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Ferreting Your Ferret Memories

Use this how-to guide to preserve memories of your ferrets.

By Bob Church
Posted: April 30, 2010, 5 a.m. EDT

Page 2 of 2

From this point on, the details of how to keep the journal are mostly up to you. Information that I might include might not be interesting to others, but to me they are important. I would expect the same would be true for others. Nonetheless, I suggest the following entries:
Behavior:
While ferrets act pretty much the same, they are still individuals with unique personalities. One way to gauge mental and physical wellness is by behavior. I note levels of playfulness, fearfulness, aggression, exploration, willingness to interact with people, and any other behavior, especially sudden or profound changes. I update behaviors about once a month.
Breeding and Litters:
I don’t breed, but I would record typical breeder information, and update as necessary.
Coat and Color:
Using American Ferret Association standards, I record the coat and color for every ferret. I update coat and color twice a year after seasonal coat changes. Yes, they can change.
Date and Time:
Mark each entry with time and date. You will be glad you did.
Death:
Part of my final farewell is to report my ferret’s terminal days and to record as many stories as I can recall. I also note cause and time of death. It sometimes takes me a while to close the book on a ferret, but I have found it helps in accepting my loss.
Dental:
I record the dental status of the ferret, noting missing teeth, tartar, gingivitis, tooth wear, broken teeth and dental treatments. I update dental twice a year.
Family and Friends:
I note when a family member or friend visits the ferret, describing their interactions. I usually only update this category when I snap a picture of my ferret with someone.
Medical:
I note all medical issues for each ferret, including sexual status. For example, I record medical problems, vet visits, diagnoses, treatments and outcomes. I also report non-vet medical issues, such as ticks, cuts, falls, etc.; my treatments; and other medical observations. All medical information is updated as generated.
Photographs:
I photograph everything, not just ferrets at play. Kahlúa’s chordoma, Mazy’s adrenal fur-loss and post-surgical scar, and Sampson’s swollen eye were all fair game. I also take a few shots during outings, enrichments, during play — in short for just about every event. Photos are precious reminders of your ferrets’ lives; don’t short-change your memories. Use your camera and update frequently!
Special Events:
This is reserved for events “larger” than typical field trips, such as costume competitions, ferret weddings and other such events. Update after each special event.
Special Needs:
Special training, diets and care should be documented and updated as necessary.
Field Trips:
Pet store visits, park outings, ferret club events, playing with shelter friends; basically any ferret outing. I update after each field trip.
Vital Statistics:
With each new ferret, I record weight and a number of body measurements most people would ignore, such as body length, width of nose, and girth at iliac crests. I estimate birth date, and, when known, the number of ferrets in the litter, parents, and the breeder and location. If given a pedigree, I tape it to the inside of the back cover. When possible, I take a photo of the ferret with the breeder or shelter operator. I update transitory vital statistics (weight and body measurements) once a day for kits, once a week for juveniles, and monthly for adults.

Final Thoughts
There’s no requirement to use any of these categories; you may simply wish to keep a “daily diary” style of journal. The style is not important, but the journal will have important meaning for you later. Periodically, I wax nostalgic and thumb through my older journals of ferrets past and, I have to say, I might feel a bit of sadness for the loss, but I also feel gladness for the joyful memories.

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To see all of Bob Church's columns, click here>>

Bob Church is a former photojournalist and current zooarcheologist with degrees in biology (zoology) and anthropology (archaeology). He resides in Missouri with 19 ferrets that keep his chicken blender overheated and his heart overfull.

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Reader Comments
This is such a great a idea.
vilanong, toronto, ON
Posted: 12/31/2013 11:10:32 AM
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