Posted: July 1, 2011, 5 a.m. EDT
Richardson pointed out that being differently abled limits the size of the ferret rescue. She is almost totally blind. Her other medical problems include a chronic pain condition called fibromyalgia. “I experience pain every moment of every day. I get strokes, migraines and other assorted goodies. Some days my nerves do not conduct correctly, and my legs just won’t function according to my wishes, necessitating that I crawl, rather than walk.”
Because of her abilities, Richardson never takes in more ferrets than she can care for. “I’ve never had to turn one away yet, thankfully,” she said. “I am home all day, and that gives me plenty of time to lavish TLC on my children that just happen to have fur.”
What’s Happening At Ferrets At Heart Ferret Rescue
The normal routine at the ferret rescue starts each day by putting away the group of ferrets that are left out to play at night. Food and water containers are cleaned and filled, and then morning medications are given. After that, it’s time to release the group of ferrets that play during the day.
“I spend time with the critters throughout the day, but chores return in the evening,” Richardson said. “There are more meds to give and food and water containers to check again. The ferret groups get switched back.” The day ends with Richardson checking the carpet in case the partially paralyzed Codo had a potty accident.
The biggest need for the Ferrets At Heart ferret rescue is for veterinary funds. “Most of our residents are seniors and need deslorelin implants or other regular medical care,” Richardson said. “ The day-to-day supplies we are low on include ferret food, Nature’s Miracle, Marshall Furo-Tone, vitamin supplements, and various treats.”
People who can adopt a ferret are always welcome at the ferret rescue. The ferret adoption process involves having a potential adopter visit a few times to volunteer time to interact with the ferrets and do some ferret chores. “During these visits, the potential adopters are queried about their preparedness to care for the ferret now and in the future, as well as their general ferret knowledge,” Richardson said. “We will contact their vet to verify that vet is able to treat various common ferret illnesses. With a donation in the amount of their choice, they can have the ferret to which they aspire.”
If adopting a ferret isn’t possible, there’s always the option to be a volunteer at the ferret shelter. “Adam, an 11-year-old boy, volunteers much of his time cleaning carpet, giving meds, feeding and watering, doing ferret laundry, and, of course, playing with all the ferrets,” Richardson said. “This young man is very special to us, and we are very grateful for his contributions of time and effort. His mother, Anna, often provides transportation to vet appointments, as do Deb Benson and Phil Barbour.”
To help raise funds for the care of the ferrets, Richardson’s mother in North Carolina handcrafts ferret bedding that’s sold on the Ferrets At Heart website. The ferret rescue also accepts donations through PayPal. Occasionally, the ferret rescue runs raffles or does local events.
Advice About Pet Ferrets
Richardson’s most common advice about having a pet ferret? “It isn’t a rodent! If you treat a ferret more like a canine, you’ll be rewarded with love and loyalty; if you react to your weasel like it is a rat, it will remain a Tasmanian devil. Just be patient.”
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Troy Lynn Eckart is the founder of Ferret Family Services, a domestic ferret information, education and welfare public service organization in Kansas.