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Information And Camaraderie Rule At The 2011 IFC Ferret Symposium

A mass exchange of ferret knowledge and a great deal of friendly ferret talk occurred at the recent 2011 International Ferret Congress Ferret Symposium.

By Marylou Zarbock
Posted: June 17, 2011, 2:50 p.m. EDT

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Symposium Slide Show
See a slide show of the 2011 IFC Ferret Symposium. Click Here>>

More About Ferrets
But the talk at the ferret symposium wasn’t just about ferret health.

Ailigh Vanderbush did a talk on animal behavior that really hit home and made me take a different look at my two Rowdy Boys,” said Florence Love of Georgia, owner of four ferrets. “I'm currently reviewing how I and others interact with them, to continue to decrease their need to nip. Already an improvement, but could be they are also glad I'm back [from the symposium].”

Skitch also got inspired by Ailigh Vanderbush’s talk. “Ailigh provided a great overview of the various training theories and gave some simple applications for everyday use. Even after years of having ferrets I know I will still look back over her presentation and find a lot of information I can use. More often than not my ferrets have trained some bad habits in me rather than my training good habits in them, and I think she highlighted how I can identify that and work to change the behavior in both my ferrets and me. It's definitely something I will use each day.”

If you operate a ferret shelter and wanted tips about fundraising, Melanee Ellis’ talk was the place to be. Ellis operates Lane Area Ferret Shelter And Rescue in Oregon. As she presented many resources and tips for raising funds, audience members also added their thoughts. Watson again summed up the main points in one sentence, “Get 501c3 [nonprofit status] — not that hard they say — and surf the web; there are great ideas out there.”

For those who heard about ferreting and wondered what it was, Bev Lowton traveled from the United Kingdom to enlighten everyone about this way of hunting with ferrets.

Ferret Friendships
Outside of the scheduled talks, the information exchange continued at the lunches, breaks, celebrity dinner and auction, and more. But learning more about ferrets isn’t the only reason people attend a ferret symposium.

“The most memorable part of any symposium is getting together with old friends that you only see on the Internet and meeting new friends,” Desrochers said.

Skitch agrees that meeting ferret-savvy veterinarians and ferret enthusiasts is the most memorable part of the symposium. “Having the opportunity to meet and talk to the people that are working with ferrets and researching the diseases that I see every day in my own pets was a great experience. I heard Dr. Murray talk about his own pets, his travels and work in his practice, and sat down with Joel and Ailigh Vanderbush and heard about some of the exotic animals they have at Animalia. I really enjoyed speaking with Dr. Kiupel and Dr. Wagner and hearing not only about the successes they've had with their research but the challenges they've faced and hearing about their personal interests as well; it really puts a human face on everything and made me feel better about where the future of my own pets lies.”

Gabrielle also said that meeting people was the most memorable part of the symposium. “No question about that! There was a remarkable sense of community. People of all ages, occupations and walks of life were there for one reason — because they love ferrets.” She has sponsored a ferret for the past five years at the Lakeroad Ferret Farm Rescue Shelter in New York, and via the Internet and phone she became close with shelter operator Brenda Johnson, who helped Gabrielle with her own ferrets through the years. “We finally got to meet each other at the symposium, and I got to give her a great big hug of thanks for all her help and support.”

Pam VanOverloop of Ohio, a ferret owner for 15 years who currently has 20, experienced her most memorable moment during the trip to the Phoenix zoo after the official symposium ended. “I got goosebumps despite the heat at the Phoenix Zoo Conservation Center when they brought out the black-footed ferret. What a beautiful creature.” It’s become a tradition to visit the local zoo after the symposium wraps up.

With the 2011 IFC ferret symposium over, attendees ponder what it meant.

The future looks bright for the health of our ferrets. With time and money we may see vast improvements in treatment and prevention. I was impressed by the dedication of researchers to investigation of ferret-specific diseases.”
— Pam VanOverloop, Ohio

I valued having so many different vets give updated views of medical issues with ferrets.”
— Florence Love, Georgia

I had a great time. I enjoyed the conference, the location and the Arizona weather!”
— Barbara Carlson, Pennsylvania

I learned new things that will help better [my ferrets’] lives, both medically and enrichment wise.”
— Dianna Desroches, Massachusetts

I know [my ferrets] are in good hands when I can see the passion and commitment of the people that are involved in each step of ferret health care.”
— Shannan Skitch, Ontario

Did you attend the 2011 IFC Ferret Symposium? Leave a comment below to tell us what you think.

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Information And Camaraderie Rule At The 2011 IFC Ferret Symposium

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What a great way to share information and make new friends.. To see th BFF at the zoo was just awesome
Bev, UK
Posted: 6/19/2011 12:38:43 PM
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