Bolton Ferret Welfare

Puppy Fat

by Donna Matthews

I have an admission to make, I deceived my husband for six months, I was found out and was supposed to be very ashamed of myself for deceiving him, however, I wasn't!

Going back to 1998, when I only had ferrets for four years (at the same time getting my ferret in 1994, I joined the NFWS), I had three ferrets, all rescues and so when I was told of two sweet little jill kits in desperate need of being re-homed, what could I do?

I had to get to a farm near a place called Cotleigh, near Honiton, Devon which was quite a distance in my old Metro (named the "Flying Fart" - but that is quite another story!). I eventually found where I was to go and collected the kits. So far so good; I loaded the kits and drove home. Their condition was not too bad, although they were rather thin and had fleas mistakenly, I thought their bad temper was due to these when in fact they were just bad tempered kits! I arrived back home and fed the little mites (yes, they had those in their ears as well) and let them settle in for the night before flea/ear mite treatment and a visit to the vets the following day.

One's husband was not amused. "You have three ferrets, why do you want another one?" he said when he came home. I did not have the heart to say that one was actually two! As the little girls were almost identical, I named them Teazel and Weazel, but each also hd the name of Teazel-Weazel for reasons you will hear.

To acclimatise Roger with the new arrival(s), each evening a small white, wriggly, nippy bundle was brought in to be inspected and cuddled, whether he liked it or not. One night Teazel, the next night, Weazel. "Hello little Teazel-Weazel!" Roger would say and then carefully extricate a part of his anatomy from either Teazel or Weazel's mouth. "Here you are dear, pop her back and make her comfy" he would say and so this state of affairs continued. How so? Well the ferrets at that time were kept at the bottom of the garden, a place where Roger did not venture.

Thus the jills thrived and unfortunately grew very, very fat. The ferret version of puppy fat. So just for a laugh, that year I took them to the NFWS Christmas Show. I stayed overnight with Fran George, who fell about laughing when she saw them saying "There isn't a class for the fattest kit". Needless to say T & W were not amused. Weazel proceeded to try and beat up Fran's ferret, Chutney by way of retribution for the insult to her and her sister; Weazel being the feistiest of the pair.

After coming home from the show the following Monday and settling everyone back into their homes, it happened, caught red handed, or should I say ferret handed! Teazel in one and Weazel in the other. "Right, there's Winston, there's Mini-Petra, there's Gemma so one of those is Teazel-Weazel so .....who.....is.....that?

I explained why we had a Teazel and a Weazel and that one would have been left all on her own in rather bad conditions if she had not been taken as well. Result, one cross husband. "Absolutely no more ferrets" he said. Of course this didn't last.

Roger had always like Mad Max, a big polecat hob who used to come to me for his holidays and had once said "if ever Mad Max wants a home, he can stay". Well there came a time when his owner could no longer keep him, so being the truthful wife that I am, (especially where ferrets are involved, she says tongue in cheek), I advised Roger that his favourite ferret needed a new home and surprise, surprise, no opposition. Roger now had his first ferret and so Kingsteignton Ferret Welfare was born.

Ferrets come, a few go to new homes, but the majority stay. We are sadly at the "No More Ferrets Stage" because we are full, but......

The same situation has arisen with two beautiful dark polecat hob kits that came in during the summer. Roger knew I had their dad, Dino, who he quite likes, but he wouldn't have been prepared for Fern and Bracken, so Fernie-Bracken has come into existence and what a huge bundle of joy "he" is. Watch out for the fireworks!!!!!

First Published January 2007

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