouse to an overjoyed Dr June. One lady who lives quite a few miles away was going to put her vole offering in an envelope and send it via the postbus. Luckily for the postie a local shepherd was passing so he brought it.

Wispa was released a few weeks ago. She has only been seen a very few times and Dr Jeff has found fresh weasel poo. Who would have thought that it could bring such pleasure to simple souls like my people. The only snag was that it was in the house. On the bathmat to be precise. Since then there have been all sorts of noises in the roof, under the floorboards and in the walls as something runs around chasing something else! Welcome to the world of the House-Weasel. It could only happen up here, couldn't it?

Aside from all the animal antics, I've been busy working. Dr June's been at quite a few conferences that wanted to hear about me so I've had to brief her thoroughly on my work to date. I wasn't able to make it to the Savoy for the awards for Rescue Cat of the Year but I sent my best wishes to my fellow celebrities who did attend, especially that nice Steve Leonard. I must remember to send off that autographed photo of myself that he wants so much. Fellow 'ferapy ferrets' featured at the Royal College of Nursing Congress and I have a number of interviews to do this month on that, so it's all go. I could really do with a proper PA but who would be mad enough to come and work with my lot up here?

And things might get even more bizarre. I overheard Dr June talking about a llama. I thought she was going in for Tibetan religions until she mentioned that it would be for keeping foxes away from the lamb fields. Dr Jeff doesn't like the idea. He says the llamas he's met are spiteful, unintelligent and unreasonable to work with, and they spit the most horrible stuff out of their mouths.

Let's hope he wins the debate. If not, I shall insist on calling the creature Gobbit. Maybe Dolcie isn't so bad after all!

(From Ferrets First Issue no. 18 June/July 2004)

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