Posted: March 13, 2014, 4:35 p.m. EDT
© Gina Cioli/I-5 Studio
Bring on the celebration for National Ferret Day on April 2!.
Ferret lovers from all over the country will be wishing one another a happy Ferret Day on April 2nd, just as they have for the better part of two decades. However, this particular Ferret Day in 2014 will be different than any other previous one in that it marks the first time that it is officially recognized. But if ferret enthusiasts have already been celebrating the day for years, why does it matter if it is official or not? And how did it ever become official?
Carol Roche of New York purchased her first ferret, Gnarly, off of Craig’s List four years ago. She quickly discovered that ferrets have many endearing qualities. These charismatic pets are as affectionate and social as puppies and independent and playful as kittens. They are mischievous, interesting and possess limitless amounts of energy. Like so many people around the world, she fell madly in love with them. Over time, she soon became a ferret rescuer and on her way to establishing a shelter for these adorable animals. Being that Ferret Day has been around for the better part of two decades, she was surprised to find out it wasn’t an official observance. So Roche set out on a mission to make it so!
After some reading, Roche found out the way to officially dedicate a day and get it on the books was to start at Chase's Calendar of Events. Chase's Calendar of Events is the most highly regarded reference available worldwide on special events, holidays, days of observances and more. Roche spent countless hours researching.
"There was a lot of Googling and looking into the ferret groups and asking questions,” Roche said. "The information was scattered, so collecting it and sorting it out in a somewhat chronological order for Chase's was quite challenging.”
It was a tedious task to collect bits and pieces of information and links to verify everything she provided Chase. After gathering her data, she filled out a comprehensive questionnaire and submitted an application for National Ferret Day to be observed as an official day. The new observance is described as the following: "A day to educate the public to respect this lively and intelligent companion animal — the domesticated ferret. This day is also a time to focus on such ferret issues as welfare, care, nutrition and responsible ownership. Annually April 2nd (in the United States).”
One of the requirements for Roche’s request to be considered was to get a sponsor for the event. The purpose of that is when a Google search is carried out, information about it would be found listed somewhere permanently. Staci Lombardo, president of the American Ferret Association said Roche approached her on June 25, 2013, to ask that the AFA agree to sponsor the event by putting up some information and a link for National Ferret Day on its website for anyone looking for information about it.
"We asked if she would like recognition for the work she put into talking with Chase’s McGraw-Hill when they finally authorized to put it officially on the record,” Lombardo said. "She kindly declined.”
There are more reasons for getting an event recognized than just to be able to say it’s official or to throw a party. Roche said that giving ferrets a day of recognition can help these popular pets by bringing awareness to the public and educating others about their care, value and legality. She also hopes to see entities stop listing these animals as exotic and to properly list them as domestic.
"They are one of the most commonly misunderstood animals,” Roche said. "Ferret folk everywhere are slowly working to correct ferret misconceptions and change local and state laws. Progress is being made, but there have been some setbacks.” Areas that outlaw ferrets as pets include Hawaii, California, New York City and Washington D.C.
"We hope that it will help educate people on these amazing animals,” Lombardo said. "All of us in the AFA truly love these animals and only want them to have the best lives possible. If bringing awareness and good, helpful information about them to the community and world at large does that, then we are happy.”
And how will Carol Roche celebrate the big day? "My day will be like all the others. Lots of ferret time, cleaning, feeding, administering medication and playing with them. I have a responsibility to my ferrets to keep them safe, fed and warm." Roche said that every day with a ferret is a memorable one and can bring a smile to your face.
Lombardo has plans of her own. "I love National Ferret Day!” she said. "I always give extra yummies to the kids and usually make a special piece of bedding for them as a gift. I would love to see others hold parties and post pictures on our Facebook Page. I think this is such a significant day for our love of these pets. I would love to see everyone enjoying it.”
The AFA has plans for National Ferret Day as well. "The AFA itself will be hosting a ‘Tell us what National Ferret Day means to you, and how do you plan to celebrate?’ event, and entries will be submitted to the American Ferret Report,” Lombardo said. She added that the AFA Spring Nationals show taking place on March 28 and 29 will include a prize drawing. To enter, attendees only need to fill out a short questionnaire about ferrets. The winner receives a Crinkle set and some crocheted eggs, donated by Crinkle Tunnels By Staci.
Will you do anything for National Ferret Day? Personally, I’ve never actually celebrated a National Ferret day other than with greetings to other ferret people. But because this marks the first year that it’s official, it demands that I do so! I plan on showing my ferrets how much I appreciate them with lots of hugs and kisses on that special day. Taking time to reach out to other ferret folks and sending out greetings is definitely in order. I will also set aside a little time to remember all of the previous little souls who have passed through and impacted my life so much. It would be nice to watch some old home movies of them or create some sort of memorial to them such as a web page or scrapbook. Perhaps the best way I could celebrate it is to take a trip to my local pet stores with one of my babies in tow just to hang out and educate others about ferrets. How do you plan on spending your National Ferret Day this year?
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