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How Ferrets Alleviate Depression

One man discovers that ferrets make great therapy animals and alleviate his depression.

By Joseph Longcore
Posted: February 1, 2009, 5 a.m. EST

ferret and man
Courtesy of Joseph Longcore
Joseph Longcore believes that ferrets are the perfect therapy animal.

Therapy animals have been around for a while. I’m sure most people have seen therapy animals in nursing homes and other places. It’s an established fact that the presence of pets can improve a person’s mood and overall health.

So what about a therapy animal to treat depression? Such an animal would have to be about as spastically silly as you can get, right? Silly, but soft and fuzzy too — and being cute wouldn’t hurt either.

I believe the perfect therapy animal for treating depression is a ferret.

Ferrets became a part of my life in 2003. When I moved that year, one of my neighbors had a ferret. Ferrets are known to steal, and Loki was no exception. He stole my heart right out from under my nose.

I soon found myself at the pet store looking at ferrets. I left the store that day with a ferret of my own.

I picked her for three reasons: 1) She was litter-trained; 2) She instantly climbed into my friend’s pocket as if to say, “I’m ready to go home whenever you are;” 3) She had been purchased previously and returned.

I knew she was the ferret for me when the store associate explained that someone had bought her, only to return her stating that the other ferrets they had wouldn’t accept her.

It’s amazing how an animal that weighs all of about 2 pounds can bring so much happiness, so much laughter, so much love and so much energy!

Ferrets are too smart for their own good.
Ferrets are more curious than a cat could ever hope to be.
Ferrets act like a 2-year-old child for life.

Related Article
Read about how ferrets help a woman with Alzheimer's. Click Here>>

I grew up in a home that always had pets. Between my three brothers and myself, one of us was always coming home with some creature in distress, lost or stray, saying, “Mom can I keep it?” This question must have been asked at least 10,000 times.

My pets have included cats and dogs, turtles and a baby robin (that I released back into the wild after it fledged). I even came home one time with a baby garter snake that Mom let me keep — the very same snake that escaped its cage never to be seen again.

But ferrets are the best pets I have ever known. They make me laugh every day. What a great anti-depressant! I couldn’t imagine life without them. Thank God for ferrets!

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How Ferrets Alleviate Depression

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Reader Comments
I Had been Familiar with ferrets because my mom had several when I was a teenager. I had allways been an animal lover, and had a couple of dogs and a cat over the years. I became Disabled with a serious back/neck injury, had Surgery to no avail, and live with chronic pain. In 2011 my girlfriend and soulmate committed suicide 3 months after we split up. The nightmares and depression was becoming more than I could bare. A few months later a friend who worked as a vet tech Rehomed a blonde ferret to me. He had been neglected and was found by the police during a drug raid, in his cage with a deceased ferret. The story broke my heart. Isoon found him two friends, Peanut and Vinny. Those amazing little creatures did for me what no medication. could of ever done. They made me laugh again, alleviated my loneliness and Depression, and gave me a sense of purpose taking care of them. They became family. Scooby was the last to pass away Jan 30th 2016, and I just couldn't live without the companionship& ununconditional love, and got a new baby Ferret "Clyde" in February. Soon he will get a ferretbuddy.These animals should be recognised for their therapeutic value. As they have made me whole again..and staved off severe depression. I can't Imagine life without them! Gino B
Gino, International
Posted: 6/26/2016 6:29:56 AM
amen, Joe
John, Milan, MI
Posted: 2/3/2015 8:03:01 AM
Thank you for your comment! I've had fertile on and off for about 10 years and I can't agree more! There's nothing better than seeing their cute little faces in the morning and getting some "have a good day" kisses before heading off to work. They are always there to cheer me up!
Brandi, Dickinson, ND
Posted: 9/12/2014 10:55:19 PM
i could read this article over and over
jill, wpg, MB
Posted: 12/28/2010 11:49:49 PM
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