Posted: April 29, 2013, 7:25 p.m. EDT
Courtesy ©Glen Farney
Ferrets are the stars at this weekend's Ferretopia event in Wallingford, Connecticut.
It’s a celebration of ferrets, and you’re invited! The Ferret Association of Connecticut’s annual ferret show has been revamped for 2013.
"We used to do a Fun Fest that was much more geared toward games,” said shelter director L. Vanessa Gruden. The Fun Fest included races, costume contests and other entertaining events. Gruden said FACT board members believe that format needed freshening up, so this year the new Ferretopia event is geared more toward education. The event will feature mini-seminars and four show rings.
Gruden said the annual event typically draws about 75 to 100 people and about 50 ferrets.
"We have gone to FACT's spring event the past two years and plan on attending this weekend,” said ferret owner Seth Schild. "We are looking forward to the vendors, and especially the added mini-seminars. We have learned a lot from people who attend, since that is where you get information about ferrets.” Schild and his wife have adopted two ferrets from FACT.
Schild isn’t the only "regular” looking forward to the event this Saturday.
Courtesy ©Marge Neri
Barney was adopted by Marge Neri from the Ferret Association of Connecticut.
"Much of what I know about ferrets has come from FACT,” said ferret owner Marge Neri, "through its newsletters and annual ferret events, such as the event that will be held Saturday, May 4. I look forward to being with other ferret folks, especially those from out of state whom I don't usually get to see between events. Then there are the ferrets — lots of them — each unique and all fun-loving and delightful.” Neri added that ferrets have been an important part of her life for 25 years.
The mini-seminars include discussions of vaccinations, bathing, food and living with a blind ferret. Gruden and her sister, Ann, will be among those giving the seminars.
Also new this year is a free gift bag for attendees. Gruden was excited to announce that the bag includes toys, samples, coupons, a free ferret-care book and a sample of John Paul Pets pet shampoo.
Courtesy ©Glen Farney
The annual event takes place at the Grange Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut.
Courtesy ©Glen Farney
In addition to the silent auction, lots of great items for ferret and ferret owners are available from vendors.
The show rings aren’t the usual conformation show rings. "What we're trying to do with these rings is really make sure that we explain to people exactly how the animal is being judged,” Gruden said. "It's on their grooming, temperament and health.”
The three people who are judging trained under the old Ferret Unity & Registration Organization (FURO) regulations, which had standards geared toward pets and emphasized what’s important for a pet. Grooming and temperament make up about 70 percent of the overall score. The rest of the points are awarded for color, conformation and how the animal moves.
Judges might offer advice to owners regarding care, should there need to be more attention to something like cleaning of ears or teeth or trimming nails.
Gruden said that the four show rings are mostly based on age. "In Their Prime" is for ferrets up to just under 2 years old. The Middle-Aged ring is for ferrets 2 years up to just under 5 years. The Senior ring is for ferrets more than 5 years old. The fourth ring is the Rescue ring, which is for ferrets of any age that were adopted from a recognized ferret shelter.
"I like the specialty rings where ferrets' temperament and grooming are compared to standards,” Neri said. She’s also a fan of the silent auction. "I always find something special for my fuzzies. If I don't get everything I want from the auction, I can get most of the items at reasonable prices from one of the vendors.”
Gruden mentioned that the silent auction is usually madly popular. "This year we've got a few companies who have donated,” she said, with items from 1-800-PetMeds, veterinary certificates, gift baskets from local pet stores and more.
Although the event features new elements, the location is the same: the Grange Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut.
"Those who come to Saturday's Ferretopia will learn important information that will help keep their ferrets healthy and happy,” Neri said. "Most of all, everyone who comes will have fun!”
And if that isn’t enough, Gruden points out a final important fact about the event: "It's supporting homeless ferrets, which is always kind of a nice touch.”
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