Bolton Ferret Welfare

Ahh... Missie & Sophie

by Donna Matthews

Some of you may recall the saga of Teazle and Weazle and my husband being deceived into thinking only one ferret had been rescued. Many years have passed since then and sadly Teazle and Weazle have both crossed over the Rainbow Bridge.

Rescue ferrets come and go, but most stay unless someone 'special' comes along. Roger maintains that there are not enough special people around as our ferret population does not seem to diminish.

Back in the summer of 2007, a young albino jill was brought in, she was found wandering around near Teignmouth, Devon. She was filthy, had ticks, a discoloured and malformed claw, very thin and totally wild so had probably been loose for some time. Needless to say no-one came forward to claim her. Poor Roger, "She's filthy, what are those blobs? Ticks? Ugh, get her out the house NOW".

I cleaned her up, popped her into a nice clean quarantine cage and called her Missie. She settled down very quickly after having her feed, so when my neighbour called in I showed her my new arrival. Cleaned up Missie looked very pretty and was I guess about 12 weeks old. She happily let me pick her up then she sank her teeth into my hand. Ouch. Would she let go? No she wouldn't! There was blood dripping everywhere so I asked my neighbour to turn on the outside tap. "Why?" she asked. "Just turn the damn thing on!" I said. With water (and blood) flowing well I put my hand complete with Missie still attached under the tap. Oh, the relief of the cold water, it numbed some of the pain and encouraged Missie to finally let go. I carefully dried her off and back into her hutch sehe went with a few chosen words from me!!

Over time Missie thrived and fortunately has never bitten me again or anyone else. She even came first in her class at a show a couple of months after arriving.

Two weeks after Missie's arrival, I received a telephone call; the husband was in the background saying "no more ferrets". Of course the ferret in question arrived whilst he was having his Sunday pint! A dark polecat jill, very small and quite young; she was a darling.

The person who had found her left: husband came home, took one look and said "What a lovely ferret, if she's not claimed she can stay here, she can be my ferret." Well blow me down with a feather! We discussed names and eventually settled on Sophie, as with Missie she settled in very quickly and of course no-one claimed her.

After about three weeks, Sophie started to take on the shape of a light bulb. Just as I suspected the vet pronounced her pregnant; husband advised of 'happy event'. "How had that happened?", he asked! Well for once words failed me! Mum-to-be was given more care and attention then one evening when I returned from work I could hear squeaks; eight of them, however by the morning there were only five. Perhaps having a peek the night before had upset her, but she was so small that I doubt she could have actually managed to have fed and looked after eight. All five grew into beautiful kits: 3 polecat hobs, 1 silver hob and 1 silver jill all gorgeous.

Just prior to their arrival into our household, a lovely gentleman from Cornwall had telephoned to say that, having recently moved to the country, he wanted to fulfil a lifelong wish of owning a ferret being able to take it out for walks. Accordingly, as they were soon due to visit relatives who live not far from me they arranged to call in. (We'll call them John and Jan to protect the innocent!). Well they couldn't have been nicer. They came and had a good look at all of my ferrets including mum-to-be Sophie and they had certainly done their homework, which was a nice change. They were already building a ferret court so I was more than happy for them to have a kit.

As soon as the kits arrived I gave them the news and both John and Jan came and visited the kits on a regular basis so that they could get to know them. I'd already decided to keep the silver hob (who now chucks in a falsetto voice) which left them with four to choose from. They'd already decided that one kit on its own would be lonely so they asked if they could have two, they then asked the fatal question; would I be keeping the other two boys? I said I couldn't and that I'd put them up for adoption. "Oh no, they'll be split up" they cried. "Please can we take all of them? There's plenty of room and we'll take good care of them". What could I say? I was very happy for them to have the kits. If only every ferret and kit could find a John and Jan to look after them.

My own ferret court will soon be finished so there will be plenty of fun and games for sure to report when the majority of ferrets meet each other properly, World War III of the ferret kind? I certainly hope not.

(First Published January 2008)

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